for making it through the winter: SIX TIPS....

The winter months can be tough on truckers. A little planning ahead can save a lot of headaches once you hit the icy roads. Of course, carrying extra clothing, water and food (and a can opener if applicable) is a wise move. But there are some truck-specific supplies that can make the difference between a good winter and a bad one for truck drivers.

  1. Washer Fluid. When you hit winter weather conditions, you’ll be using your washer fluid more. And, chances are, so will everyone else. So if you run out and need to buy some at a truck stop, you’re likely to find that they’ve run out. Even if they do still have some in stock, you may end up paying twice as much for it as you would pay at a discount store if you bought it ahead of time.
  2. Wiper Blades. The more you use your wiper blades the sooner you’ll need to replace them. And if you need to replace them during a snow storm, you’ll find out just how important those wiper blades are. Carry an extra set with you. If you can, get a set of winter blades for your truck- these are wiper blades with a protective rubber cover that are more durable in winter weather.
  3. Anti-gel. Diesel isn’t the same as gasoline, and one of the major differences is that when it gets cold diesel fuel can gel up. If your truck is running, you are far less likely to run into a gelling problem. But, much like washer fluid, you’ll want to buy your anti-gel ahead of time. When the temperature drops, truck stops tend to run out of anti-gel additives. Some popular anti-gel additives are FPPF, Power Service and Howes.
  4. Melt Down. If you do gel up, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money waiting for a service truck if you have FPPF Melt Down with you. This is different from anti-gel additives, which are intended to prevent gelling. Only use a product like Melt Down if you have already gelled up.
  5. Bleach. When you’ve been parked and you want to get rolling, you’ll sometimes find that you don’t have any traction. There are tricks to try to avoid this- such as pulling into a parking spot and driving forward and back a few times to pack down the snow that will be under your tires when you try to leave. But when all else fails, a little bleach on your tires can give you some added traction if you’re stuck on ice. The bleach isn’t intended to melt the snow, it makes the tread of the tire slightly sticky temporarily. Don’t overdo it- it’s not terribly good for the truck tire.
  6. Jumper Cables. Your best bet is to make sure your batteries are up to par before winter weather hits- one bad battery can drain all your other batteries. And cold weather makes batteries work harder to start your truck. But if you end up stranded by dead batteries, you’ll be glad you carried jumper cables with you. Even if you don’t end up stranded, chances are another driver will. Don’t buy a flimsy set of jumper cables- the thin cables might work fine on a Volkswagen, but a heavy duty truck will need heavy duty jumper cables. Buy the thickest, longest jumper cables you can find.