For many businesses, their trucking fleet is their lifeline.
Business as you know it can come to a grinding halt without trucks being in good (and safe) working order. What’s more, bottlenecks caused by truck failure or other mechanical issues have a ripple effect throughout your business, from supply chain delays to dissatisfied customers. Although you can’t 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 combats the effects of high temperatures that can impact your truck’s performance. When your engine is prepared for the summer temperatures, you’re eliminating one more thing that can go wrong.
Here’s what you need to know about summer engine maintenance so you can “keep on trucking.”
What Does Coolant Do for Your Engine?
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 really isn’t anywhere for that heat to go under the hood. When you consider how many miles a truck travels in a day, it’s easy to see why engine overheating is such a common experience. Coolant takes away much of this heat and prevents the water in the engine from boiling. This process happens quicker in the summer because the higher temperatures are also working against the engine.
Why You Need a Summer Coolant Check
Your engine uses the coolant fluid as needed, and typically, more is used when temperatures are high. As the coolant is depleted in your vehicle, the engine becomes more susceptible to overheating.
Therefore, it is important to perform coolant inspections during the summer. Ideally, you should 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 this important task to your truck inspection checklist.
How to Conduct a Coolant Check and Protect Your Engine
You don’t 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.
If the coolant is close to the top of the reservoir, you don’t need to do anything; however, it’s a good practice to perform frequent coolant checks and to replenish your coolant as needed before it gets too low.
If your coolant reservoir is less than half full, you’ll need to refill it as soon as possible. Keep in mind that coolants are not created equal. Your truck needs a specific coolant. 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 truck will deplete its 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 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. This may cause the truck to hydroplane in wet conditions.
Battery maintenance is often part of winter truck maintenance. However, you should know that hot summer conditions can also damage the battery. Extreme heat can cause battery fluid to that parade, which compromises the internal structure of the battery. 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 will 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. However, 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 to ensure proper working order for each of your trucks.
LKQ Heavy Truck has always offered high-quality cooling options, and our Platinum HD line by Keystone is the leader 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. We can ship anywhere in the country within one to two days.
LKQ Heavy Truck is here to serve all your coolant and radiator needs. We have the best selection of radiator parts. Further, we have highly skilled and trained team members to help you keep your trucks in good working order. Contact us today to learn more.