As the temperatures begin to drop, leaves begin to fall, and the peak season begins to ramp up, ISP contractors should take a look at some helpful tips for getting step vans winter-ready. Without an operable step van, ISP contractors cannot perform an efficient and productive business, thus resulting in late deliveries, downtime, overtime pay, etc. The cycle is exhausting, so this list is aimed to ensure your ISP fleet is ready to go for the freezing temperatures!
Tip #1: Keep Your Wheels in Motion
It’s important to care for the parts that keep your wheels spinning and your business in motion… the truck tires. Be sure to check your tire pressure regularly as the temperature fluctuates during the winter months. According to foodtruckr.com, “you could lose up to 1PSI for every 10 degrees the temperature drops.” Tires should be properly inflated to ensure the truck equipment and weight is properly distributed. A tip for checking tires is to add that task to your morning routine list, as that is the coldest part of day.
Tip #2: Check the truck battery
Another basic tip is to check your truck’s battery throughout the winter months. Your truck is operating harder to keep everything operating and functional, so your battery can experience additional wear and tear during the colder months, so be mindful of that. It’s easy, and quick, to get your battery checked one of two ways:
1. Test it yourself with special equipment like a voltmeter
2. Bring your step van to any basic auto service shop for a free battery check
Tip #3: Fluids
You need to make sure your step van has the proper level of fluids. This may seem obvious, but in the midst of the winter months, it’s critical to keep the fluids filled, cleaned, and maintained to ensure the truck continues to operate smoothly.
According to foodtruckr.com, check out the list of fluids to replenish and monitor as you winterize your food truck step vans:
- Oil: Make sure your oil is changed regularly. This is especially important during the winter, as cold temperatures can thicken the oil and prevent it from circulating fully throughout the engine. When your engine isn’t lubricated properly, it will have trouble starting in the cold. Ask your mechanic what type of oil you should be using during the winter. If you live in a cold climate, you’ll typically want thinner oil that is less viscous.
- Antifreeze and Water Levels: Ask your mechanic to check the antifreeze and water levels in your radiator to make sure they are at the correct ratio to prevent the coolant from freezing. You can buy a small antifreeze tester to check the levels yourself, but you should always have an experienced mechanic recommend the initial ratio rather than trying to determine it yourself.
- Transmission & Power Steering Fluid: Finally, have your mechanic check the transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid. You don’t want to be out on the road and suffer a breakdown that could have been easily avoided with such a simple fix!
Tip #4: overall truck check
As your list for peak season grows, be sure to add the following items to consider:
- New wiper blades
Rubberized boot blades are made to specifically help prevent snow and ice buildup. Experienced tip: Do Not Buy Cheap Blades! The last thing you want your driver to be doing during peak season is changing wiper blades because one has fallen off! This is one avenue to invest in decent equipment.
- Carry MotorKote or WD-40 in Your Truck. MotorKote and WD-40 can be life savers when a seal or door has frozen shut. The MotorKote can be preventative and done quickly by adding a drop to a cloth and applying over your door seals and anything that opens or closes (and locks) to prevent them from freezing shut in the winter. Coat your wiper blades with a thin coat and let dry for a few hours then wipe off excess. This will prevent snow and ice from sticking to the blades.
WD-40 can defrost frozen locks, which can come in super handy early in the freezing mornings or when icy weather hits.
- Prevent your fuel from freezing. When the temperatures drop below freezing, be sure to treat your fuel to prevent gelling or ice build-up in filters and fuel lines. This will ensure your truck can continue making deliveries and avoid being stranded on the side of the road.
Tip #5: driver safety
Not only are we concerned about the fleet of delivery trucks being well-maintained and ready for the freezing temperatures, but it's imperative the drivers are prepared for all weather situations. ISP contractors should make an emergency kit for each step van that includes:
- Battery bank
- Charging cords
- Snacks, bottles of water
- First Aid Kit
- Gloves - winter and work gloves
- Jumper Cables
- Hot hands
- Extra socks (thick and warm)
It is better to be prepared and never have to use the emergency kit, than have a stranded driver without the bare necessities.
With the largest selection, MAG is positioned to help you find the step van that is perfect for your application - whether you're an Independent Contractor, a food truck builder, or a linen delivery purchasing manager. One of the most asked about topic, especially now, is how to winterize your step vans. Lets take a look at a few basics to ensure you winterize your food truck step vans to keep them operating smoothly and generating profit.