Can you believe, that after the heat we experienced this summer with temps reaching 130+ degrees or more inside the food trucks, it is almost time to winterize our food trucks? Some food trucks do not run at all after spring and summer seasons are over, their last hurrah may be Halloween events. Other trucks will always be running though, but precautions need to be taken for overnight temps that could cause the freezing of vital equipment. Here is your guide to winterizing Food Trucks and Trailers.
DEEP CLEANING NOW FOR PREVENTION
Remove all unused food supplies from the truck and wipe down all walls and table legs, refrigeration, hot holds, prep surfaces, etc. Food Trucks are sealed so that no rodents can enter. Let’s not give anything an excuse to make themselves a sandwich lol. Unplug your empty refrigeration units and leave the doors cracked to prevent odors. Now is a good time to knock out the vent hood cleaning of filters so you don’t have to do it at the beginning of season next year. Sweep and mop the floors.
TWO WAYS OF THINKING FOR THE WATERLINES and PLUMBING
THIS IS VERY COSTLY IF YOU EVER FORGET! Flush out your lines with air or simply unscrew them and drain. Flush your grey water tank well with bleach water and drain completely. Do the same with Freshwater tanks and drain the lines. Your hot water tank should be drained completely. Force air through the water pump line or take the water pump out completely to drain. Do not forget the handwashing sinks.
Another way of winterizing is to pour a jug of non-toxic RV anti-freeze in the freshwater tank and turn on all taps. This will ensure that water runs through the hot water tank, into all water lines, then down into the waste tank. Taking these steps to properly winterize your water system, will prevent cracks and the need to replace equipment when you start your next season.
TAKE OUT THE BATTERIES
Remove the truck battery and the 12V water pump battery pump if you have one and store them in a warmer, dry place. Batteries deplete in a cold environment and if the charge goes to 0, they won’t charge up again. Place your batteries on a wood block for storage. Putting your battery on the ground or cement will deplete the battery to zero quickly.
TAKE THE TIME TO CHECK FLUIDS
Don’t forget about the truck engine, get it ready to go in case summer comes in February next year. Change your oil and filters, air filters, check the windshield wiper fluid, add antifreeze, and leave a bit of gas in the truck to make your life easier in a few months. Your generators have maintenance instructions for monthly, quarterly, and yearly. You do not need to check your blinker fluid.
STORING YOUR TRUCK or TRAILER
If you have a safe place to store your generator away from the truck, store it there before you walk away from your rig for weeks at a time. We recommend a GPS system on your truck, trailer, and equipment but set your phone calander alarm if you have a rechargeable type of system or batteries. Install a functioning solar-powered light and security camera or cameras to monitor your truck. Please have a camera pointing to the license plate area of the possible vehicle that would be used for hauling your equipment away. Remember the goblins usually come after 3 am when you have probably reached your REM cycle.
YOU WILL BE FOOD TRUCKING ALL YEAR LONG
Congratulations on being a year-long food truck with a season that never ends. Your winterizing will probably consist of keeping your heaters on inside the truck and extra floor heaters for the plumbing area or making sure you are dumping your tanks and emptying your lines each night. Make sure your tires are winter-ready. Wear your thermals and wool socks layered, pocket warmers are a great add-on for sales at the window. There is nothing like experiencing the window opening and someone asking you what you have on your menu while that wind blows in, and the menu sign is right next to them. There is nothing wrong with wearing a scarf and a stocking cap at the window.
FINALLY LOCK YOUR TRUCK, WINDOWS, and any area a thief can get to. We have even been known to take the tires off the trailer and put it on jacks. Yeah! Steal a trailer with no wheels! We also left a sign on the lock that there are no wheels on the trailer and the generator is gone. Take your gas cans and electric cords out of the back of your haul truck.
If you have any helpful advice to help a fellow food trucker out, please send us the information and we will credit you for the information you provide. Have a great rest and come back to kick butt next year.