The air is becoming crisp, the leaves are turning hues of yellow, red, and orange, fall crops are being harvested, and before you know it, Old Man Winter will arrive bringing with him all of the dreaded winter elements. Snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your chassis, so prepare now and avoid those winter maintenance blues. Follow these steps to ensure a safe and comfortable ride this season:
- To properly inspect your chassis for wear and tear, first and foremost, remove grime and dirt by thoroughly washing your chassis, so you can clearly observe what elements need to be addressed.
- Inspect your paint job, especially areas that come in close contact with road. Previous exposure to de-icing salt and slushy roadways from last year may have caused nicks and cracks in your paint coating which leads to rust, corrosion, and deterioration. Touch up any areas, preferably with a rust-resistant paint.
- Since no one enjoys slipping and sliding in treacherous conditions, always make sure your tires are in top condition. Freezing weather can harden the rubber causing cracks, sidewall damage, and tread wear. In addition to being dangerous in winter conditions, uneven tread wear also affects your gas milage. Ensure the pressure is adequate for motoring through winter terrain. If you live in an area that warrants it, change to appropriate snow tires. Taking the time to check your tires before every trip and having an extra set on-hand are critical preventative measures.
- Driving on crunchy ice can make for a bumpy ride, so eliminate any unnecessary jostling by tuning up your suspension and replacing any worn out parts. Maintain your steering components and suspension by applying lubricant.
- Keeping the frame in tip top condition is also key. Tighten all bolts down to ensure proper safety for your cargo, and inspect all welding and lubricate the rails as needed.
- With the time change approaching, it means more driving in poorly illuminated conditions where functional lights are essential. Add fog and snow, and visibility can become very limited. Inspect all wiring and trailer lights for solid connections as well as damage to wires. If your lights appear dim, give them a thorough cleaning, and change bulbs and fuses as needed.
- Most importantly, brake maintenance is crucial. Freezing temperatures can adversely affect hoses and couplings. Make sure your air dryer and air reservoir are operating properly and inspect the brakes for cracked drums, bent chambers or push rods to make sure nothing is loose or broken. Avoid leaving your trailer parked for a long time after being exposed to winter chemicals. Corrosion of friction surfaces can extend into the lining to freeze the brakes. This causes tires to drag, especially when driving without a load, and can create unsafe conditions and tire damage.
- Lastly, throughout the winter, it is always a good idea to wash the underside of your chassis when you have been driving through salt covered roads to prevent corrosion. Doing walk-around spot checks can increase your peace of mind for safe winter hauling.
Don’t have the time to prepare your chassis for Winter? Contact us at (908) 369-0000 or [email protected] to inquire about our professional winterization maintenance. Happy Motoring!