Keeping Up in Summer

Summertime maintenance important for your fleet of vehicles to keep plumbers safe and operations profitable.

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Hot weather can cause costly damage to your trucks if you’re not prepared. If you don’t have a proper truck maintenance plan set up for your fleet, then now is the time to schedule one.

A few minutes looking over these important summer maintenance tips will help you keep your drivers comfortable and cool.

Tires

Extreme heat and temperature conditions can cause your tires to blowout and reduce the gripping. Being on the road most of the time, it’s critical to check your tire pressure and tread depth at least once a month. Check your tires for everything: cracks (on your wheels as well), sidewall wear and tears, uneven tire wear (if wear is present), and anything else that could pose a threat to your tires.

Oil and Filter

Changing oil regularly will reduce wear on your engine and guard against rust and corrosion in all climates. Extremely hot and cold temperatures can speed up the thermal breakdown of oil, causing it to become less effective as a lubricant. Coordinate your oil changes with a preventive maintenance plan to avoid missing out on oil changes.

Cooling System

Overheating is the most common cause of breakdowns in summer and can slow your driver down (like in the middle of rush hour traffic). Your antifreeze is used by both your heat and air conditioning. Check your antifreeze concentration levels, and inspect the ratio to water. If it’s too “thin,” then it won’t work properly. You also want to schedule an engine washout as a good rule of thumb to get rid of radiator debris. Remember to completely flush out your radiator’s antifreeze at least once a year to prevent overheating and keep your drivers happy and comfortable.

Air-Conditioning System

It’s best to test your air conditioning early into summer to ensure your fleet is driver ready. You want to check your hose and fittings for any leaks; look for tears or punctures. Test your blower motor and listen for any inconsistent, odd sounds — it could be time to replace it. Check your filters to make sure they aren’t plugged. Checking your air filters visually is not a good way to judge if your filter is plugged. You never want to remove a filter to inspect it too many times as debris could end up getting lodged in your air intake. It’s best to have a professional inspect it for proper truck maintenance.

Vehicle Cleaning

Thoroughly clean all the winter chemicals off your trucks (dewinterize). Shafts, metals, joints and the truck frame weaken much faster with road chemicals left unwashed. Unchecked parts can lead to breakdowns and costly large repairs. Waxing is a simple truck maintenance step to protect the finish from harmful dirt and UV rays. To reduce the amount of glares, keep the windows clean inside and outside to improve visibility. 

Brakes

Brake parts are made of materials that breakdown over time from friction and hot/cold weather conditions. Forgetting to change your brake pads can be very dangerous and expensive. Prolonging this will cause your breaks to be less effective at stopping and will eventually cause damage to rotors as well. If you are experiencing a high-pitched squealing noise that is your wear indicator saying it’s time to inspect and replace your truck’s brake pads.

Batteries

Heat is a main factor in corroding batteries or battery sulfation. Corrosion buildup can cause a lower voltage from the battery over time. Using battery cleaner can help neutralize the battery acid over time. Inspect battery cables for damage, ensuring they are clean. Use a hydrometer to test battery cells for strength. Differences in reading could mean you have a weak cell. A low reading usually means it’s time to change your battery. Never guess on battery care for your truck, and reach out to a professional if you’re unsure.

Hoses and Belts

Summer is a good time to change worn belts and hoses, which is very inexpensive. They carry important fluids such as coolant and oil, as well as generate other devices such as air conditioner and power steering. Failure to change or replace can lead to more costly engine repairs, breakdowns, and late pickup and drop off deliveries. Inspect hoses visually for signs of cracks and wear. Coolant hoses degrade inside out, so you need to squeeze near the ends. A spongy versus firm feeling means that it’s time to replace your coolant hose.



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