With harsh January weather right around the corner it is important to make sure your fleet and your drivers are well prepared for winter driving. Winter is tough on vehicles and it can be difficult to keep a fleet in continual operation with little downtime. With a bit more attention and some preventative maintenance you can keep your fleet running smoothly over winter.Here is a 10 point checklist to help ensure your drivers and your vehicles are prepared for winter:
- Battery: Make sure batteries are in excellent working order. If older than 5 years, consider replacing them.
- Oil: Verify that you are using the proper oil viscosity for freezing temperatures.
- Heater: Check the heating elements and the defrost to make sure that they are working perfectly. This should be done a few times during the season.
- Hoses and Belts: Do regular checks of belts and hoses to ensure there is no wear and tear. Make sure they are fixed immediately.
- Windshield Washer Fluid: Make sure drivers have full supply of washer fluid and always have extra when the weather gets messy.
- Other Fluid: Transmission, brake, and power steering fluid can be affected by extreme temperatures. Be sure to check these fluids regularly.
- Windshield Wipers: Wipers should be heavy duty and be able to cut through ice. Any wiper with even minimal wear should be replaced immediately.
- Tires: Temperature changes can cause tire pressure fluctuations and tire pressure should be checked several times a month to ensure that tires are always inflated to the proper psi.
- Regular Cleaning: Wash the cab of the vehicles regularly to remove road salt and de-icing agents. Remember to wash the undercarriage and keep the cab clean
- Emergency Kit: All vehicles should be equipped with a kit for drivers. It should include blankets, flares, flashlight, first aid kit, booster cables, small shovel and sand or salt for traction. Include a checklist of supplies in the kit and have drivers check regularly that the emergency kit is complete.
Finally, and most importantly, reiterate to your drivers the importance of safe driving. Deadlines are not as essential as safety and drivers must adapt to changing weather.
With extra care during the winter months you can keep your fleet running smoothly and safely even in the harshest of weather.