ATS Transportation Blog

Winterization Best Practices

Winter is especially hard on trucks and trailers, so please keep in mind the following best practices to ensure optimal safety and success:

  • 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 and will start easier.
  • The reserve capacity in your batteries is lower in cold weather.
    • That means you won’t be able to operate your key offloads as long as you would be able to in warmer weather.
  • Dry your brakes off before parking for an extended period of time - this will prevent the shoes from freezing to the drums.
  • If you are equipped with tire cables, use them when appropriate.
  • Don’t use winter fronts on your trucks.
    • Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) discourage the use of winter fronts on trucks.
  • Use of winter-blended fuel is always preferred when available.
    • If winter-blended fuel is not available and you plan to be delivering in a region where temperatures will be below 30 degrees, the use of Power Service Diesel Fuel Supplement is highly recommended at the following treatment ratios to significantly reduce fuel gelling and costly downtime.
  • In the event your fuel has already gelled, you will need to use Power Service 911® to re-liquefy gelled fuel.
    • Do so at the following ratios. Remember Diesel 911® will not prevent fuel gelling so be sure to add the proper amount of fuel supplement as noted above.
  • Check the color of the fuel you are pumping.
    • If the fuel is black, that’s 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, which gives you four-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. Driving with it locked in can cause severe damage. 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 are crucial to ensure your truck is prepared to drive safely. Safe travels!


Written by ATS

Family-owned since 1955, Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) is a values-driven company offering worldwide transportation solutions.

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