Safety Advisor: Winter Driving – Prepare Now For Cold Weather

It’s time to prepare your equipment for the upcoming harsh conditions before winter arrives. Don’t wait for the first cold snap. Start putting your survival gear together now. You may need: sleeping bag, gloves, candles, matches, water, protein bars, ski mask, flashlight, extra batteries, cellphone, auxiliary in-cab heater and a multi-use tool (all-in-one knife, screwdriver, can opener, etc.).

For your vehicle, consider: fuel additives, air-drying system, tire chains, lock lubricant, deicer, battery charger and starting fluid.

One of the most important things to check is your antifreeze. Make sure the antifreeze you use meets your manufacturer’s recommendations and is mixed at the correct concentration.

Some things to check that you may not normally look at or even think about include:

  • Fan blades
  • Radiator shutter or winterfront
  • Fan combination settings (the shutter setting should be about 10° under the fan clutch setting)
  • Radiator coolant levels
  • Thermostat calibration set to open at about 180° F
  • Water pump – leak and flow rate
  • Hoses, clamps and belts
  • Fuel system
  • Engine oil heaters and oil grade specifications
  • Electrical systems and battery terminals
  • Air systems – drain any water in the lines and check often to prevent brake freeze up.
  • Tires – each 10° drop in temperature lowers air pressure by one pound.
  • Locks and hinges adequately lubricated

Your battery is especially important. If you need to add fluid, use distilled water to fill the cells. Check a conventional lead acid battery with a hydrometer. A reading of 1.26 is fully charged. For a maintenance-free battery, use a voltmeter and look for a reading of 12.7 volts. If your battery freezes, warm it up to about 60° before charging. Overcharging will damage the battery.

Fuel problems start when the temperature gets down to around 2°. Drain your water separator each night to prevent freezing and fill your tanks at day’s end.

Sentry Insurance is committed to helping you protect your business by providing resources to manage loss-producing situations and prevent accidents. For additional information visit, or call 1-877-832-1835.

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