By Corey Nieves, Millward Agency
The summer has finally ended, the relentless Utah summer heat is subsiding into cooler, less uncomfortable temperatures. The hot days are getting shorter and the cool nights are getting longer.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Or does it? Just like everything else we experience there are two sides to this. On one side we are looking forward to the temperatures humans were meant to survive in and not surface of the sun heat we’ve had this past summer. But on the other side we have the cold weather creeping up on us and the challenges it brings. The purpose of this article is to help you start thinking about what you need to do to prepare for the long and sometimes bitter winter. We’ll go over some basic truck winterization as well as other important preparations.
Let me just say that there are countless things you can do to help your tractor get ready for the winter. Unfortunately I was only given an allowance of a few hundred words so we are leaving the great majority of things out.
A good place to start is by having a fleet inspection. Quite possibly the most important thing to check here are the tires your people will be driving on. Shallow tread translates to poor traction; poor traction translates to….well, how about we just avoid that? If you identify tires in need of replacing…Do it!. This isn’t the time of year to “squeeze a little more out.” The consequences here greatly outweigh any money you may have saved. Some other areas to ensure are working properly are the heating and defrosting systems, batteries, belts and hoses.
Another important aspect of the fleet inspections is to check all the fluid levels, specifically a coolant check. Before we get into the full swing of winter you’ll want to make sure your levels are up to spec. Each engine manufacturer will have their requirements and recommendations. This may be a good time to have a coolant flush so you can be at ease throughout the entire winter.
Make sure you don’t ignore the other fluids! Oils, lubricants and windshield wiper fluid can become a source of stress and frustration. But do a good inspection, change the fluids needing to be changed and prepare for the winter ahead with confidence. Don’t get caught unprepared.
Speaking of unprepared, I’m going to share a tip my mother taught me when I was entering Boy Scouts. We’ve discussed the preparation of the truck, but what about the preparation of people?
Wyoming, April 16, 2015 I-80 was closed after 70 vehicles were involved in a crash. A major cause was snow and weather conditions. We can’t control the weather, we can’t control when highways are closed or for how long. What we can control is how prepared we are. Take the time to build a “72-hour kit.” The food you choose should be focused on easy to prepare; I suggest no-heat options. My mother would always send me with a big bag of beef jerky whenever I went on an overnight camping trip stating “what if they can’t get a fire started?” She would also make sure I packed energy/protein bars. These foods are rich in calories and protein but don’t require preparation. Our bodies need calories to function and in cold weather that only becomes more important. Lastly, water, water, water. Repurpose a couple 2-liter pop bottles and keep them in your cab full of water. This will come in handy when you are thirsty.
If you have any other questions or want a shopping list to share with your drivers to prepare for the winter ahead please email me at email@example.com. Be safe.