Getting your vehicles winter ready

With temperatures dropping, many motorists, professional drivers and fleet operators will be thinking about the need to get vehicles winter ready.

With temperatures dropping, motorists, professional drivers and fleet operators need to get vehicles winter ready.

Batteries, tyres, lights and wipers will all be in focus, but other areas such as fuel, oil and antifreeze sometimes get overlooked. We hear from MANNOL – a German lubricant specialist – who reminds us of the importance and benefits of ensuring your vehicle fleet is prepared for the winter season.

This winter more than ever, it is vital that vehicles are performing at optimum efficiency to ensure you are not paying any more than is necessary on fuel bills. There are many products that have been developed to help vehicle operators and owners to ensure they are achieving optimum economy and reliability over the colder months and here we highlight some important considerations as you get prepared.

Specific solutions

In modern vehicles, antifreeze and coolants play a vital role and are crucial to efficient engine operation. Sophisticated engines now use a vast array of materials in their cooling systems such as silicon, copper, nylon, magnesium and aluminium. This means that different vehicles require specific types of antifreeze to function correctly and use of the wrong product can negatively impact on vehicle performance, or even, in extreme cases, cause damage to the cooling system.

An antifreeze specification recommended by the vehicle manufacturer will achieve the best outcome so, to facilitate this, suppliers have a wide range of antifreeze and coolant products suitable for all vehicles, formulated to meet manufacturer requirements and deliver excellent performance and value.

Highlighting how the product range is designed to meet very specific needs, a spokesperson for MANNOL gives the example of their Antifreeze AG13+ 4014 which is a Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT) ready-to-use advanced solution for all year-round use, that protects the cooling system down to -40°C. It has exceptional thermal stability and resistance to hard water which means that it protects for up to 5 years while a similar product, Antifreeze AG13 (-40) Hightec 4013 which is also HOAT and ready to use, provides up to 3 years protection down to -40°C.

For long life and enhanced performance requirements, the MANNOL range also includes Antifreeze AF12+ Longlife 4012 with a highly effective additive package that ensures exceptional stability and an extended service life in cooling systems of up to 250,000 km, or 500,000 km in trucks. This product would be especially recommended for engines requiring enhanced heat dissipation such as highly accelerated engines, engines with a turbocharger and cooling systems of modern commercial vehicles.

Forgetting the oil could cost you in more ways than one

Distracted by the need to review tyres, batteries etc., it is easy for drivers and vehicle owners to forget to consider engine oil when it comes to winter readiness, and this can be a major mistake.

Oil that is past its recommended change interval, or oil that is the wrong specification for a particular engine, can have a major detrimental impact on cold start performance and will also mean the engine runs far less efficiently. In some cases it can also mean engine damage.

By offering a range of oils manufactured to meet specific manufacturer requirements, with many formally approved by the vehicle makers, MANNOL again ensures that the right specification of oil is available.

These oils also have sophisticated additive packages to ensure excellent lubrication and improved combustion, while keeping internal components clean.

Using oils with these additional benefits will result in improved starting, especially at low temperatures, better fuel economy, reduced emissions and longer service life.

Reducing financial and environmental cost

With many fleet operators looking to achieve better fuel economy while, at the same time, reducing harmful emissions, MANNOL has developed a comprehensive range of engine and fuel system additives which can play a vital role in delivering these desired results.

These are simple to use products that can make a big difference to vehicle running costs and reliability while boosting vehicle performance and lowering emissions. Many also feature highly advanced ester technology, that was originally developed for aerospace applications, which can also make a dramatic impact on engine performance and efficiency.

Avoiding winter breakdowns

For those whose fleets are essential for commercial, construction, plant and agricultural activities, vehicle breakdowns are more than just a winter morning inconvenience. As temperatures drop and roads become icy, reliable brake performance and safety is more essential than ever.

To deliver the required level of consistent brake performance, whatever the conditions, MANNOL developed a special antifreeze for pneumatic brake systems based on aliphatic alcohols and anti-corrosion additives. The resultant product, Air Brake Antifreeze 9894, works to prevent the formulation of ice crystals in a pneumatic brake system and prevents corrosion. Its formulation means it actively lubricates valves and prevents rubber seals from becoming hard and brittle.

Another problem that can appear with the lower temperatures of the winter season, is congealed diesel fuel which can create starting and running problems and result in the cost and inconvenience of vehicle downtime. To combat this costly issue, MANNOL Diesel Ester De-Icer 9992 was developed to dissolve crystals formed at low temperature, meaning the fuel can be more easily pumped allowing for reliable starting.

It also contains ester additives that have a significant anti-wear and cleaning effect and is especially effective in systems with high pressure fuel pumps, extending the service life of expensive components.

The long hot days of summer are only just behind us, but colder winter days are moving in swiftly. With many products to help offset these temperatures, don’t let them catch you unprepared!