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9 Ways to Prepare Your Semi Truck for Cold Weather

The beautiful colors of Fall will quickly change to bare trees followed by ice and snow in the north country.

Here are 9 helpful tips to prepare your semi-truck and keep your truck running through the bitterly cold weather heading our way. If you’re driving a truck that’s not ready for negative temps and freezing roadways, you could end up in a bad situation. Taking some precautions today could save you later. Get your truck ready now by scheduling your winter maintenance services with your local JX Truck Center.  

1. Battery condition Nothing drains and kills off a battery quicker than cold weather. Check the age of your batteries and see what kind of charge they have left. In general, it’s usually a good idea to replace batteries if they’re three years old and you know you’ll be driving in freezing temps.

2. Fuel system Be sure to replace the fuel filter and drain the water separator to avoid freezing when operating in cold weather.

3. Check your tires – Underinflated tires wear faster and hurt your gas mileage. Cold weather makes tire pressure even worse. Always check your tire pressure during your pre-trip inspection and adjust it as needed. 

4. Carry tire chains and know how to put them on – Tire chains can help give you traction in snow and are actually required by law in some areas.

5. Service your air drier – The air dryer keeps water from entering and freezing in your brake lines. Make sure it’s working correctly and change out the filter so it’s ready for winter.

6. Engine block heater – If you know you’ll be spending a lot of time in colder climates or your truck will be sitting for a period of time, get an engine block heater so your truck always starts. If you already have one, plug it in and make sure it’s working as it should.

7. Engine compartment – Make sure the belts are in good condition. Check the hoses and clamps for leaks and fix them if you find any. Make sure the antifreeze is full and at the optimal freeze point for the conditions you’ll be driving in. Keep extra antifreeze on your truck in case you need it.

8. Inspect your wiper blades – Replace windshield wipers if needed. Refill your windshield wiper fluid and keep it full. Carry extra windshield wiper fluid, a windshield scraper, and a snowbrush.

9. Service your fifth wheel – Grease can build up on the fifth wheel and attract dirt and debris. Degrease it so you can inspect for any potential problems. Lube moving parts with light oil and put fresh grease on the plate.

Carrying emergency supplies in your truck could save you in a pinch. Here is a list of items to always have in your truck to stay prepared:

  • Cold weather clothes including an extra coat, snow boots, hats, gloves, socks, etc.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Reflective vest and flares
  • Tool kit 
  • A shovel, a bag of salt or sand to deal with snow, ice, or mud
  • Extra oil and fuel filters
  • Anti-gel fuel additives to add to tank before fueling up
  • Non-perishable food and plenty of water

Bottom line: now is the time to prepare. The professional technicians at JX can inspect your truck before driving in winter conditions could save you some downtime this season. If you have any questions or need to make a maintenance appointment contact your local JX Truck Center. Our team is prepared to help!

Author: Jerry Brickheimer, Assistant Service Director