Protect Your Truck and Yourself from Extreme Winter Conditions

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February 9, 2017 by Minuteman Trucks

Protecting Your Trucksnow-sign

In the wintertime, the task of properly maintaining your vehicle becomes harder. This winter remember to Be Safe, Be Diligent, Be Responsible, and Be Proactive. Keep your truck in working order for the entire season without a hitch.

  • Be Safe: Remove all snow from cab steps and grab bars to prevent a slip or fall. Always remember to use the 3-Point Method of entering/exiting your truck.
  • Be Diligent: Start your trip off right! Conduct your initial start up process as follows:
    1. Complete pre-trip inspection and unplug block heater
    2. Turn ignition to on and wait until dash lights stop cycling
    3. Start engine and let it run until operating temperature increases
  • Be Responsible: Take time to fully address all necessary precautions to protect your truck.
    • Add diesel supplement to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel when temperatures drop below 32° F.
    • If your truck has an engine block heater, plug it in when temperatures drop below 32° F. Trucks that are not in use should still be turned on and run daily to bring the vehicle up to normal operating temperatures.
    • If your truck is equipped with air brakes, be sure to purge the air tanks daily. If the unit has an air drier, bringing the PSI to 120 will automatically purge the system.
    • If driving through snow/slush/ice/rain, lightly apply the brakes while still moving before parking your truck to dry off your brake shoes, drums, rotors and pads to prevent your brakes from freezing while parked.
  • Be Proactive: If heavy snow is in the forecast, avoid parking your truck in an outside dock or by a building overhang. Drifting snow off a building can build on top of a truck or trailer, possibly causing the roof to collapse.

Protect Yourself: Combating Hypothermia and Frostbite

Dropping temperatures in the winter are responsible for more than just runny noses and cases of the flu; they also cause hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature falls far below normal. Early to mild symptoms include: shivering, slurred speech, mental slowness, lethargy, muscular stiffness, and clumsiness. Symptoms of severe hypothermia include: mental confusion, disorientation, coma, stiff muscles, shallow breathing, weak pulse and a drop in blood pressure. If any of these symptoms are detected seek immediate medical help. Do not put yourself at risk; be sure to avoid hypothermia:

  • Wear several layers of warm, loose clothing. Items that wick moisture away from the body are best.
  • Wear gloves and knit caps to keep in the heat.
  • Change clothing if they get wet.
  • Pack an emergency kit with extra clothes, a blanket and snacks just in case of getting stranded.
  • Fuel up with hot, nutritious meals and stay hydrated.
  • Avoid the consumption of alcohol.
  • Make sure you have a working cell phone in case of a breakdown.


Frostbite is another potential danger many drivers may face, especially when the wind chill factor is very low. Symptoms include changes in skin appearance which can range from swelling, redness, bluish/whitish coloring, numbness or rigidity. Untreated, frostbite can lead to the loss of affected fingers, toes, or other affected areas. Prevent frostbite by protecting your skin from direct exposure to the cold air and intense low temperatures. Also, many prescription medications cause increased sensitivity to the cold; be sure to speak with your pharmacist/physician and see if your medication is among them.

This safety bulletin is brought to you by Idealease


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