Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cold Weather And Semi Trucks

Photo by Nick Gray
Road salt, snow, and bitter cold temperatures wreak havoc on trucks.  Not only does a truck driver have to watch out for road hazards and bad road conditions in the wintertime, the truck owner also has to keep the chemicals that are sprayed on the ground, off their equipment and out of the inner workings of the machinery.

Here are some easily overlooked issues that occur:

1. Windshield washer fluid isn't mixed with enough antifreeze.

2. Oil is the wrong weight which can make it too thick when the truck is shut off for long periods of time in  sub-zero temperatures.

3. The components on the truck that are metal can become brittle in extreme cold weather, so running the engine and circulating the fluids before they get too cold can keep the internal temperatures of the metal at an acceptable level.  The block heater won't do that as it will only keep the engine oil a little warmer than the air temperature.

4. The cooling system components can contract and expand greatly in the winter temperatures causing leaks anywhere in the entire cooling system line.

5. Tire pressures drop greatly in cold weather. This is bad for the tires and your fuel mileage.

6. Any imperfections in the windshield can be aggravated by the temperature differences from the cab to the outside. A small chip in the windshield can crack the entire glass when the temperature outside is drastically different from the inside.

7. Ice build-up on the truck and trailer can add weight, and can also be a hazard when it builds up and falls off during transit.

8. Air lines can freeze if the air dryer isn't doing its job, resulting in the brakes locking up.

9. Road salt can corrode the electrical connections on everything from the lights to the ECM.  One preventative measure is to seal the connections with dielectric grease.

Winter weather should not be underestimated.  It can destroy your equipment if you don't prepare for it.