Now that winter is ready to set in, it's time to prepare your diesel for the upcoming cold season. Winter maintenance will help keep your truck up and running when you need it most. Diesels have their own problems when the temperature drops and keeping them maintained – even the newer diesel trucks – goes a long way in ensuring that you don't have downtime.
Check and Test the Batteries
Check the date on your truck's batteries. The number is the year and the letter is the month. For example, if the date code reads C6, the battery was manufactured in March 2016. If the battery is over two years old, check the voltage. You'll need a multimeter for this. Set it for voltage then touch the red lead to the positive terminal and the black lead to the negative terminal or a good ground. With the vehicle off, the multimeter should read about 12.5 to 13 volts. Have a friend start the vehicle. If the voltage drops below 10, the battery is wearing out, and you should replace it. While the vehicle is running, the multimeter should read 13.7 to 14.7 volts. If it reads over 16 volts, the alternator is overcharging.
Belts and Hoses
Check the drive belts and the hoses – both of these components could leave you stranded or trying to make the repair in the cold. The drive belt drives the accessories: alternator, power steering, water pump, and air conditioning compressor. The belts should show no cracks or dry rot. The ribbing should be as deep as the grooves on the pulley. And, you should not be able to twist it more than 90 degrees. If you notice any one of these issues, replace the belt.
As for hoses, they should not feel mushy when the truck is hot. Don't forget to check the hose clamps. They should be tight and not rusted. You may not notice pinhole leaks when the truck is running at an idle. Pressure test the cooling system to ensure that there are no leaks that are invisible at an idle. Don't forget to check all of the hoses, including heater hoses, crankcase ventilation hoses, vacuum hoses, and hydraulic lines.
If your diesel truck uses glow plugs – and most likely does if you have a Power Stroke or Duramax engine – check them. They may seem to be working fine in the warmer weather, but you won't want them to give out during the cooler temperatures. Don't rely on the truck warning you with a check engine light – check the plugs with a test light.
Make sure that the antifreeze is at least 50 percent antifreeze and 50 percent water. If you haven't had the cooling system flushed in four to five years, now is the time to do that. You'll be sure to have fresh coolant at the proper proportions. If the engine has more water than coolant or no coolant at all, you risk cracking the block during the winter. Additionally, the coolant keeps the inside of the block and any metal lines from rusting.
Contact Bodacious Diesel
Contact us at Bodacious Diesel for an appointment to check your truck and ensure that everything is working properly for the winter, including changing the oil, adding gas treatment and other maintenance recommended for diesel engines.