Most truck owners choose to drive a truck because they can withstand the elements with relative ease no matter the season. However, you should still prepare your truck for winter, whether that involves maintaining your truck's suspension or performing routine repairs and maintenance. Here are some helpful truck winterizing tips to consider to make sure your truck performs at optimal capacity even through the snow, ice and frigid temperatures.
1. Check the Battery
Cold temperatures drain batteries notoriously fast. Even when you aren't using your truck, freezing temperatures can drain your battery by as much as half. It also weakens the power of the chemical reactions within the battery that are responsible for delivering power throughout your truck. As such, your truck's battery is one of the most important parts to pay attention to when winterizing your truck. Be sure that it's functional at optimal performance and fully prepared to handle the cold with confidence.
To that end, test your battery and check over all of the connection ports and terminal ends, cleaning and tightening them if necessary. Any corrosion you find on the terminal ends will hasten the drainage and can cause problems when starting your vehicle — especially in frigid temperatures when starting your truck will already require more battery power. It's also important to use engine oil with the right viscosity. Regular engine oil runs thicker and more slowly in the cold, requiring extra power surges battery to start your vehicle.
However, before you check over your battery and brace it for the coming cold, it's worthwhile to check your battery's cold cranking amp (CCA) rating to make sure it is the right battery for your particular climate. If you live in a northern region with harsh winters, you will want a heavy-duty battery with a high CCA rating. Your battery's CCA rating is based on the number of amps it can pump out at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your battery's manufacturer is likely to have climate recommendations for your specific battery, as they research and test the ability of their products to hold up amidst various conditions. If the information isn't listed in the manual that comes with the battery, or if you've misplaced it, contact the manufacturer and ask them about the climate recommendations for your battery. If it's not recommended for your climate, you'll save time by purchasing one that is instead of winterizing one.
Some other tips for protecting your truck battery during the winter include parking your truck in a garage, giving your battery time to recharge with a longer drive every now and again and minimizing overall battery usage.
2. Fill Fluids
Keeping your fluids topped up is especially important in the wintertime, including your engine oil, antifreeze, brake fluid and windshield wiper fluid. As mentioned, it's essential to have engine oil with the right viscosity for the winter conditions in your region. However, the importance of having proper engine oil extends beyond starting your truck. During cold weather, it takes longer for oil to get to the parts it needs to lubricate, which can put excess strain on your starter and alternator.
It's even more crucial to keep your antifreeze levels topped up throughout the winter, as they will prevent other liquids in your engine from turning to ice. The color of your antifreeze coolant should be red, green, blue or yellow. If it looks rusty or colorless or you notice debris, it's time to flush the coolant system and refill it with new antifreeze. Make sure you use the right color and type of coolant for your engine, which should be indicated in your owner's manual, and maintain a ratio between 50/50 to 70/30 of coolant to water.
Further, icy and slushy conditions run rampant in the wintertime, which can create hazards when driving. To prepare for those hazards, top up your brake fluids and keep an eye on them throughout the winter to avoid any accidents on icy roads. Moreover, if you've ever had a semi-truck pass you on sloshy roads and experienced the resulting spray splattered across your windshield, you likely know the value of windshield wiper fluid in the wintertime. Don't neglect to top that up, as well.
3. Get Winter Tires
Speaking of icy and snowy conditions, changing your summer or all-season tires to winter tires will offer you maximum performance, especially if the winters where you live are as cold as they are long. Winter tires are constructed with rubber compounds that do not harden as easily in freezing temperatures, allowing them to maintain better traction on ice, snow and slush.
All-season tires are acceptable in milder winter conditions, but they will ultimately harden faster than winter tires. Cold air will also cause your tire pressure to drop, so make sure you pay extra close attention to your tire pressure in the winter months.
4. Install Fresh Wiper Blades
In addition to winter tires, there are also winter wiper blades you can get to prevent ice build-up on the blades with a rubberized boot. Since slushy and snowy winter conditions can make a mess of your windshield, you'll want your wiper blades to be ready to go when you need them. Any ice collected on the blades can make the mess even worse, leaving blurry streaks behind and only doing a half-completed job.
Contact Us at General Spring KC for More Information on Winterizing Your Truck
Here at General Spring, our truck suspension professionals are no spring chickens when it comes to what it takes to properly winterize a truck. Our team has been supplying premium-grade leaf springs and suspension systems for trucks since 1965.
As such, we'd be happy to answer any other questions you have on how to winterize your truck. If you have suspension concerns with your pickup, it's best to have those resolved before the cold hits, and we have the know-how and resources to do just that.
Browse our selection of leaf springs, coil springs, add-a-leaf, load support and other suspension parts to find what you need. Our springs are built to handle the requirements of any Ford, Chevy, Jeep, Nissan or Toyota truck, and come with a one-year warranty.