Summer Forecast 2023 – Extreme Heat & Humidity
Heat and your Truck
For drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safely, they also need to understand how heat affects the operation of the CMV. Two areas that drivers must pay attention to during their inspections are the engine coolant and the tires!
Approximately eight years ago, the OEM truck manufacturers introduced extended life coolant (ELC) into the industry! With each EPA change, the engine’s operating temperature has increased by 10 to 15 degrees. It is estimated that 50% of all engine failures are associated with an overheating engine condition.
With today’s emission systems, an engine running low on coolant risks damaging the emission components such as exhaust gas recirculation or EGR.
The benefit of using ELC is that you can improve the engine’s heat transfer rate by 12 to 13 percent over conventional anti-freeze.
Diesel Exhaust Fluid DEF
There is a quality level sensor in the DEF tank that can be affected by extreme heat. You should keep the DEF tank as full as possible to keep the sensor cool in extreme heat conditions.
During the pre-post trip inspection drivers should:
- Make sure that the coolant level is within range of the marking on the side of the coolant reservoir.
- If the coolant level is low, contact your Idealease service provider immediately for direction. ELC coolant should be red/orange and free of dirt, debris, rust, and other contaminants. Do NOT ELC with mixed conventional anti-freeze!
- If a dash light comes on with an overheating warning when operating a CMV, immediately pull the unit into a safe parking place and contact your Idealease service provider for directions. Operating the unit in an overheating situation can severely damage the engine.
During the summer, when the ambient temperatures can get well over 100° F, and some road temperatures can reach almost 200° F, the heat problems caused by underinflation are more extreme. Tires that run under-inflated will be more prone to failure in these temperatures. A famous tire engineer once stated, “Heat is to tires as Kryptonite is to Superman”… in other words, it’s the 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 precisely 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?
- Tire pressures need to be checked more frequently in the summer.
- Tire pressures must be checked when the tire is “cold” and not after operation. Pressures can increase during operation when “hot” by as much as 15% giving you a false reading.
- 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 is a magnet for nails and road debris.
- Immediately report tire conditions that need attention to your Idealease service provider.