Summer is coming, and with it will come hot weather and new hazards for your trucks and your drivers. While you won’t deal with icy roads and salt trucks, you may be dealing with overheating vehicles. Engines produce plenty of heat on their own, and when the temperature outside increases, the risk of overheating and overall engine breakdown is much higher. A driver who is stranded in these conditions is also at risk, as a vehicle cab will heat up quickly on the side of the road. Routine maintenance for your fleet is crucial at all times of the year, and in summer that maintenance may change a little in scope. Here are some ways that you can ensure your fleet is running at its optimal level, even when temperatures start to rise.
Test Your Air Conditioner
Driver safety requires a cool cab, especially on long trips during summer. Before summer weather hits, have the air conditioner checked in your trucks, and recharge any that need more refrigerant. Low levels of refrigerant are a common problem found at the start of summer after a winter when the system was not in use.
Maintain the Cooling System
In the summer, heat can cause the engine to malfunction, and overheated engines are one of the top causes of vehicle breakdowns in summer. Check coolant levels from time to time as part of your summertime fleet maintenance. If the coolant has not been flushed in the past 24 months, have it flushed at the start of summer to ensure that it can handle the extreme heat of the coming months.
Adjust Tire Pressure
Changes in temperature will alter the pressure in your tires, as hot air expands and takes more space than cold air. At least once per month, check the pressure in the tires on all of your fleet vehicles, and make adjustments as necessary to account for the changes in temperature.
Perform Other Regular Maintenance as Scheduled
Oil changes, filter changes and transmission fluid checks need to continue as usual, even during summer. Check the vehicle owner’s manuals to see when these important tasks are due. Typically, you will need to change the oil in your vehicles every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but be certain that you are taking into account the length of trips your drivers take in the summer. Keeping your system in good repair will limit the chance of a dangerous breakdown on a hot summer day.