Critical contractor work means you don’t get to take snow days. You need to keep your truck in good condition so it can get you where you need to go. Winterizing your truck isn’t hard – but it’s something that novice contractors may not take seriously. If you want to make sure this winter goes smoothly, read on to see important tips that will help you prep your van or truck for the winter months.
Importance of Winter Vehicle Maintenance
If you’re wondering if it’s worth it to prep your truck for winter, it is! The most important thing you can do with proper winterization is to avoid surprise breakdowns. Winter weather can be harsh, and if your car isn’t in prime condition, you may find yourself stuck in a snowstorm.
A breakdown in hazardous weather isn’t just bad for business, it’s also a potential emergency situation. While some breakdowns can’t be avoided, many of the problems that cause them can be avoided through preventative maintenance.
Those same harsh conditions can contribute to excessive wear on your vehicle. If your truck isn’t ready for winter, the exterior and some critical mechanical parts may need repairs earlier than if your truck was winterized. In the long-term that means higher upkeep costs and lower profits.
Of course, profits really take a dive when you have to cancel a job or show up late. If your vehicle breaks down or can’t maneuver the winter roads, it’s inevitable that you’ll miss an opportunity.
Steps to Winterize Your Work Truck
Preparing your truck for winter is easy! Here are some of the key steps to winterizing your truck to be prepared for icy conditions:
Install New Wiper Blades
The first step to winterize your truck is one of the easiest things you can do! Replacing wiper blades is a key step for safety and vehicle maintenance, but it’s often overlooked. Whether you’re a contractor or just the average driver on the road, thousands of drivers have old or worn wiper blades that can’t sufficiently clear moisture from their windshields.
You should replace your wipers annually, especially when your vehicle is part of your business. You’ll likely be on the road more often than those working in an office setting, so any rainy day will lead to wiper use.
Once your wipers are worn, they won’t give you clear visibility when wiping away rain, melted snow or ice. Visibility is critical in the winter, when slick roads and ice make safe driving paramount.
Refill All Fluids
Another core step for winterizing your truck is to maintain your fluids. Even outside the winter, this is one of the most neglected steps of vehicle maintenance. Ignoring your manufacturer’s recommendations for oil changes and letting other fluids run low can spell disaster for your vehicle and your business.
Oil is just as important for winterizing your truck as it is for general maintenance. Without clean oil, your engine will wear itself down as parts grind together and create more heat. Unlubricated engines are less efficient and will lead to a significantly shorter lifespan. If you think an oil change is expensive, wait until you need an engine rebuilt!
Antifreeze is another fluid you need to maintain for the frigid days ahead. As the name implies, it helps prevent freezes in the critical components of your work truck. When moisture freezes, it expands. If it expands inside your radiator or engine block, it will damage them. If it’s been a while since you last topped off your antifreeze, it may be time for a flush and refill.
Check the Battery
If the engine is the most critical part of your work truck, the battery comes in at a close second. When winterizing your truck, you need to check the battery to help guarantee it isn’t showing signs of degradation or failure.
If you can safely test your battery, do so. When a battery starts to die, it’s only a matter of time before it fails completely. If everything works well, check for signs of corrosion or other damage. Moisture is hard to avoid on the roads, and batteries are always at risk for corrosion. While rust is an annoyance on other parts of your vehicle, a corroded battery is a serious fire hazard.
Any battery that’s showing signs of corrosion or failure needs to be replaced. You don’t want to drive around with a ticking time bomb. It’s much more convenient to replace your battery on your own time when the vehicle is in working condition than needing to have your vehicle towed to a shop.
While you’re at it, double check your jumper cable. Make sure they’re still loaded in your vehicle and aren’t showing signs of wear either. When you have a fully upfit work truck, there’s no excuse to drive around underequipped for emergency situations!
Inspect Your Tires & Treads
A work truck with bald tires is not ready for winter. Old tires leave your truck vulnerable to slippery conditions – they increase your risk of losing control and causing an accident. When was the last time you replaced your tires? If it’s been more than a few years, you probably need new ones.
Don’t overlook the importance of proper inflation. Your owner’s manual will have information about the ideal PSI levels for your tires. Regularly check them throughout the winter to ensure they stay at or near the recommended pressure.
All-season tires are popular for simplifying vehicle ownership, but they’re not necessarily the safest option available. Switching out tires for the season can feel like a hassle, especially if you have multiple vehicles to manage. But the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.
While you’re focused on tires, don’t forget about your spare! There’s no use having a spare if it’s not safe to use when you need it. Whenever you examine your truck’s tires, check on the spare too.
The last major step for preparing your truck for winter is a tune-up. It may seem weird going to a mechanic if nothing is specifically wrong with your vehicle, but it makes sense. Like going to the doctor, there are things your mechanic can catch early that may not have presented until a problem was occurring.
A winter tune-up simplifies the process for winterizing your truck. Many of the necessary steps, from checking fluids to examining the battery will all happen under the watch of an experienced automotive expert. It’s one of the best ways to reassure yourself that your vehicle is ready for the cold months ahead!
About Adrian Steel
Adrian Steel manufactures contractor-grade products and storage solutions including shelving, drawers, cabinets, partitions, ladder racks, aluminum toolboxes, and accessories. Beyond manufacturing, our dedicated Customer Care Team and a network of highly qualified distributors can have your vehicle upfitted at a location convenient for you – at the factory, out of dealer stock, at your place of business, or through a bailment pool.
Plus, upfits installed by an authorized Adrian Steel distributor are covered for a full 3 years or 36,000 miles.
Find a distributor near you to get started today!
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