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Important Winter Reminders for Diesel Drivers

October 25, 2014
By Jeffery White

Winters in Calgary can get pretty cold. While this means taking certain precautions whenever you go outdoors, it’s also important that you understand the potential threat this weather can represent to you diesel engines. Before snow starts falling, along with the temperature, read the following reminders so your engine is given the best possible chance in the weather to come.

For one thing, don’t idle your engine. This common practice is meant to give the engine time to warm up and, presumably, work better when you hit the accelerator. With diesel engines, though, this is doing absolutely nothing but waste gas.

In fact, you should avoid idling your diesel engines as much as possible when Calgary gets cold. That’s because the engine is actually going to be warmer when off, often by as much as 18 degrees. By keeping it running, you’re essentially compounding the problem you’re trying to fight.

Instead, if you want your engine to warm up to hit maximum oil-pressure, turn it on and start driving immediately. Even taking it for a few laps around the truck yard will warm the transmission, engine, suspension and differential.

Be sure your truck’s hoses are hooked up correctly too. They should either be connected to each other or to a dummy gladhand. If they’re not, you’re giving the cold weather an opportunity to freeze up your breaks. Obviously, the repercussions involved are too dangerous to risk.

Speaking of gladhands, check to ensure they are hooked up nice and tight before taking your truck out in the winter. If they’re too loose, a tight turn could be enough to send them flying. As a result, your air compressor will cycle unnecessarily.

You should also be draining your fuel water separators and air-tanks as much as daily when temperatures get really low. Otherwise, the water stands a good chance of condensing in fuel tanks and ending up in your heater/filter unit. Should that happen, your fuel would be besieged by all kinds of contaminants.

If you find there is moisture present in your truck’s airline, put a capful of brake line anti-freeze through it. Just be sure to use the emergency-only (red) side. Putting it into the blue side could cause your brakes to inadvertently lock up.

Snowfall, high winds, and slippery roads always make for adverse driving conditions. But you won’t be doing yourself any favors if you don’t take the above precautions with your diesel engines. To be on the safe side, bring your truck into a Calgary mechanic to get it looked over before winter arrives.

The information on this page may have changed since we first published it and is for informational use only and is no substitute for actual professional advice. If you’d like to establish a relationship, reach out to us and we’ll tell you how we can make it official.