How to Prepare Your Diesel Truck For Canadian Winters

image of semi-truck driving down a snow covered highway

It’s that time of year once again. The Vancouver heat waves are a distant memory and now it’s time for rainy days and frosted windows. As 2021 in Vancouver is set to be a snowy one, it’s time to start thinking about the health of your diesel truck. As a diesel owner, you expect your truck to be ready for when you need it most. The best way to ensure this is through a few simple winterizing truck methods. Here’s how you and your semi-truck can be proactive this winter:

1.    Test Your Batteries

How long has your battery been installed? On average, semi-truck batteries last between two to five years. Coming into colder temperatures, winter can wreak havoc on your battery. Especially following a heatwave filled summer where corrosion and fluid evaporation often take place. The transition from hot to cold temperatures has the knack to kill weak batteries. To avoid failure, have your batteries professionally tested to gage their health. If a replacement is needed, better to find out now than in the middle of the Coquihalla Highway.

2.    Check for Faulty Glow Plugs

Glow plugs are an essential part of your diesel engine as they’re responsible for heating the cylinders for fuel ignition. Even one faulty glow plug can keep your truck from starting in cold weather. While most modern diesel trucks will trigger the ‘check engine’ light if there’s an issue with the glow plugs, older vehicles may not. To check them yourself, you can use a multimeter to test their resistance levels or bring it in for a professional truck repair service. To avoid having problems in the dead of winter, it’s important to do this before the cold front hits.

3.    Use Your Block Heater

You’d be surprised how many drivers fail to utilize their block heaters. Please, don’t be one of them! This little electric heater inside your engine keeps the system warm, including the coolant and oil. In cold temperatures, plugging in your truck using the block heater takes stress off your engine and helps it run smoothly.

If you haven’t used yours in a while, it’s a good idea to get your block heater tested. You can use a multimeter to test the resistance or when you head into the shop for a tune up, your diesel mechanics can check it out for you.

4.    Change Your Fuel Filter

Diesel fuel suffers greatly in cold weather. Since the paraffin found in fuel freezes easily, it can create a waxlike substance that blocks the system and compromises your filters. Additionally, snow leads to excessive moisture; when this finds its way into the engine, it can also cause the filters to freeze.

To counteract this, isopropyl can absorb excess water and reduce the fuel’s freezing point. It’s also formulated to dissolve in diesel fuel so there’s no contamination. Treating your fuel with safe and proven additives recommended by your diesel truck professionals can protect your fuel systems against freezing and wax buildup. Have your filters checked at the start of winter to make sure they’re clean, effective, and ready-to-go.

5.    Lighten Up Your Oil

Not only are cold temperatures detrimental to your semi-truck batteries, filters, and engine, but heavy oil can thicken when below zero. By switching to a lighter, synthetic oil, your oil flow will improve immensely, minimizing the stress winter puts on your engine.

6.    Visit a Reputable, Semi-Truck Repair Shop

Winter demands a lot from your truck engine. Therefore, it’s crucial you equip your truck with the tools it needs to perform year-round. What’s the best way to guarantee your diesel truck is prepared for winter? By visiting our mechanics at Dieseltech, the go-to spot for truck repair and fleet maintenance. Our team regularly optimizes trucks of all kinds for a variety of businesses. From moving companies to long-haul trucking services, we handle all types of heavy-duty vehicles. If you need to winterize your diesel truck, reach out today to book your appointment.


Q: How often should I start my diesel truck in cold weather?
A: It’s advisable to start your diesel truck daily during cold weather to keep the battery charged and the fluids circulating.

Q: Can I use regular diesel in the winter?
A: It’s best to use winterized diesel or add anti-gel additives to your fuel to prevent gelling.

Q: What emergency items should I keep in my truck during winter?
A: Carry a winter emergency kit that includes a shovel, ice scraper, warm clothing, blankets, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, and some non-perishable food items.

Maintenance Tips for the DIY Enthusiast

– Inspect Your Tires: Check the tire pressure and tread depth. Winter tires with deeper treads provide better traction on snow and ice.
– Seal and Insulate: Ensure door seals are intact to keep the cold out and the warmth in. Use weather stripping if necessary.
– Lighting Check: Shorter days mean more reliance on your truck’s lights. Check all bulbs and replace any that are dimming or burnt out.

By following these steps and tips, you’ll ensure that your diesel truck remains a reliable companion throughout the Canadian winter. Stay warm, stay safe, and keep your diesel running smoothly with these expert winterization strategies.