Snow, ice and freezing temperatures can increase the risk of downtime for Class 8 tractors and trailers if the equipment and the fuel that powers them aren’t properly maintained. Breakdowns can result in delayed drivers, missed deliveries and poor customer service.

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More than 70% of the nation's roads sit in regions that see over 5 inches of snowfall each year. That means there's a good chance you'll encounter slippery and downright dangerous driving conditions over the next three months.

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Winter weather and the harsh driving conditions that come with it can be hard on trucks and difficult for drivers, but proper maintenance and the latest safety technology can help keep equipment and those on the road safe.

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From ice-slicked roads to whiteout conditions, winter weather brings lots of potential hazards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 17% of all vehicle crashes occur during winter weather conditions.

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As temperatures drop, states douse roads in chemicals to melt snow and ice. While the chemicals are necessary to improve safety and keep roads clear, they can ruin equipment.

“In the Northeast and Upper Midwest, it is very common to use two very corrosive chemicals, magnesium and calcium chloride,” said Mike Hasinec, vice president of maintenance for Penske Truck Leasing. “Although they are very effective, they are very detrimental to equipment because of their corrosive nature.”

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Cold temperatures, snow, ice and road debris can create challenges for Class 8 tractors and trailers during the winter months, and improperly maintained trucks run a higher risk of breakdowns. Downtime can result in missed delivery windows and poor service.

Proper pre- and post-trip inspections along with regular preventive maintenance can keep equipment running and there are certain components that often require extra care. Penske takes several steps to ensure uptime as temperatures drop, including treating fuel with winter additives to maintain vehicles’ performance and having technicians check specific components.

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Penske's fuel program is available in 42 states and can help customers manage rising fuel costs while also ensuring the quality of the fuel. Here are 12 ways Penske's fuel program is benefitting fleets:

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