Getting ready for winter in the Midwest can be both fun and aggravating at the same time. Saturday morning… Let’s grab the truck and go play in the snow! Monday morning… Sigh, another commute in the snow. Either way, your truck has to be ready for whatever Mother Nature (and you) throws at it.
Get the Right Accessories
Winches, tow ropes, shovels gloves and boots - all unbelievably fun, unless you have to use them. Let’s try and keep you dry and warm this winter.
Don’t go out in the snow with tires that can’t handle the job! Just don’t do it. It will not work out well for you, or the person who is nice enough to stop and pull you to safety. A good, aggressive, self-cleaning tread pattern is perfect for playing in the snow, so if you don’t have off road tires in good condition, just stay at home.
Now is the time to pre-fit your chains. Check them, any broken links? Are the tensioners in good shape? Are they the right size for your new tires? Sounds simple, but when you need them, you need them to be right.
When was the last time you checked your winch? Don’t forget to check the cable, electrical connections, switches and all the things in your accessory bag. You never know when you’re going to need it. How is your block heater, still have the cord? Check it now.
Now is the time to go through your truck box. Shovel, tow rope (maybe 2), tarp, an extra gallon of washer fluid and kitty litter are all a must. You should also make sure you have a blanket and some emergency food in the cab (cereal that the kids dropped between the seats does not count).
Prepare Your Truck
Ok, so much for the fun stuff. Let’s talk about the truck itself.
Start at the front. Do you use a radiator cover? Time to get it out, and back on the truck.
Check the antifreeze. It’s called antifreeze for a reason, make sure its protecting down to the temperature you expect to be in.
Oil… Duh. Change it, and use the recommended winter weight, this makes it easier on the engine when it’s cold.
Transmission fluid should be checked at this point. Check the color, is it brownish? Might be time for a change. While you are under the truck, check all of your u-joints, they tend to snap at the worst possible times.
Check your differentials for play, and top off the fluid if needed.
Check the brakes; they come in handy in snowy conditions.
Now, a good cleaning, and a final inspection will show that you forgot to change out the wipers. Don’t feel bad, everyone does. Believe it or not, wiper manufactures say you should change out your wipers every 6 months. Do not get caught with old, streaky wipers. Top off the washer fluid, and you should be good to go.
Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your truck this winter!