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Winterize your company vehicles

Winter poses unique challenges for company vehicles, with snow, salt, and freezing temperatures.

fleet vehicle driving on snow-covered road

To keep your company vehicles in top-notch condition during the winter months, follow these essential tips:

Snow tires

Traction is important when driving in all weather conditions. Your tires need to grip the road for braking, steering, and overall vehicle stability. Snow tires should be used in snow, sleet, and ice. Many manufacturers recommend changing all four tires to snow tires each winter. Replacing only two tires can cause unequal traction, which can be dangerous and lead to loss of control. All-season tires can be used in winter, but are not as effective as snow tires.

Premium snow tires perform better in the snow than all-season tires, which tend to stiffen in cold weather and don’t provide enough traction for snowy road conditions.

Engine oil

Be sure to use the proper oil for colder weather conditions. When the weather gets below freezing, thinner oil usually is needed. Refer to the owner’s manual or manufacturer to determine proper oil treatment for the vehicle.

Engine coolant

Before the cold weather begins, make sure you are using coolant with ethylene glycol. Using a coolant will protect your engine from corrosion and prevent overheating. Check the owner’s manual or ask a repair specialist for the proper coolant-to-water ratio for your vehicle type.

Prevent rust from road salt

Salt can cause the body and undercarriage of the vehicle to rust. Before the snow begins to fall, it is important to wash the vehicle thoroughly, wax it, and apply a wax sealant. By sealing the undercarriage, you can avoid rust and corrosion in the brake and fuel lines. A professional can do this, or you can do it yourself with products that are available at your local hardware store. Washing the vehicle regularly is the best protection against damage caused by road salt.

Frozen locks

While it’s important to have the vehicle washed and waxed regularly in the winter months, make sure the vehicle is dried completely to avoid freezing. If a lock on your car door freezes, the best way to defrost it is by using a de-icer. Warm water can be used, but this may not be an available option. Be careful not to force a frozen lock — doing so may result in a broken key. Keep tubes of de-icer in your shop or desk at work so you always have it handy in case your locks freeze.

Vehicle equipment

Make sure the heater and defroster are in good working condition before cold weather sets in. Test the windshield wipers and blades, and use cold-weather wiper fluid to help prevent the cleaner from freezing.

Vehicle emergency kit

No matter what season it is, you should always have an emergency kit in the vehicle. By winterizing the vehicle, you will be prepared for harsh weather and ensure safe travels for you and your employees.

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