Chilly days out there this winter across America—it's the perfect time for stuff on a truck to break, and you really don't want it to. A familiar truck stop chain has been focused on its new maintenance services this past year and has some tips for truckers when the weather gets extreme.
Pilot Flying J launched Truck Care service centers and roadside assistance vehicles in 2017 to deliver truck stop-based and mobile commercial truck services. The maintenance business has been growing and reaching more professional truck drivers since, PFJ said.
Across the company's network of more than 750 North American travel centers you'll now find 21 truck service centers, with four new ones just opened in El Paso, TX; Sioux Falls, SD; Waynesville, NC; and Lake Township, OH. There are 135 Truck Care roadside assistance vehicles operating in 36 states.
Over the recent Thanksgiving week, Truck Care mobile technicians replaced 51% more tires, billed 62% more emergency labor hours, and helped 55% more customers than they did the same week in 2017.
PFJ offered these tips to help truck drivers stay safe on the road this winter:
—Be absolutely sure to do a thorough pre-trip inspection before you leave.
—Test the truck's defroster and heater.
—Replace wiper blades if needed (winter blades are best in tough winter weather). Be sure wipers are working right and keep washer fluid topped up.
—Drain moisture from air tanks. According to PFJ, the best way to keep the truck's air brake system from freezing is to use only pure methanol alcohol in alcohol evaporators.
—Completely clean windows, windshield, and mirrors before departure. You'll begin with visibility as ideal as it can be.
—Below 30 degrees, use a fuel supplement to prevent diesel gelling and fuel-filter icing. If a truck won't start or gain power in such temperatures, PFJ said it could be gelled fuel and/or a frozen fuel filter and suggested a fuel supplement such as Diesel 9-1-1 to free it up.
—Keeping tires correctly inflated is key for best traction and safest driving.
—Keep fuel tanks as full as possible to put extra weight over the drive tires and help boost traction.
—In conditions such as a storm, clear snow and ice off lights when you can stop safely (especially brake, tail, and head lights). Lighting is even more vital when visibility is poor, PFJ stressed.