Pilot Flying J
Pilot Flying J has been growing its Truck Care maintenance services this past year.

Truckers: Stay ahead of the cold

Jan. 7, 2019
Pilot Flying J has been focused on its new maintenance services this past year and has some tips for truckers when weather gets extreme.

Chilly days out there this winter across America—it's the perfect time for stuff on a truck to break, and you really don't want it to. A familiar truck stop chain has been focused on its new maintenance services this past year and has some tips for truckers when the weather gets extreme.

Pilot Flying J launched Truck Care service centers and roadside assistance vehicles in 2017 to deliver truck stop-based and mobile commercial truck services. The maintenance business has been growing and reaching more professional truck drivers since, PFJ said.

Across the company's network of more than 750 North American travel centers you'll now find 21 truck service centers, with four new ones just opened in El Paso, TX; Sioux Falls, SD; Waynesville, NC; and Lake Township, OH. There are 135 Truck Care roadside assistance vehicles operating in 36 states.

Over the recent Thanksgiving week, Truck Care mobile technicians replaced 51% more tires, billed 62% more emergency labor hours, and helped 55% more customers than they did the same week in 2017.

PFJ offered these tips to help truck drivers stay safe on the road this winter: 

—Be absolutely sure to do a thorough pre-trip inspection before you leave.

—Test the truck's defroster and heater.

—Replace wiper blades if needed (winter blades are best in tough winter weather). Be sure wipers are working right and keep washer fluid topped up.

—Drain moisture from air tanks. According to PFJ, the best way to keep the truck's air brake system from freezing is to use only pure methanol alcohol in alcohol evaporators.

—Completely clean windows, windshield, and mirrors before departure. You'll begin with visibility as ideal as it can be. 

—Below 30 degrees, use a fuel supplement to prevent diesel gelling and fuel-filter icing. If a truck won't start or gain power in such temperatures, PFJ said it could be gelled fuel and/or a frozen fuel filter and suggested a fuel supplement such as Diesel 9-1-1 to free it up.

—Keeping tires correctly inflated is key for best traction and safest driving.

—Keep fuel tanks as full as possible to put extra weight over the drive tires and help boost traction. 

—In conditions such as a storm, clear snow and ice off lights when you can stop safely (especially brake, tail, and head lights). Lighting is even more vital when visibility is poor, PFJ stressed.

About the Author

Aaron Marsh

Before computerization had fully taken hold and automotive work took someone who speaks engine, Aaron grew up in Upstate New York taking cars apart and fixing and rewiring them, keeping more than a few great jalopies (classics) on the road that probably didn't deserve to be. He spent a decade inside the Beltway covering Congress and the intricacies of the health care system before a stint in local New England news, picking up awards for both pen and camera.

He wrote about you-name-it, from transportation and law and the courts to events of all kinds and telecommunications, and landed in trucking when he joined FleetOwner in July 2015. Long an editorial leader, he was a keeper of knowledge at FleetOwner ready to dive in on the technical and the topical inside and all-around trucking—and still turned a wrench or two. Or three. 

Aaron previously wrote for FleetOwner. 

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