Winter is over, which means it’s finally time to put away the chains and quit worrying about ice and snow. However, your rig can still be affected by the weather. Summer heat adds stress to mechanical components, but you can avoid costly breakdowns by planning ahead for trailer truck maintenance. Here’s how you can avoid the most common problems caused by warm weather.
Overheating is the leading cause of summer breakdowns. While we mostly think of coolant in terms of freeze protection, it also keeps water from turning into steam. Have the coolant concentration checked, and flush the cooling system at least once per year. This keeps coolant flowing as fast as possible, and prevents it from boiling over into your overflow tank.
Oil lubricates your engine, and it helps transfer heat to the cooling system. Extreme temperatures increase oil breakdown and burn off, which can lead to increased wear and overheating. Make sure you’re up to date with oil changes, and keep an eye on the dipstick.
Air conditioning systems aren’t completely sealed. Over time, refrigerant leaks from seals and hoses, reducing the system’s cooling power and eventually forcing the compressor to stop entirely. A/C maintenance and inspection should be part of your mid-year truck maintenance.
Be sure to check parts outside of the refrigerant loop. Condensers can clog with road debris, HVAC filters can clog with dust, and blower motors can burn out. If you notice any odd noises when you switch on your system, or it doesn’t performing the way it should, have it inspected by a mechanic.
Washing and Waxing
The salt may be off the roads, but it may still be on your truck. A thorough cleaning removes ice-melting chemicals and dirt from your truck’s body and frame, slowing the formation of rust and corrosion. Waxing seals the paint, protecting it from UV light, rain, and bug splatter.
Lead-acid batteries produce more power when they’re warm, but the heat also speeds up degradation. Heat alone corrodes the electrodes inside the battery, while heat and repeated discharges result in sulfation. This coats the electrodes in lead sulfide crystals, reducing the current. Have your battery load checked the next time you bring it in for service.
Hoses, Belts, Tires and Other Rubber Components
Rubber parts age faster when exposed to heat and UV light, making failure more likely in the summer. Under the hood, you’ll find hoses for A/C coolant, oil, transmission coolers, and the air system. Tires are constantly exposed to UV light, and suspension bags are exposed to heat and road spray. Brake hoses are hidden from the sun, but repeated movement from the steering and suspension can lead to failure.