TORONTO, Ont. – It seems you can find an answer to just about anything on the Cyber CB – a trucking message board found on Trucknews.com.
Job-seeking advice, aluminum polishing techniques, radiator replacement tips and preventive maintenance are just a few topics that have been covered to date, with knowledgeable members of the trucking industry sharing their advice for free.
So, Truck News turned to the experts at the Cyber CB to find out what advice they had regarding the winterization of heavy-duty trucks.
True to his name, Big Wrench (owner of Big Wrench Mechanical in Macklin, Sask. – 780-753-0641), had plenty of pointers on how to prepare your rig for a harsh Canadian winter. And they don’t get much harsher than in his neck of the woods.
“There are many things you can perform at the last moment for winterization, whether it be August or December,” he replied. “I treat my customers like the worst weather is coming at any time. I make sure the tire pressures are proper, and that the sidewalls and tread are well within the safety spec’s, and make sure that all the lamps work and that there are no wiring problems. Every couple of months, I take the lens out of the grommets and check the pigtails to make sure the green bugs (corrosion) didn’t get to them during the rain or snow.”
Before the snow flies, Big Wrench suggests checking the brakes to ensure the stroke is within 1/8-1/4-inch.
The fall is also a good time to check alignment and if it’s out of alignment, he suggests taking it to an alignment specialist. This should be done once a year, he suggests.
Slewfooted, another Cyber CB regular, adds owner/operators should test their batteries in the fall.
“Regardless of the age of your batteries, have each one individually load tested,” he suggested. “A 1/2-inch wrench and a load tester will identify any bad batteries, cables and bolts. Pay special attention to the cables that may be against the frame and isolate them with some heater hose and nylon ties before they rub themselves down to bare copper and short-out. I cut up a couple of mud flaps and use them to cushion and protect my batteries from the cold steel box they are enclosed in.”
He added a battery blanket can be placed on top of them before the box is closed, maintaining a warm, dry environment over the winter.
When replacing batteries, Slewfooted suggests upgrading to batteries with 1,100 cold cranking amps.
Inside the cab, Big Wrench advises to make sure the defroster provides good air flow.
“Make sure all your switches, gauges, lamps and buttons are in good working shape,” he adds.
He also says the air tanks should be completely drained and an alcohol injector installed if there isn’t one already.
“At the same time, check your air drier,” he adds. “If there’s moisture in the tanks, change out the drier desiccant or the whole assembly, whichever is more convenient.”
Big Wrench says owner/operators and company drivers should be preparing for winter in the back of their minds year-round.
“As far as getting ready for winter, if most of this stuff is performed throughout the year, many things won’t come as a surprise for you or your pocketbook,” he points out.
For more helpful tips, visit the Cyber CB at Trucknews.com. Feel free to register and join in the discussion.
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