Heat and Your Truck

Summer Heatthumb7

In order for drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in a safe manner they also need to understand how heat affects the operation of the CMV. Two areas that drivers must pay attention during their inspections are the engine coolant and the tires!

Engine Coolant

Approximately 7 years ago the OEM truck manufactures introduced extended life coolant (ELC) into the industry!  With each EPA change the operating temperature of the engine has increased 10 to 15 degrees.  It is estimated that 50% of all engine failures are associated with an overheat condition of the engine.

With today’s emission systems an engine running low on coolant runs the risk of damage the emission components such as the exhaust gas recirculation or EGR.

The benefit of using ELC is the fact that you can improve the engine's heat transfer rate by 12 to 13 percent over conventional anti-freeze.
 
During the pre-post trip inspection driver should:
 

  1. Make sure that the coolant level is within range of the marking on the side of the coolant reservoir.
  2. If the coolant level is low contact your Idealease service provider immediately for direction.  ELC coolant should be a red/orange color and should be free of dirt, debris, rust and other contaminants. Do NOT ELC with mixed conventional anti-freeze!
  1. If when operating a CMV a dash light comes on with an overheat warning immediately pull the unit into a safe parking place and contact your Idealease service provider for direction.  Operating the unit in an overheat situation can severely damage the engine.

Tires

During the summer season, when the ambient temperatures can get well over 100° F, and some road temperatures can reach almost 200° F, the heat problems caused by under inflation are more extreme. Tires that are run under inflated will be more prone to failure in these temperatures.

A very famous tire engineer once stated, “Heat is to tires as Kryponite is to Superman”…in other words, it’s worst enemy.

Taken all together, hot summer temperatures, under inflated tires, heavy loads, and traveling at high speeds (not that this ever happens), and you have a recipe for tire disaster…. that’s exactly why you see more alligators on the highway in the summer season.
 
What can drivers do to minimize tire related issues during the summertime months?

  1. Tire pressures need to be checked more frequently in the summer.
  2. Tire pressures need to be checked when the tire is “cold” and not after operation.  Pressures can increase during operation when “hot” by as much a 15% giving you a false reading.
  3. Inspect tires for punctures and damage during pre-post trip inspections and stops. Tire punctures tend to increase during the summer because the tread rubber becomes hotter and “softer” and acts as a magnet to nails and road debris.

Immediately report to your Idealease service provider tire conditions that need attention.