Fleet Management Tips for Winter Operation

No matter what type of company they work for, if managers have diesel trucks in their fleets there are a few things they should know as winter approaches. Read on to find some fleet management tips that will make it easier to prepare vehicles for cold temperatures.

Plan Early

With several months of fall ahead, it may seem like winterization isn’t yet a priority. That’s the wrong attitude to take when it comes to preparing for the coldest months of the year, though, as preventative maintenance is important. Take the time to stock up on fluids, prepare drivers, and learn what to expect now to avoid serious problems in a few months.

Stock Up

Stock up on everything required to keep drivers and equipment safe this winter, including winterized tires, extra brake pads, heavy-duty windshield wipers, engine heaters, clean spark plugs, truck batteries, and all necessary fluids. Switch all the trucks to thinner oil in advance and make provisions for storing fluids like DEF that have to be kept in a certain temperature range to prevent degradation.

Switch Out Tires

Don’t bother with all-weather tires. They don’t provide the grip drivers need to deal with ice and snow. Switch them out for tires with a tread thickness of less than 5/32 of an inch and invest in some tire chains.

Change the Oil

High-viscosity oil will thicken as temperatures drop, making it more difficult for it to circulate through the engine. Switch to a winter blend to ensure proper lubrication.

Change the Brake Pads

Start winter off right with new brake pads. While changing the brake pads, check the vehicle’s air dryer system, too. This system removes excess moisture and prevents water from freezing outside the brake lines and causing potential failures.

Replace Weak Batteries

Older, weaker batteries sometimes have a hard time maintaining their charge in winter months. This happens because colder temperatures drain batteries faster than warmer weather. Combine this with the fact that diesel vehicles already need stronger batteries and the result of leaving weak batteries in the fleet’s trucks can be stranded drivers and unhappy customers.

Top Off Fluids

Top off all the vehicle’s fluids before every trip and check the coolant to make sure it’s at the right freeze point. Encourage drivers to keep extra fluids on-hand, including diesel exhaust fluid. Nobody wants to deal with breakdowns caused by negligence.