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Avoid a Winter Hangover

By on March 1, 2018
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by: Homer Hogg,  MANAGER OF TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT for TA and Petro

The Spring Solstice is on the horizon, the birds are singing and the flowers are starting to bloom. Across the U.S. and Canada, spring is arriving and not a moment too soon—for you and for your truck. It’s time to shake off the grit, the grime, the road salt and the brine solution used to help keep the roads clear during winter. Unfortunately, this gunky mix, particularly the sodium and magnesium chlorides in the brine solution, has been aggressively attacking your truck’s exposed wires and metals. Left unaddressed, you could encounter a severe winter hangover.

Careful Inspection

The first order of business is thoroughly cleaning your truck—top to bottom—to remove any remaining acidic chemicals before more damage can occur. Then simply walk around your truck and look for areas of concern. Any exposed electrical connectors or metals should be inspected very carefully. Since the brine is in a liquid state when it hits your vehicle, it typically works itself deep into any exposed areas. Most truck manufacturers position mounting plugs and connections horizontally, instead of up and down, which enables accumulated contaminants to work into the connectors. If you notice a vertical connector, now would be a great time to move it to a horizontal position, if possible.

Find Any Butt Connectors?

Locate any butt connectors. They’re not bad if sealed with the proper heat shrink. Those only wrapped with electrical tape will eventually experience damage through leaking tape seams. You should also have any exposed, improperly wrapped connectors inspected and/or replaced as soon as possible. Don’t delay! The chlorides from the salt solution are eating the wires and metals on your truck, even as you’re reading this article. Another sign that trouble is brewing is a dim light or row of lights. This could indicate that corrosion is building on the power or ground side of a circuit.

Give Your Brakes a Break

During winter, additives may have been added to your brake system to help thaw a frozen air valve or fitting. These additives can dry out o-rings and/or help move contaminants throughout your air system, resulting in a leaking or sluggish air valve. Check for air leaks by building the air system to at least 100 psi, releasing the brakes and pressing the brake pedal. Get someone to help you, so you can walk around the vehicle and listen for leaks. Watch the air gauges to help identify leaks that may not be audible. Have any leaks repaired promptly and properly. Drain the air tanks to be certain they don’t contain excess water or any contaminants. If you have more than normal moisture in your tanks, you should have your air dryer checked and serviced.

These simple tips will help you say goodbye to winter and spring into summer! Need assistance? TA Truck Service locations can help you solve any of these winter hangover problems.

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