Owner-Operator Almanac 2010
15 QUARTERLY ESTIMATED TAXES
They’re due for the third quarter.
18 WORLD’S LARGEST TRUCK CONVOY
This one-day celebration through several states helps raise funds for the Special Olympics. Call (202) 824-0268 or visit www.specialolympics.org.
PREP FOR WINTER
• CHAINS CHECK. If you’re running in Colorado, you’re required to have chains on board now through May. Other Western states aren’t far behind in requiring chains. Before you head into snow country, inspect chains for broken or missing links. Check each state’s transportation website for requirements.
• BATTERY. Before cold weather sets in, test battery load with battery tester. If your batteries have been in action three years or more, it might be time to replace them. Also check engine control module wiring.
• COOLANT CONCENTRATION. Use a refractometer to check coolant-water ratio – half and half is ideal except for the coldest climates, where 60 percent coolant is permissible. Too much of either can freeze and crack your cylinder block. Check to see if it’s time to drain and flush.
• OIL CHECK. Schedule oil change and drop your grade – say, from 15W-40 down to 10W-40, 10W-30 or 5W-40 synthetic, depending on your engine manufacturer’s recommendations. Thinner grades help cold starts and may save fuel.
Check your in-cab emergency provisions, especially in the event of getting snowed in: medications, first-aid kit, three gallons of water, reflective vest, flashlight with fresh batteries, battery-powered or crank radio and extra winter clothing.
With winter approaching, check gauge for normal operating temperature. Thermostats may need replacing after two to three years.
These are typically available at public health departments and certain drug store chain pharmacies, hospitals and truck stops. Lessen your risk of catching flu by washing your hands frequently, not touching eyes and mouth, avoiding smoking and getting plenty of rest and exercise.
If you run in extreme cold climates and lack this component, consider getting one.
2 ELECTION DAY
Major congressional elections are due this year. Also, local and state officials have a bearing on issues that affect trucking, such as truck parking, tolls and idling limits, so don’t make excuses for not voting. If you’re not up on your state and hometown issues, check with your state trucking association.