Winter temperatures and a chilly environment can dramatically influence those who work in the elements. Northern Vac Services understands how winter can suddenly arrive in Fort St. John whether people are ready or not! Our industrial transport team takes working outside in freezing, icy and unpredictable conditions very seriously. We are on call 24/7, 365; which requires specific elements of preparation for both crew and equipment. Our fall maintenance schedule pays attention to detail in order to ensure that every truck in our fleet is ready to go. From greasing the boom and ensuring all mechanical components are well lubricated to monitoring the engine, tires and on board safety gear, Northern Vac is prepared for all that comes with winter weather!
Fall Maintenance Battery Considerations
Vehicles require a healthy battery in order to get from point A to point B. Colder weather and age can be detrimental culprits to your entire operation. It is essential to head into the harsh season without any battery issues. Disconnect all batteries and inspect them. Clean and check all cables and connectors. Load test each unit to determine how much life is left. If your batteries are over three years old or if a couple of them don’t test successfully, consider swapping out batteries for the entire fleet if you have been in the habit of replacing them simultaneously to streamline your maintenance schedule.
Antifreeze, Coolant & Oil Winter Maintenance Tips
Adequate antifreeze levels are vital in frigid temperatures. Inadequate levels can lead to the coolant system becoming damaged due to freezing or gelling. This is an expensive and avoidable repair that can be addressed by ensuring the coolant levels are checked as part of your daily maintenance. Have your antifreeze concentration professionally checked to determine how low your freeze protection range is. Many northern communities aim for a level of -37 degrees C or colder. Having a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and coolant should help you get through any cold snaps that may occur. Visually inspect all hoses associated with coolant and antifreeze to ensure there are no punctures. Switching your oil during your fall oil change to handle the upcoming frigid temperatures will help keep your truck starting properly on even the coldest days. Check your block heater and consider adding a space heater in your cab overnight to help everything fire up smoothly and create a warmer atmosphere.
Oil filters and air filters have a lifespan that needs to be monitored, especially if you spend copious amounts of time in the backcountry or on dirt and gravel roads. The Air Dry Filter is vital for colder environments as it removes moisture which can bring your machine to a grinding halt and leave crew members stranded.
Sending your team out in the dark requires extensive safety training to ensure everyone arrives home safe at the end of the day. Personal items including gloves, goggles, high-visibility gear, steel toe boots, snow gear, snow boots, wool socks, vests, hardhat, toques and a blanket, along with food and water are essential. Does your team have everything they need to survive on the side of the road for who knows how long in the event of a breakdown? Stocking work trucks with power bars, nuts, crackers and chocolate and water are great choices to keep nutrition levels suffice until help comes. Adding a tin “survival candle” into each glove box with waterproof matches and a lighter can help those stuck in the cab enjoy a tremendous amount of heat while they wait for help or need to regroup prior to attempting another fix. Simply having the capacity to warm up one’s hands in between trying to change an icy tire or adding tire chains can save the day. Now is a great time to inventory your fleet to determine if every vehicle is self-sustainable for extended periods of time in the event of an emergency or breakdown.
Tires undergo a lot of strife when traversing difficult terrain. Punctures can occur on job sites and flat tires can wreak havoc on your schedule and your plans. Check the tread and lifespan left on your tires and upgrade where necessary. Ensure you have proper tire chains, a tire jack, spares and all necessary equipment on board. Relying on a tow in the middle of nowhere isn’t ideal.
Exhaust System Components
Your truck needs to maintain heat and pressure in the right places in order to thrive. Look for punctured or disconnected lines, damaged hoses, clamps, gaskets or piping that is in need of repair. Keep an updated maintenance log to remind you of which components are up against replacement and nearing the end of their lifespan.
Northern Vac Services Fort St. John’s Hydrovac & Industrial Transport Solutions
We know winter can be unpredictable and long. Our team takes the necessary planning and maintenance considerations into account every season to ensure our fleet can handle the dirtiest and toughest applications. Call Northern Vac Services today and feel secure knowing that we will be on site and ready to go when you need us!