Preparing Your Equipment for Winter Weather: 5 Essential Tips You Can’t Miss

An icy windshield on a vacuum tank truck

No matter where you live in the United States, these past few weeks have been brutal as far as winter weather goes – and it’s only getting started. January and February are bound to hold some of the coldest temperatures yet, and if you aren’t prepared for it, your fleet of vacuum tank trucks could suffer. If you don’t properly winterize your equipment for winter, it will cost you both time and money to correct. As a small business owner, this can make or break your whole operation. 

Our best advice? Come prepared and do so in advance. Before this next cold front moves in, our team here at Flowmark has a few tips you should check out. Continue reading to learn more how you can ensure that your vacuum tank trucks are ready to face the cold!


1.) Don’t skip out on the antifreeze.

Whether you are prepping a vacuum truck or your family car for winter, antifreeze is a must. Depending on where you live and what kind of cold temps you will face will help you to determine how much antifreeze you need. For example, someone in northern Texas may need a lower percentage of antifreeze as opposed to someone who operates out of Minnesota or Wisconsin. Be warned: if you skip this step, you could wind up with a frozen radiator, resulting in a costly bill and a non-functional vacuum truck.

On that same note, double check all of your engine fluids this time of year. Talk to your lead mechanic about any changes that need to be made as far using a different type of motor oil or what other fluids need to be replaced. 


2.) Invest in proper tires.

Snow, sleet, and ice can all make driving conditions hazardous even within a few minutes. Keep an eye on the news and if the local meteorologist is calling for this type weather, be prepared! Make the switch to winter or snow tires beforehand. If your state allows it, keep tire chains in the toolboxes of all of your vacuum tank trucks. Be sure to also provide training in advance on how to properly equip them in various situations, including on the side of the road or while stationed safely at the shop. 

Another great tip is to make sure that you are keeping an eye on your truck’s tire pressure. Remember, cold weather can cause your tires to deflate. Check them prior to leaving the shop for the day, and then keep an eye on them throughout the day as you work. A flat tire can leave a driver stranded on the side of the road during a snowstorm and it’s safe to say that no one wants to deal with that.


3.) Look into heated valves.

Have you ever shown up to a job site just to find that your valves are frozen over? Not only was this probably very frustrating, but also left you inoperable and unable to complete your task. If you haven’t yet spent the extra money on heated valves for your vacuum tank trucks, now is the time! For those that do have them already, test and make sure that they are functioning properly. 

There are many different types and brands of heated valves to choose from. Do your research and find out which one works best for your truck and your budget. Don’t put it off, though! Frozen valves could mean that you’ve potentially lost a day’s worth of work.

A crew member doing a maintenance checklist for a fleet of vacuum tank trucks

4.) Double check your headlights.

If there is one thing that is true, inclement weather causes low visibility. Whether it be rain, snow, sleet, or ice, these conditions can decrease your visibility and be hazardous while on the road. Headlights, taillights, and blinkers can all go out without warning. Should this occur during a storm, you are putting yourself and other drivers at risk. Be prepared in advance by double checking your maintenance records. If you think a bulb may need to be replaced, go ahead and take care of it. 

In an additional note, make sure that you keep safety measures in the cab, including flashlights and road flares. Should you become stuck or stranded and your headlights aren’t working, this can be a good way to get the attention of another motorist and get help. 


5.) Test the cab heater.

Your employees are the most important and valuable asset you have. You want to make sure that they are performing their job duties in a safe environment. With these negative wind chills, the last thing you want is your employee to drive around in a truck that has no functioning cab heater. Not only is it frustrating, but it’s also extremely dangerous. Frostbite can set in in a matter of minutes if left unchecked! Test and make sure that the cab heaters on all of your vacuum trucks are working properly.

On top of that, be sure to remind your employees to dress warmly for the bitter winter days. This includes donning multiple layers of clothing, properly insulated gloves, and even beanies or caps. Footwear is also very important! Encourage them to wear warm socks inside of their work boots. As a morale tip, offering hot coffee at the shop with to-go cups certainly never hurt either!


Vacuum Tank Trucks from Flowmark

This winter, don’t let the harsh weather conditions get the best of you or your equipment. Take the time necessary to run through your checklist and ensure that everything is taken care of. This will not only save you money in the long run and keep your operations running smoothly, but it will also show your employees how much you appreciate and value their safety and wellbeing. 

If you are in search of quality, American-made equipment, then be sure to make your next purchase from Flowmark! Our machines are built to last and will be there to serve you and your needs, rain, sleet, or shine. Contact us for your free quote today!