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.
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.
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.
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.
Having the right tires and enough tread depth to support your vehicle will help you reduce fuel and maintenance costs and help your drivers avoid accidents. Check to make sure the tires on your vehicles are properly rated for the job. Also, measure how much tread depth you have and check for uneven wear. If you have a concern, address it now as a preventive measure.
Engine air filters stop dust, bugs, pollen and other debris from getting into the system. After a while, they become clogged. The engine will work harder to compensate, leading to increased wear and higher fuel consumption. Most filters last about 12,000 to 15,000 miles, depending on the vehicle and environment. Summer is a great opportunity for your annual change.
Wiper blades are another component that makes sense to replace annually. They are only made to last six to 12 months from the start, and a winter season full of snow, wind, rain and salt usually finishes them off. Fortunately, these are some of the most affordable consumable vehicle components, and they’re easy to replace.
Fleet vehicles put in a lot of mileage, and some drivers can be harder on trucks than others. As a result, fleet vehicles’ brakes can wear faster than the national average, creating the potential for safety issues on the road. Have a professional inspect your brakes before the summer season to make sure your pads will last until your next recommended brake service six months down the road.
Car and truck batteries will generally last between two and five years. They can lose voltage even sooner if your vehicles put on a lot of miles. If the battery dies, your drivers will be stranded and need a jump, tow or roadside assistance. Testing the battery, checking connections and cleaning any dirt, grease and corrosion will help improve current flow.
Yes, oil changes happen more than once per year, but if you can get yours on a regular schedule, you will be much better off for it. Even a fast oil change represents downtime. Building a routine that has services completed outside your normal operating hours will help you get the maximum value from your assets.
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. Many services are based on recommended mileage. 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.
Going into the hottest part of the year with your fleet in peak condition will provide you and your drivers with added confidence in your vehicles and peace of mind on the road. You will enjoy many benefits that you can measure based on how productive, efficient and profitable you become.
Some of the top advantages you stand to gain by performing dedicated summer fleet maintenance include:
One way to ensure you are not overlooking crucial fleet maintenance is to make it automatic. Track Your Truck offers fleet management software that will send maintenance alerts when your vehicles are nearing an important maintenance check, so you will never forget to change the oil or check the tire pressure again. Contact Track Your Truck today to learn more about our easy-to-use fleet tracking system, and let us demonstrate how our software can make your maintenance duties easier.