In the United States, there are more than 500,000 car accidents every year that can be associated with icy road conditions. That is more than three times the amount of deaths from all other weather hazards combined. In just a split-second your whole world can be turned upside down forever.
Taking safety precautions to prepare your vehicle for hazardous conditions is one of the best steps you can take to keep your family or work vehicle safe this winter. Don't make the mistake of assuming everything on your truck is fine. Take the time to inspect your vehicle thoroughly.
That's why we're sharing the ultimate winter truck maintenance routine, to make sure you're safe on the road all year round. Read on to learn what you need to look for when you're preparing your truck for winter.
1. Check Your Tires
Many people choose to purchase a set of winter tires for their trucks. This is a good way to ensure you have good traction for the snow all winter long. Winter tires often have larger tread that is less worn down from infrequent use.
But if you don't decide to change your tires, you should definitely rotate them to ensure they are wearing evenly. Also, make sure the tire pressure is good. When the temperature drops, this can make your tire pressure drop and make you more prone to slipping on ice and flat tires.
Purchase Chains if Necessary*
Depending on where you live and what the terrain is like, it may be a good idea for you to get chains to put on your truck wheels. Chains are necessary when the road is covered in ice or snow and is especially a good idea in areas with steep inclines.
*Make sure you check the law in your area before using chains and read about any restrictions on driving with chains. If you use them on the pavement, you can damage the road.
2. Check Your Fluid Levels and Filters
In order to make it through the winter, you have to check the coolant levels in your truck. You should also get an oil change if you need one and consider changing your oil and air filters. This helps your internal components get what they need.
To finish topping off your fluids, check the transmission fluid, power steering fluids, and brake fluid.
Finally, you should check your washer fluid to make sure you have something that will work for the winter. In freezing temperatures it's important that you invest in an antifreeze solution.
To ensure your windshield stays clear, make sure you also keep up with your windshield wiper blades and replace them if they begin to show wear. Your windshield wipers can be the difference between life or death in a blizzard-like condition.
3. Ensure Your Battery & Everything Under the Hood is Still Good
When the temperature drops, you need to make sure your battery is functioning properly so that you can be sure it gets enough current to start your ignition.
One good way to see if your battery is in good shape is to turn your headlights on and then turn your ignition on. If your headlights get brighter, then your battery will need to be replaced soon.
Alternatively, you can get a voltmeter to test your battery or check to see if your battery has a built-in hydrometer for its voltage.
Take a look under the hood of your truck and look to see if anything is cracked or leaking or that there are any loose clamps. You should also look at your belts to ensure they aren't worn or fraying. Make sure you start the engine and listen for anything that stands out. Visit a mechanic if you notice it sounds weird.
4. Inspect Your Heater and Defroster
Your heater and defroster are costly repairs, so it's important that you perform regular maintenance on them to keep them in tip-top shape.
If you think there is a problem with your defroster, then you should check to make sure there aren't any air leaks around your doors or windows. The extra moisture that can be let in through these leaks can make it seem like a problem when there really isn't anything wrong with your defroster.
5. Keep Your Gas Tank Full
Depending on how much the people who raised you knew about cars, you may or may not have been told the tip to always keep your gas tank at least a quarter of the way full in the winter.
While many tips like this are old wive's tales or don't apply to modern cars, this is one piece of advice that you really should take. If you let your gas tank get all the way down to empty during a time of year when the weather is cold, condensation can begin to form in your gas tank.
This condensed water then drips down into your gas and since the oil in the gas rises, it falls to the bottom of your gas tank where it can quickly enter the fuel lines. When that happens, the water can freeze in the fuel line and prevent gasoline from reaching your engine.
Where to Find Winter Truck Accessories
In order to prepare your truck for winter, you need to perform a lot of basic maintenance and make sure all of its parts are functioning well.
Once you're sure all of the necessary components are in place, it's time to have a little fun with your ride. With the right winter truck accessories, you should be comfortable all winter long. Check out our options for customization today.