Unless you happen to live in a place that doesn’t experience seasonal swings in temperature (here’s looking at you San Diego) or are about to hit summer below the equator, then you might be getting your first reminder that it is getting colder. That’s what is currently happening here in the Southeastern US. Winter, whether you love it or hate it, is about to present some new challenges for your fleet.
Here are some tips to make sure your fleet is ready for Winter.
The drop in ambient temperature is going to cause a decrease in tire pressure. Treaded tires operating below their intended settings will tend to buckle and leave less space for channeling dirt, water and snow. You want to give your drivers as much traction as possible, because they are going to need it.
It can be harder to turn the engine over in cold weather because the oil tends to thicken. This requires more power from the battery to get things going. Chemical reactions the battery uses to create power also tend to slow in colder temperatures, heightening chances for a failure. To hedge your bets, go ahead and test the battery to make sure it will hold a charge consistently. Dirty leads or loose connections can also be a hindrance, so keep an eye out for those as well.
If you live in an area where below freezing days are common in the winter, it might be worth switching your vehicles to a thinner, less viscous oil that will put less stress on the engine. If you are unsure of what options are available, you can check the owner’s manual or ask a service technician who is familiar with your vehicle.
To keep the liquid in your radiator from icing, be sure that you have at least a 1-to-1 mixture of water and antifreeze. Err on the side of caution, because if the coolant stops flowing and the engine starts overheating, you could have some very expensive problems to deal with.
Sleet and snow on your windshield are a tall order for worn out wiper blades. It’s already hard enough to drive in bad conditions, so make sure that your vehicle operators have full view of the road ahead with a fresh set of blades and a reservoir topped off with wiper fluid that can withstand freezing temperatures.
Throw an Emergency kit in each vehicle. If you already have one (kudos), then just be sure that there are a few cold weather extras like a blanket, gloves, etc. in the event that one of your drivers is stuck out in the elements.
We also suggest a big pot of chili at the end of the day...