You might consider winter driving a challenge, and if you have one or a fleet of used trucks, then you might be worried about them breaking down. However, summer poses its own set of risks and problems caused by extreme weather conditions and standing still in summer traffic jams.
Whether it is a sudden and unexpected hail storm or downpour, or 30C heat, the last thing you want is a breakdown in the middle of a job. Here we look at five ways you can make sure your used trucks are ready for summer, and hopefully, avoid costly downtime, towing, or repairs.
1. Check Your Tyres
Tread depth and tyre pressure should be part of your checks all year round because they affect grip and fuel efficiency. If you don’t want your used trucks sliding off the road or guzzling unneeded diesel, then you really mustn’t overlook the tyres.
During winter, the cold causes the air within the tyres to compress. This may have resulted in you adding more air to attain proper pressure. Now that the weather is warm, the air within the tyres of your second-hand trucks will have decompressed, and this can cause the pressure to be too high.
If the tyre pressure in your used trucks is too high, then the shape of the tyre becomes distorted. This distortion means your drivers have less grip and it increases wear down the centre of the tyre, which will lead to more frequent and expensive tyre changes.
Once your tyres have the correct pressure, keep an eye on them because they will lose roughly one psi per month, and underinflated tyres are the primary cause of dangerous blowouts.
2. Monitor Fluid Levels
Checking and changing the fluids in your vehicle is of vital importance. It includes the obvious oil and wind shield washer fluid. However, less apparent fluids such as engine coolant and transmission fluid should not be overlooked.
The levels need to be maintained to avoid problems caused by prolonged running hours on hot days. Fluids such as coolants degrade, so it is a good idea to drain and replace them regularly as the miles clock up on your used trucks. If you uncover low fluid levels, it is worth checking the condition of the hoses, or your fluid top-up will be in vain, and your used truck will, in the case of coolants, continue to overheat.
3. Check AC Units
One area that often slips the mind when buying or using used trucks is the cab’s air conditioning. However, this is crucial for driver comfort during the summer months. The AC unit uses a refrigerant to create a steady stream of cold air, but this will eventually become depleted, either naturally or by leaking through a hole caused by damage or component/metal degradation. Your cab should be cool in just a few minutes on the road, and if it isn’t, you know your AC needs attention.
When your mechanic is conducting summer truck maintenance, ask them to check and refill the refrigerant in the AC compressor. If you have air, but it isn’t particularly cold, then a loss of refrigerant is the likely culprit. Your mechanic can introduce a fluorescent dye when priming the AC system, which will identify the location of a hole, should one be present.
4. Get Your Battery Checked
If your battery doesn’t start your vehicle at your site, business, or during the working day, then this is annoying to you, your drivers, and potentially your customers. Although flat batteries are most often associated with cold winter mornings, hot weather can be just as damaging to the battery. So, you can avoid a real headache by checking the battery is fully charged and that the connectors are not corroded and are tight and secure.
5. Update Your Emergency Kit
Entering winter, you might have put together an emergency kit, just in case. Summer should be no different, although the items in the emergency kit may be different. If you were to break down during the summer, then consider what would be invaluable. Plenty of water to drink on a hot day would be vital, along with cash, a mobile phone charger, and a change of clothes, should they become drenched in sweat. Food, a flashlight, sunscreen, jumper leads, a well-equipped toolbox, knife, and flares could all come in handy.
Your general emergency kit should be complemented by a medical kit containing bandages, plasters, scissors, etc.