Winter Truck Maintenance Tips

December 2014, - WebXclusive

by Mel Kirk, Ryder System

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Photo via Ryder System. 
Photo via Ryder System.

Make sure your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained before the winter season begins to keep your fleet up and running. The following steps will help you ensure that your vehicle is as prepared as possible to weather the winter roads.

  • Keep a vehicle running at highway speeds in extreme temperatures vs. idling so it can reach the temperature threshold required for the regeneration and Diesel Engine Fluid cycling processes.
  • Plug in the engine block heater on all diesel trucks each night - even when the temperature feels warm. The longer a truck sits, the more crucial it is to plug it in.
  • Be sure the vehicle is at normal operating temperature when you plug in your block heater. Block heaters maintain temperature; they are not designed to heat coolant from ambient temperatures.
  • Avoid cold soaks. Cold soaks occur when the engine fluids and the steel of the engine block drop to ambient temperatures. This happens when a vehicle sits for more than a day and it impacts starting and charging systems.
  • Be sure to get a correctly blended fuel with a cloud point additive to prevent fuel filter waxing, especially if you are not fueling at a Ryder location.
  • Base your fuel needs on your destination weather. Use winter weight fuel when driving north and consider fuel additives.
  • Check your tires often. Freezing temperatures can cause slippery driving conditions. Having correctly inflated tires in good condition will help prevent breakdowns and accidents.
  • Have drivers pre-trip their trucks daily. This should include inspecting their vehicle for frozen components like trailer doors, power cords, etc. If they have any safety, starting, fuel or heater defroster-related problems, drivers should complete a Driver’s Vehicle Condition Report so Ryder can address issues immediately.

Published by Ryder System. Used with permission. More information available at: article was authored under the guidance and editorial standards of HDT's editors to provide useful information to our readers. 


  1. 1. [ April 24, 2016 @ 10:05PM ]

    Truck Batteries. Have your truck batteries tested like clockwork. Winter months can and will drain a truck battery faster than many managers realize. Moreover, battery connections corrode and get dirty in winter. Clean the connections and test the batteries regularly, so you can fix a potential problem before it costs you business. You should consider replacing batteries approaching 4 years old.

  2. 2. Georgia B [ December 20, 2016 @ 02:25PM ]

    Thanks for the tip on having drivers pre-trip their trucks daily. It's such a small and simple thing to do and may seem a bit tedious. However, this is the way to recognize potential issues before they become larger problems. It keeps both the truck drivers and the other drivers safe while on the road.


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