Winter is a brutal time for all of us, and even though our diesel beauties are designed to be tough, they still need a little pampering from time to time. While it's currently right in the middle of winter, it is always good to maintain preparedness, right? With that in mind, here are some quick suggestions to make sure your tractor is ready for whatever winter throws at you!
We firmly believe that every professional driver should be prepared to be stuck in their cab for up to 24 hours at any given time. Wintertime preparation is particularly important because of the danger of being stuck without heat.
With that in mind, here are the items we recommend for a well-stocked winter survival kit.
- Sleeping bags or blankets (consider the insulation rating)
- Flashlight (and extra batteries)
- Matches and candles
- Sack of sand or cat litter for traction
- Bungee cords
- Non-perishable, high energy foods (protein bars)
- Paper towels and/or toilet tissue
- Metal coffee can that can be used to heat water
- Warm hat, mittens, gloves, boots, etc.
- Plenty of bottled water
- Small hatchet or saw
- Tow chain or strap, come-alongs
- First aid kit, including any necessary prescriptions/medications
- A shovel (flat blade is preferable)
- Windshield scraper and snow brush
- Washer fluid, extra oil, fuel filter, and emissions compliant diesel conditioner
- Booster cables
- Basic tool kit: pliers/vise grips, crowbar & hammer, screwdrivers, adjustable wrench and 5/16, 7/16, and 9/16 wrenches, roll of duct tape, can of WD40, wire and rope
Even if you know your way around an engine it is a good idea to get a second opinion on your engine when bitter cold is on the horizon.
Make sure your inspection includes these areas that are particularly vulnerable to cold weather:
- Fuel filter
- Heating system
- Air dryer
Getting a new battery as a preventative measure is always better than waiting for something to go wrong. Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, wear batteries faster, so it is wise to prepare for winter with a fresh start.
Properly Inflated Tires
Cold weather lowers the inflation of your tires. Under-inflated tires wear more quickly and wear unevenly. Keep close tabs on your tires before and after you enter the coldest environments.
When the weather cools, your fuel can easily gel together and turn your fuel tank into a slushy mess. To avoid this, use fuel rated for winter use, and consider additives that prevent gelling.
Watch Your Water Separator
During the winter months, your fuel system's water separator can quickly fill up. It is best to drain it frequently so you don't deal with fuel contamination. If you need help learning to do this, let us know in the comments below and we can feature it in a future tutorial!
Engine Block Heater
If you're driving in the coldest cold, you'll want to have a good engine block heater to help warm the engine when parked for long periods of time. Diesel engines are harder to start in the winter, and a working engine block heater can make getting back on the road after a break a whole lot easier.
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