As fall approaches, it’s time to start planning for all that comes with it: cooler temperatures, shorter daylight hours, and questionable weather conditions. With all the changes, being prepared is the surest way to keep your truck or fleet on the road and moving forward. Use Wheelco’s fall truck maintenance checklist to make sure you’re ready for the season!
Exterior Checklist Items
The top factors to look for when checking your tires include: pressure, tread, and sidewalls. All of these will not only keep you or your drivers safe—they’ll ensure you get the most out of your tires and your miles.
Pressure: Your recommended tire pressure can be found in your owner’s manual, or on a sticker on the driver’s side door. Using a calibrated gauge to measure your tire pressure precisely—not just by using a “tire thumper”—is the best way to make sure the tires are ready for long hauls.
- Tread: Check your tire surface for smooth or uneven spots. These can be signs of misalignment, incorrect pressure, or aggressive driving—and all of these can be reasons for tire replacement.
- Sidewalls: Your tires’ sidewalls should be free of cuts and bulges. These markings indicate contact with potholes, curbs, and other objects, and can be reason to replace tires.
Protect your tires against wetter road conditions by checking your tires this month. Ensuring the safety of your tires can also help avoid blowouts and keep your truck safely on the road.
As foggy mornings become rainy days (and nights), make sure that all lights are strong enough to show you or your drivers the way: headlights, taillights, parking and brake lights, fog lights, and emergency flashers. Test each type separately to see whether any bulbs or lenses need replacing.
Make sure your bulbs are functioning correctly by parking your vehicle on a flat surface, roughly five feet from a wall. Turn lights on and look for bright, white circles of light. Yellow and/or dim light could mean it’s time to replace your bulbs.
Lenses should be clear and smooth: hazy or cloudy lenses can limit visibility, even with new bulbs. If this is a problem in your truck, consider using a headlight lens restorer kit.
3. Wiper blades
Wiper blades should typically be replaced every six months, and maintained in between. Blades should always clear your windshield completely—and cracked or worn wiper blades won’t. Test the blades’ flexibility, looking for any points that are cracked or hard, and replace them as needed.
4. Fuel treatment
Toward the end of fall, consider treating your fuel with products like Total Power of Fuel Power. This will give your truck time to adjust and remove water from your fuel tanks before even colder weather hits. Check out our online ordering options for more products, or ask us about recommendations!
Interior Checklist Items
Properly performing brakes can save you or your drivers from an accident, but they often get overlooked. To make sure yours are in order, check the parking, and hydraulic brakes, as well as the hydraulic brake reserve.
Parking brake: With the engine running, apply only the parking brake, shift into a lower gear, and gently pull against the brake to ensure it will hold the vehicle.
- Hydraulic brake: Apply pressure to the service brake pedal (while the engine is running) and hold for five seconds. During this time, the brake pedal should not move.
- Hydraulic brake reserve: While the truck is off, apply pressure to the brake pedal and listen for the sound of the reserve system’s electric motor. The warning buzzer (and light) should be off.
If you notice anything unnatural during these tests, or if you’d like our assistance, just let us know!
2. Heater & Defroster
During the fall, temperatures change from cool mornings to humid afternoons, and then cool down again. Your truck’s heater and defroster should be able to keep the windshields and windows from fogging (or freezing) up.
Test each component by letting your truck run for a few minutes, and then turning them on separately. If airflow is low or doesn’t feel warm, repairs may be necessary—and should be checked before the issue get worse.
3. Safety equipment
We know you’re a safe driver and never have to worry about using your fire extinguisher, road flares, triangles, and other safety equipment—but that’s all the more reason to check them. Your truck’s safety equipment is as important as it is forgettable, since lack of use leads to the assumption that everything is still working properly.
However, having the wrong or dysfunctional safety equipment can get you into trouble—both on the road and with the D.O.T. Check your kit for compliance and functionality before getting on the road this fall.
Under the Hood
Before cooler weather hits, your battery should be fully charged and operational—lower temperatures can lead to issues with starting your truck if the battery is not prepared. Look for any signs of corrosion or loose connections, as these are signs that your battery needs attention.
2. Fluid levels
Even though they’re simple to fix, don’t overlook your truck’s fluid levels. Fluids that are at or close to the minimum safety point should be refilled before you or your drivers get on the road. Check levels for washer, transmission, brake, and power steering fluids and refill as needed. Full levels now can save you from running out down the road—when you may not have a chance to refill them.
You should also be aware of your antifreeze temperature rating. Most can withstand temperatures up to -34 degrees Fahrenheit, but check your brand to be sure. Or ask one of our specialists, and we’ll help you find it!
3. Belts & Hoses
All of your truck’s belts and hoses should be free of wear, like cracks and frays. You can often spot these issues just by looking or feeling for them—anything that seems spongy, brittle, or loose needs to be repaired. These small problems can lead to big issues with cooler weather: cracks can get deeper, and frayed belts can eventually snap. Check under the hood thoroughly to make sure yours are in working order.
4. Air dryer & tanks
Your truck’s air dryer keeps everything running smoothly. Efficiency can take a hit from fall’s cooler temperatures and adverse road conditions, but there are steps you can take to lessen these hits’ impact.
Start by checking and servicing your air dryer. If your truck doesn’t have one, you can add airline antifreeze to the wet tank—or schedule an appointment at one of our multiple locations to have a dryer installed. Then, drain the air tanks to make sure they’re ready for the increased activity during cooler months.
Ready to hit the road?
Fall driving conditions, though less severe than winter, still require you and your drivers to be prepared. Use this checklist to make sure your truck or fleet is ready for the changing road and weather conditions—and let our experts know if you have anything that needs fixing! Wheelco offers the knowledge and products to keep your trucks safely on the road.