Is Your Rig Ready for Winter? 7 Ways to Prepare for Plummeting Temperatures

It’s getting chilly out there. Is your truck ready? Take some time today to prep your truck for the cooler, potentially freezing, temperatures that are surely ahead. A little preparation today can save you from a whole lot of trouble later.

When Temperatures Drop, Coolant’s a Must

Anti-freeze, or coolant, provides vital protection to your truck during freezing weather. Getting your coolant system in order is one of the most important winter maintenance preps you’ll do all year. Check for leaks and low coolant levels at every PM. Use high quality coolant, obtained from a reputable source. This is one area where you don’t want to compromise on quality.

Don’t Get Stuck in the Snow- Check Your Chains

Are your chains ready to go should you need them? Many drivers take their chains off the truck and put them into storage during warm summer months, but now that the temperatures are dropping, it’s time to bring them back. Before loading them up, give them a quick check to make sure you have everything you need and that all parts are in good repair.

It’s also prime time to brush up on chain laws. Many drivers prefer to sit and wait when chain whether hits, but some states require that you carry them, needed or not. Knowing the laws in the states where you travel most can save you from expensive tickets and violations.

If you do use chains, remove them as soon as they aren’t needed. Chains that are left on too long can rip up your tires and cause road damage. Remember, chains are intended to get you out of trouble, not into it. If it is too snowy to continue, stop and wait for the weather to clear.

Are Your Tires Ready for Winter?

Tire pressure drops in cold weather. It’s time to check pressure on all your tires again. It is often most effective to check your tire pressure during your pre-trip inspection, before you do any driving. Valve caps help to ensure that ice doesn’t form in the valve core, leading to a slow pressure leak. If you’re missing any caps, replace them.

Tire pressure isn’t the only tire check you should do this winter. If you regularly drive in icy, snowy areas, consider special tires with tread designed for winter driving.

Scrape Less- Add Some De-Icer to Windshield Fluid

Check your washer fluid levels and add de-icer if needed. This will help to defrost your windshield and will keep your fluid jug from freezing solid and bursting. While you’re at it, check your windshield wipers too.

It’s Hard Being a Battery in the Winter

Cold temperatures make it more difficult for your battery to charge, often resulting in lower battery levels. Cleaning, checking, and testing the battery should be a regular part of your PM (preventative maintenance) program. If your battery is over three years old, you may want to replace it this winter.

If your truck has an APU, you can expect reduced service life from your batteries, especially during cold weather. The APU is constantly pulling power from the battery which can drain battery life.

Stock Your Truck, Just in Case

Do you have cold weather essentials on hand, just in case? You should have a heavy coat, a blanket, and some food on hand in your truck. Although we hope you’re never stranded out in the cold, you’ll be happy to have a few emergency supplies on hand. These supplies could very well save your life some day.

Is your truck ready for winter? What are your favorite ways to prepare for dropping temperatures?

 

A Trucker’s Guide to Holiday Gifting… and Receiving

What’s on the top of your holiday wish list this year? If you’ve been too busy on the road to think about gifts, we’ve got you covered. This holiday gift guide will help you find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. Here are some of our favorite holiday gifts for truck drivers to give and receive.

To Give- Thoughtful and Easy Gifts for Everyone on Your List

You’re on the road more than you’re home; who has time for holiday shopping? These thoughtful gifts won’t break the bank, but will bring a little cheer to those that support you while you’re far away.

  • Regional Favorites– You travel the country often, giving you a unique opportunity to gather fun, regional treats. If you’re in the South, pick up some boiled peanuts. In Idaho, grab a bag of their famous potatoes, or the slightly sweeter treat the Idaho Spud. If you’re in New Jersey, choose a nice bag of salt water taffy. In New York City, opt for bagels. And don’t forget about Vermont’s famous maple syrup and maple candies. Regional favorites are favorites for a reason. They are a delicious taste of somewhere else.
  • Photos– They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but they also make for a great holiday gift. Put together a calendar of pictures you’ve nabbed on your travels. Frame a photo of yourself to remind loved ones you miss them while you’re away. Take a photo of street signs, town signs, etc. that remind you of your loved ones.
  • Craft Beverages– For your favorite alcohol enthusiast, consider craft beers, wines, or spirits. Make sure you’re careful getting these treats home. You don’t want to violate any company or state laws by transporting alcohol inappropriately.

 

Truck drivers aren’t home very often and are notoriously difficult to shop for. Here are some ideas to spoil the truckers in your life, on and off the road.

 

To Receive- Perfect Holiday Gifts for Your Favorite Driver

  • Gift Cards– Drive-thrus and truck stop food are common trucker fare, but I’m sure any driver you know would love a hot meal every once in awhile. Gift cards to chain restaurants make an excellent gift. Remember, popular chains vary across the country. Make sure the restaurants you’re considering have locations in areas where your trucker drives.
  • Hotel Nights– Night after night in a sleeper can get kind of old. Gift a night at a hotel. Hotel points, free night certificates, and gift cards to a favorite chain can provide welcome relief on the road.
  • Electric Blanket– Nights on the road are often chilly, especially during the winter. All too often the APU (auxillary power unit) can’t keep up with the dropping temperatures. An electric blanket will keep your driver toasty and warm, even on the coldest winter night.
  • Snacks– Give the gift of healthy, delicious snacks. Dried fruits, bags of popped popcorn, nuts, pretzels, applesauce pouches, and bottled water are some healthy, tasty options. Pack some favorites into a gift basket this year.
  • Work Gloves– A new pair of work gloves is always a treat, especially for those drivers that commonly use them. If your trucker drives a flatbed, step deck, RGN, or other exposed trailer, work gloves will be well used and very appreciated. Opt for warm, winter ones that can be used right away.

Tis the season to give and receive. What items are you giving or hoping to receive this holiday season?