Winter Checklist For Taking Care Of Your Bucket Truck
28 December 2012
Now that the first major snow storm of the year is upon us, these checks and guidelines are imperative for smooth and safe truck operation. While not all bucket truck owners have to endure a cold, harsh winter there are still many who will have to work in frigid temperatures and snow. Weather extremes can have a major impact on diesel trucks but with proper winterization and maintenance you can be assured that your truck will run smoothly.
One of the most important fluids to check is Anti Freeze. If it wasn't changed last winter, it's recommended that it gets changed this winter. Anti Freeze can lose its effectiveness over time. The standard lifespan is 30,000 miles or two years, whichever comes first. Not only does Anti freeze lubricate water pumps but it also helps prevent engine corrosion.
The second most important check for winter maintenance is the motor Oil. Standard 10W30 weight oil is adequate for winter weather unless the bucket truck is being operated in extreme arctic conditions. If truck operation includes frigid temperatures, now is the time to switch to a thinner weight oil.
Often overlooked until they're needed, wiper blades and washer fluid are also very important. Winter environments include salty slush, sand and ice which can impact driving visibility. Good wiper blades and washer fluid with an anti freeze agent can ensure operator safety on the road. Make sure and keep the washer fluid full and do regular checks on the wiper blades.
Another winter recommendation for safe bucket truck operation is an annual battery check. Severe temperatures can shorten a batteries life and there is nothing more frustrating than to be out on the road and have a dead battery. If your battery is within one year of its life expectancy, have it tested. Low-life batteries may not have enough starting power in cold temperatures.
A pre-season tune up is also recommended. Have a mechanic check the spark plugs, distributor cap and rotor (if applicable) to make sure that all connections are good.
Belts and hoses help round out truck winterization to make sure that a commercial truck is in top working condition. Make sure that belts and hoses are not worn or cracked. Make periodic checks throughout the winter months because freezing temperatures can put an additional strain on belts and hoses.
Tires are always important, but especially during winter months. Road conditions can become very hazardous and worn tires will not provide good traction. Most commercial trucks have a rear drive train, so good rear tire tread is crucial. Operators in mountainous regions also rely on chains, so if you'll be working in hazardous terrain, make sure you have chains in the work arsenal. The rule of thumb is to always be prepared.
Finally, check the exhaust system. Make sure there are no leaks or a means for any exhaust to enter the truck cab. During the winter months with the heater running and windows closed - an exhaust leak could be fatal.
These simple preventative measures will ensure that work crews stay safe and remain productive this winter season.
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