Top 5 Myths About Pick-Up Truck Maintenance In Winters

Stay safe and prepared while driving your pick-up truck in winter with these essential tips. Clear snow and ice, check lights and wipers, and understand the realities of winter driving. Don't fall for common winter driving myths and take necessary precautions to stay safe and avoid insurance claims in challenging conditions.
Diesel mechanic performing truck maintenance

As winter approaches, it's important to take extra precautions for driving your pick-up truck in snowy and chilly weather. Clearing ice and snow, ensuring proper lights and wipers, and understanding the realities of winter driving are essential. Challenging conditions like poor traction, icy roads, and reduced visibility require knowledge, equipment, and protective measures. Be aware of common winter driving myths to stay safe and avoid potential insurance claims.

1. When driving in the city, you do not need winter tires

While cities may sometimes receive less snow, the phenomenon known as the lake effect can cause certain cities to experience heavier snowfall compared to surrounding areas. Moreover, when temperatures drop below 3°C, using winter tires becomes crucial as they provide enhanced traction. Winter tires offer superior grip on various surfaces such as ice, snow, slush, wet and dry pavements. Equipping your pick-up truck with winter tires ensures safer driving in any winter condition, whether in the city or on rural roads. Refusing to use winter tires can lead to getting stuck at the bottom of a hill and causing traffic congestion during snowfall. Remember, even in urban areas, it is important to prioritize the use of winter tires.

2. An all-wheel pick-up truck will make you feel safe 

Some truck manufacturers have promoted the idea that their AWD (All-Wheel Drive) technology enhances safety. However, it's important to recognize that AWD primarily benefits performance rather than safety. AWD only aids in the acceleration of a pick-up truck and does not significantly impact stopping distance or steering capabilities.

The key factor in determining traction is the grip generated by the tires of a pick-up truck. The amount of grip depends on factors such as the tire's tread design, structure, and compound. Even with the application of engine power, a tire cannot generate additional traction.

In terms of traction on slippery roads, AWD pick-up trucks do not inherently offer better performance than their 2-wheel drive counterparts with comparable tires. The main advantage of AWD technology lies in its ability to swiftly and efficiently distribute engine power to the tires with stronger traction for improved acceleration. However, a potential downside of this technology is that it can make drivers overconfident as it may mask the true slickness of the road surfaces.

3. If you begin to slide, put your pick-up truck in neutral.

Rear-wheel drive (RWD) pick-up trucks are specifically affected by this issue. In certain skidding situations, such as a rear-end skid in an AWD or front-wheel drive pick-up truck, the driver must employ acceleration to regain control. Simply putting the pick-up truck in neutral and applying throttle won't be effective.

Many individuals are unaware of the complexities involved in skid recovery, which are influenced by different drive combinations. The recovery process for a rear-wheel drive pick-up truck differs from that of an all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive pick-up truck when dealing with a rear-end skid. To gain a comprehensive understanding and master skid recovery techniques, it is recommended to seek out a winter driving school that allows practice in your pick-up truck while providing instruction on proper handling techniques.

4. Allow your pick-up truck to warm up before you drive.

Warming up a modern pick-up truck is unnecessary and only leads to increased wear, fuel waste, and time loss. Unlike older models, modern pick-up trucks are designed with precision-machined components and newer lubricants, allowing them to warm up quickly. Synthetic oils, in particular, maintain optimal flow even in colder temperatures, avoiding the thickening that occurs with standard oil. There is no need to idle for more than 15 seconds even on the coldest days before driving off.

5. You simply need two winter tires.

Some drivers of front- or rear-wheel-drive vehicles mistakenly believe that installing only two winter tires is sufficient, often placing them on the driver's wheels. However, driving a pick-up truck with just two winter tires poses significant risks. While a rear-wheel drive pick-up truck can still be driven with two winter tires on the back, braking, and steering capabilities will be greatly compromised.

Your safety on the road relies on your ability to stop and steer effectively. Similarly, front-wheel-drive pick-up truck drivers who install winter tires only on the front may assume they can easily move forward and steer. However, this creates a dangerous situation where the rear of the pick-up truck lacks adequate grip, resulting in an imbalance in handling and a higher likelihood of experiencing a rear-end skid or oversteer, ultimately leading to a loss of control.

Final words

Now that you're familiar with these 5 common myths about driving a pick-up truck in winter, you can ensure a hassle-free driving experience throughout the season. By debunking these misconceptions, you'll be able to make the most out of your pick-up truck and enjoy smooth and worry-free winter driving.

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Located on 1811 Hinckley Drive in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Patriot Diesel and Automotive is a light-duty repair shop that offers a full range of services for light-duty diesel trucks. Whether you need large-scale engine repair or basic preventive maintenance, you can rest assured knowing Patriot Diesel and Automotive has your back. Please also keep in mind that this particular location can facilitate light-duty alignments with our industry partners, but we don’t do them ourselves.

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Located on 2503 E Fox Farm Road in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Patriot Diesel Heavy-Duty is a brick-and-mortar diesel repair shop that focuses primarily on medium and heavy-duty truck repair. This location offers both mobile services and roadside assistance to heavy-duty trucks. Unlike our light-duty location, Patriot Diesel Heavy-Duty offers truck and trailer alignment services, heavy equipment repair, RV repair, and other similar services.

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