Winter is Coming: Letter from Aim’s Director of Operations
Posted on September 11th, 2015
Dear Valued Customer:
Last winter was the second year in a row where we had an extremely difficult winter and it had a tremendous impact on all of us. Unfortunately, this year’s forecast is for a third harsh winter. So, as the weather turns cold, we all need to make sure we are prepared. To ensure you have a safe winter driving experience, with as few cold weather related problems as possible, Aim would like to offer the following suggestions for your consideration and implementation:
Most Aim equipment has electric engine heaters. It is the drivers’ responsibility to plug in the unit in at the end of each trip if the temperature is forecasted to go below 15 degrees. It is imperative the units be plugged in at the end of the trip; when, the engine is still warm. The engine block heater in not designed to warm up a cold engine; it is designed to keep a warm engine warm through the night until it is re-started the next day. In order for this to work, the driver needs an accessible exterior plug that is hot, properly grounded and in good repair as well as an extension cord that is properly rated, long enough and in good condition. If your facility doesn’t have exterior service for the driver to plug in his unit and the temperature is fifteen or below it is recommended that the unit be placed in a secure location, locked and the unit should be set to idle over-night. This will ensure a successful dispatch the following morning.
Beginning November 1st, Aim will use an additive blend used in our fuel at our locations. We recommend that each of you that have your own fuel tanks adopt the same procedure. Please buy quality, pure diesel fuel not a bio-diesel mixture. When you start to use blended fuels at the beginning of the season, we recommend the driver not fuel until he gets to a 1/8th of a tank; then, he can buy additive specific for treating ULSD fuel and treat the existing fuel; before, adding the blended/treated fuel. This is important because, if, both the fuel remaining in the tank and the new fuel purchased are not treated to -20 degrees the mixture will not obtain the required -20 degree point.
For those that buy some or all of your fuel from outside fuel vendors it is crucial you purchase only ULSD fuel, not bio-diesel that has been treated with additives. If your driver is unsure as to the condition of the fuel, we recommend purchasing fuel additive specifically formulated to treat ULSD fuel and adding it into the tank prior to fueling to maximize the mixing process. Bio-diesel may be available at Truck Stops; but, it is our recommendation you avoid using it during the winter months. The additives that we are purchasing are not formulated for bio-diesel and may result in freeze-ups.
Another common winter problem is airline freeze-ups. To avoid this problem, every driver needs to drain the unit’s air tanks at the end of each trip by pulling the drain cords on each drain valve. Water in the air lines will result in air brake freeze ups.
We encourage all drivers to stock their units with winter related supplies in case of a breakdown or a “no start”. These items are water, food, blankets, sleeping bags, warm coat, gloves, boots, hat, cell phone or CB radio, and anything else they deem appropriate. Your drivers’ well-being and safety is our primary concern.
In addition, to the practical items listed above, we would like to remind you and your driver’s that today’s engines have very sensitive sensors for the engine and emission’s systems. As a result, it is extremely important that the driver contact us immediately, should a check engine light or emission light come on. Typically, either issue will get progressively worse, until, the unit de-rates or shuts down. The sooner we react the better the results; so, please, have your driver contact us immediately, should either come on.
And finally, Aim is available to make a winter operation presentation to your drivers. If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please call your local Aim representative. We at Aim want to do anything and everything possible to make this winter as safe and trouble free as possible.
Please remember, only through working together can we avoid problems, delays and impact to your driver and ultimately your customers. The success of our efforts is largely dependent on the actions of your driver; working in concert with your management and Aim. We all desire a problem free winter. Working together, we can all do our part to make it happen. So, remember the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” Let’s prevent instead of dealing with the consequences of a lack of prevention driven.