Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC released its latest installment of "Bendix Tech Tips, which features director of engineering Rick Conklin sharing tips on how owner-operators can prepare for winter and protect against unexpected downtime.
Drain the tanks
Draining every three months tends to be sufficient for typical line haul trucks, but if you’re driving something with high air demand, like a vocational truck, monthly or even weekly is recommended, depending on job conditions, according to Conklin. In any case, it’s a good idea to manually drain the tanks at the beginning of the cold weather season to get rid of any moisture from the warmer months.
Check your dryer cartridge
If it hasn’t been replaced lately, then now’s the time: If you see moisture in your tank drainings or have reached the OE’s recommended preventive maintenance (PM) interval for the air system, then an inspection for excessive air consumption (air leaks) and replacement of the air dryer cartridge to an OE-recommended cartridge may be wise before the winter season hits. Moisture in the air system can condense and freeze in the winter, upping the chances of brake and valve malfunctions.
Replace the purge valve
This step is a quick and simple bit of preventive maintenance that can really save you some trouble down the road, so if you spot corrosion or grit accumulation, then go ahead and put in a new one. Corrosive road chemicals – the kind you’ll run into during winter – can damage this valve and cause bigger system issues.
Save de-icers for emergencies
We know sometimes they’re necessary to get trucks back on the road, but de-icing solutions can corrode O-rings and valve seals within your air system, so you should limit the exposure to as small an area as possible. And afterward in the shop, keep an eye on the affected parts.
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Double-check your wheel-ends
On the tires, you’re looking for adequate tread depth and proper wear, and you should examine wheel-ends for cracks and check to make sure all bolts are tightened.
Watch your tire pressure
Winter’s temperature swings make running on the right tire inflation exceedingly important. Make sure your tire pressure monitoring systems are operating properly, and run diagnostic checks if you encounter any DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes).
Clear the sensors
Before you get on the road each trip, inspect for and remove any snow, ice, or debris from external cameras and radars that are a part of forward- or side-mounted collision mitigation technology or lane-departure warning systems. Obstructions will reduce their ability to perform effectively.
Examine electrical connections
Secure and watertight connectivity is even more important in the winter when even small amounts of salt or other road chemicals can ruin connectors and components.