Summer Truck Maintenance: Prepare Your Truck For The Busy Season

The weather has turned a seasonal corner, and it’s time to think about an entirely new type of driving conditions. Here in New York, summer extremes can be as tough on your truck as harsh winter weather. And if your driving plans call for trips to other parts of the country, who knows what you’ll encounter? Extreme heat, mild temperatures – perhaps both on a single trip.

Is your truck prepared to roll comfortably along, without mishaps or breakdowns? Here are some truck driver tips that go beyond the obvious oil and filter changes and lube jobs, to ensure your summer is as productive as possible.

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Over-inflated or under-inflated tires don’t perform well. Aside from poor fuel consumption and handling, incorrectly inflated tires can literally explode if they get hot enough. Speeding and the weight of your load can overheat tires. A blown tire can easily cause an accident or collateral damage. It could injure someone. And it will certainly take you off the road.

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Easy to forget about your battery, since you won’t be worried about starting problems in the warm weather. But did you know that heat is actually harder on batteries? Excessive heat can cause a weak battery to fail. So make sure your battery’s electrolyte levels are full and the unit is fully charged. And keep your battery terminals and wire ends clean, to ensure a strong connection.

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Your truck will perform the same whether you’re comfortable or not, but you won’t enjoy your job much if you’re sweltering. Have your air conditioner checked for leaks, especially Schrader valves and hoses. Repair or replace as necessary, and recharge the system. Stay cool. Drive happy.

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Just because it’s called antifreeze doesn’t mean you don’t rely on it during the summer months, too. Double-check to be sure your coolant is in good condition, and inspect all your coolant hoses, too. Do you know how old those hoses are? You do if you purchased your truck new, but probably not if the truck was used.

So here are a couple more truck driver tips: replace all your coolant hoses, and replace the coolant. These things aren’t expensive. You’ll have peace of mind knowing the system is fresh, and as time passes, you’ll know how old your hoses are. That’s worth a lot, especially compared to the cost of a potential breakdown, towing charges or a blown engine.

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Like many of these items you should inspect as part of your pre-summer maintenance program, engine belts are often overlooked. They just keep going round and round, racking up an astounding amount of mileage with all those revolutions. And they have to flex as they’re rotating. That’s a lot of wear, yet we don’t give it much thought. Compare that to tires – you might get as much as 100,000 miles from them, but you always aim to replace them before they fail.

Replacing your engine belts is far cheaper than repairing your engine, so it’s smart to inspect all your belts for cracks or other wear indications.

Wherever your travels take you and your truck during your busy season this summer, you’ll travel more confidently and more profitably if you take the time to follow these truck driver tips for preventive maintenance.

 

 

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