For many businesses, their trucking fleet is their lifeline. Without trucks being in good (and safe) working order, business as you know it can come to a grinding halt. What’s more, bottlenecks caused by truck failure or issues can have a ripple effect throughout your business, from supply chain delays to dissatisfied customers. And while no one can predict when problems will arise, you can lower your chances of experiencing issues with proper summer engine maintenance.
Part of a summer engine maintenance routine includes ensuring your truck has an adequate level of coolant to prevent overheating. The coolant can combat the effects of sky-high temperatures that could impact your truck’s performance. When your engine is prepared for the summer sun, you’re eliminating one more thing that can (and often will) go wrong.
Here’s what you need to know about summer engine maintenance so you can keep on truckin’.
What Does Coolant Do?
Coolant is one of the most important fluids under the hood of your truck. Often referred to as simply antifreeze, coolant is designed to prevent your truck from overheating. The coolant mixture, which is usually a 50/50 concoction of water and propylene glycol, removes excess heat from under the hood to help the engine stay cool.
All trucks and cars have a coolant reservoir as part of the engine. Even on cold days, a working engine creates a lot of heat, and there isn’t really anywhere for that heat to go under the hood. When you consider how many miles a truck travels in a given day, it’s easy to see why overheating of the engine is such a common experience. Coolant takes away a lot of this heat and prevents the water in the engine from boiling. This process happens a lot quicker in the summer because the higher temperatures are also working against the engine.
In addition, coolant plays a vital role in engine maintenance. It works to prevent the metal parts from rusting and maintaining the integrity of any rubber or plastic components.
Why You Need a Summer Coolant Check
Your engine will use the coolant fluid as needed, and more is typically used when temperatures are high. As the coolant is depleted in your vehicle, the engine becomes more susceptible to overheating.
This is why it is so important to perform coolant inspections during the summer. Ideally, you will remember to check your coolant supply before temperatures get too hot. However, this is one of many maintenance details that often falls through the cracks for truck fleet owners.
If it’s not already part of your maintenance routine, make it a point to add to your truck inspection checklist.
How to Conduct a Coolant Check
You do not need a professional maintenance person to conduct a coolant check. If you know what the coolant reservoir looks like, you can simply pop the hood and perform your own visual inspection.
As long as the coolant is close to the top of the reservoir, you do not need to do anything. However, it’s a good practice to perform frequent coolant checks and replenish your coolant as needed before it gets too low.
If your coolant reservoir is less than half full, you’ll definitely want to refill it as soon as possible. You should know that not all coolants are created equally. You will want to use the coolant that’s made for your specific type of truck. If you aren’t sure about the type of coolant you need, consult with a mechanic or your fleet maintenance supervisor.
Other Ways to Keep Your Cool on the Road
In addition to maintaining a proper level of coolant, there are a few other maintenance activities you can prioritize to keep your truck cool while on the road.
For starters, look underneath your truck for any coolant puddles or drips. If you have a coolant leak, then your trucks will be depleting their reservoirs faster than normal and could end up overheating as a result. You’ll need to fix the leak as soon as possible to avoid costly problems down the road.
Another thing you can do is to regularly inspect your tires. Just like the air in our atmosphere, the air in your tires will fluctuate according to the air temperatures. When temperatures rise, your tires may have too much air, compared to a cooler day when they may not have enough. When your tires are overinflated, they make less contact with the road and could cause the truck to hydroplane in wet conditions.
Battery maintenance is often considered part of winter truck maintenance, but you should know that hot summer conditions can also damage the battery. Extreme heat can cause C batteries fluid to that parade, which compromises the internal structure of the battery. Make sure you include a battery inspection on your summer engine maintenance checklist.
When possible, park your truck fleet indoors or in the shade. This will keep your truck engine out of the direct sun and avoid putting your air conditioner into overdrive when it’s time to get moving.
These are all small activities that don’t take much time or effort, but they can each make a major impact in helping your truck survive the summer heat.
Trust LKQ Heavy Truck for Your Summer Engine Maintenance
Have you completed your summer engine maintenance yet? It’s never too late to complete your inspection and ensure proper working order for each of your trucks.
We’ve always offered high-quality cooling options, and our Platinum HD line by Keystone is the flagship in aftermarket cooling and heat transfer parts in the trucking industry. By bringing all of our heavy truck cooling options under one roof, we have products readily available at all locations and can ship anywhere in the country within one to two days.
LKQ Heavy Truck is here to serve you with all of your coolant and radiator needs. We have the best selection of radiator parts and highly skilled and trained team members to help you keep your trucks in good working order. Contact us today to learn more.