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Tractor Winterization Techniques


With the winter months here it’s time to keep in mind some best practices while operating your equipment to ensure optimal safety and success.

Please review some of the best practices that the ATS Maintenance department recommends utilizing during this time of year:

• Carry basic hand tools in your truck.

• Drain air tanks daily.

• Plug the engine heater in while the engine is still warm and keep it plugged in until you start your truck. You should plug your truck in when the temperature is below 30 degrees. A warm engine produces less drag andwill start easier.

• The reserve capacity in your batteries is less in cold weather so you won’t be able to operate your key off loads as long as you would be able to in warmer weather.

• Dry your brakes off before parking for an extended period to prevent the shoes from freezing to the drums.

• If you are equipped with tire cables, use them when appropriate.

• Original Equipment Manufacturers discourage the use of winter fronts on trucks.

• Use blended fuel rather than fuel treatments.

• Check the color of the fuel you are pumping. If the fuel is black that is a sign of bacteria in blended fuel. Discontinue pumping if the fuel is black and purchase your fuel elsewhere. Major fuel system failures can occur if you use this fuel.

• Do not run your fuel tank below ¼ tank.

• Carry brake line antifreeze with you to free up frozen trailer brakes. If you use brake line antifreeze on your trailer be sure to purge the air tanks once the brakes are freed up. If you need to idle your truck aim for between 600 and 900 RPM but keep in mind that idling is very hard on the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). Any idling will shorten the life of the DPF. If you start to spin or get stuck stop and lock in your power divider, this gives you 4 wheel drive capability. Make sure the wheels are stopped before locking in the power divider. Locking in a power divider while the wheels are moving will cause catastrophic damage. Your truck is not meant to run all of the time with the power divider locked in. It can be damaged by driving with it locked in. If you are spinning and the wheels suddenly catch traction, the shock load can cause damage to the power divider.

• Drain your fuel-water separator whenever needed. Only drain out the water.

• As always, a good pre-trip and post-trip inspection is crucial to ensure your truck is prepared to drive safely.