Summer Maintenance Tips
Weather can cause costly damage to your trucks if you’re not prepared. Taking a few minutes to look over these important summer maintenance tips will help you save money and keep your drivers comfortable and cool this upcoming season. If you don’t have a proper truck maintenance plan set up, now is the perfect time to schedule one with our service department.
Extreme heat and temperature conditions can cause tires to reduce their gripping capacity and even blowout. If you’re a driver moving between state lines (and climates), it’s critical to check your tire pressure and tread depth at least once a month. Check your tires for everything! Look for cracks (on your wheels as well), sidewall wear and tear, uneven tire wear (if wear is present), and anything else that could pose a threat to your tires.
Oil & Filter
Changing oil regularly will reduce wear on your engine and guard against rust and corrosion in all climates. Extremely hot and cold temperatures can speed up the thermal breakdown of oil, causing it to become less effective as a lubricant. Coordinate your oil changes with a preventative maintenance plan to avoid missing out (or forgetting) an oil change. We can work with you, to look at your mileage and expected driver routes, to build a custom truck maintenance plan that works for your rig.
Overheating is the most common cause of breakdowns in the summer (like in the middle of rush hour traffic) and can slow your drivers down. Antifreeze is used by both your heat and A/C. Check your antifreeze concentration levels and inspect the ratio to water. If it’s too “thin” then it won’t work properly. You also want to schedule an engine wash out, as a good rule of thumb, to get rid of radiator debris. Remember to completely flush out your radiator’s antifreeze at least once a year to prevent overheating and keep your drivers happy and comfortable.
Air Conditioning System
We recommend testing your A/C early into the summer season to ensure your fleet is driver ready. Hoses and fittings should be inspected for leaks, tears, or punctures. The blower motor should be tested and listen to for any inconsistent, odd sounds – it could be time to replace it. Air filters should also be checked to ensure they aren't plugged but we don't recommend just a visually inspection. You never want to remove a filter multiple times to inspect it as debris could end up getting lodged in your air intake. It’s best to have a professional inspect it, like our service team at NJTC, for proper truck maintenance.
Thoroughly clean all the winter chemicals off your trucks (de-winterize). Shafts, metals, joints, and the truck frame weaken much faster with road chemicals left unwashed. Unchecked parts can lead to breakdowns and costly large repairs. Waxing is a simple truck maintenance step to protect the paint finish from harmful dirt and UV rays. To reduce the amount of sun glare and improve overall visibility, keep the windows clean inside and outside. There's an added benefit to a clean rig; it is scientifically proven that a clean truck can increase fuel economy due to the decrease of wind resistance caused by dirt and other contaminants!
Brakes parts are made of materials that break down over time from friction as well as hot and cold weather conditions. Forgetting or attempting to prolong the life of these pads can be very dangerous and expensive. Your brakes will be less effective at stopping and will eventually cause damage to the rotors as well. Brakes related issues are also the #1 reason trucks are put Out Of Service during roadside inspections. If you are experiencing a high pitched squealing noise, that is your wear indicator saying it is time to inspect and replace your truck’s brake pads.
Heat is a main factor in corroding batteries or battery sulfation. Buildup of corrosion can cause a lower voltage from the battery over time. Using battery cleaner can help neutralize the battery acid over time. Inspect battery cables for damage, ensuring they are clean. Use a hydrometer to test battery cells for strength. Differences in readings could be an indicator of a weak cell. A low reading usually means it’s time to change your battery. Never guess on battery care for your truck and feel free to reach out to our service department team if you’re unsure. We're here to help.
Hoses & Belts
Belts and hoses carry important fluids such as coolant and oil, in addition to generating other devices including the A/C and power steering. Failure to change or replace these parts can lead to more costly engine repairs, not to mention late pickup and drop off deliveries due to breakdowns. Inspect hoses visually for signs of cracks and wear. Coolant hoses degrade inside out, so you need to squeeze near the ends. A spongy versus firm feeling means that it’s time to replace your coolant hoses. Replacing hoses and belts is very inexpensive and summer is the perfect time to do it!
Our Service Department Team is here to serve YOU 6 days a week! Feel free to call us to discuss any repair issues and to schedule a maintenance plan. 1-800-NJ-TRUCK