Keep Your Isuzu Medium Duty Trucks Running Smoothly This Summer With These Tips to Beat the Heat
Summer is in full swing in the Southeast and there is no better time to ensure that your commercial truck is running smoothly. The South’s extreme heat and long drives can be hard on your commercial truck. Cracked hoses, leaky radiators, under inflated tires and dirty filters can significantly lower your fuel efficiency, or worse, lead to a roadside breakdown, endangering you and your haul. Before hitting the road, make sure you take these precautions to prevent serious damage to your medium duty and heavy duty trucks like Isuzu Medium Duty Trucks and Volvo or Mack Heavy Duty Trucks.
While these tips are essential for summer driving, they are also important for regular service and maintenance all year long.
- Windshield Wiper Replacement and Windshield Care – Probably one of the most important yet lesser thought of service steps is replacing your windshield wipers and maintaining proper windshield care. Summertime in the Southeast is notorious for sporadic, surprise thunderstorms. When the storms come, you’ll need wipers that really work. Other seasons can cause wear and tear on your wipers like cracks and tears in the rubber that can make visibility difficult or even scratch your windshield. Further steps you can take to guarantee you’ll be in the clear are: using products like Rain-X Glass Cleaner and Rain Repellent to keep droplets from drying as stains on the glass, make sure to clean the interior of your shield and mirrors with glass polish, and wiping down your new wipers when cleaning the rest of the shield to remove excess pollen and dirt. If your wipers leave streaks or noticeably stop being as effective in downpour it’s a sign that it’s time to replace them.
- Check Your Tires – Putting the miles on your medium duty trucks or heavy duty long-haul trucks pretty much guarantees that your tires will experience wear and tear frequently. Under-inflated, over-inflated, worn down or misaligned tires are extremely dangerous both to the driver and those in surrounding lanes of traffic. According to Firestone, tires lose or gain 1 PSI for every 10℉ change in temperature. Theoretically, your tires could gain 20 PSI over the course of the day if the temperature rises 20℉ — a real possibility in many parts of the South.Under-inflated tires bulge outward and puts pressure on the sidewalls of your tires, which with excessive friction from driving and summer heat will cause the tire to blow. Over-inflated tires can lead to hydroplaning in those sporadic storms mentioned above.Even if you have perfectly controlled tire pressure, you still need to double check the tread periodically on your tires. Use a penny to see whether or not your tires still have plenty of life in them. If Lincoln’s head disappears, you’re good to go.
- Change Oil and Oil Filter – Heavy driving in the summer can lead to a lot of problems, one of the most common is your engine overheating. Using the right oil is essential to prevent a multitude of problems including gear shifting issues and overheating, and can even cause engine components to warp and wear out. Old school mechanics swear by using different weighted oils from warmer and colder seasons. But according to Popular Mechanics multiviscosity oil, oil that flows better when cold, then thickens and protects better when it’s hot, or synthetic can better protect your engine in the long run, particularly in extreme abuse from towing or constant stop-and-go traffic like that found on the streets of Miami.
- Clean or Change Your Air Filter – A clogged air filter lowers fuel efficiency and can cause your engine to stop sucking in enough air to the combustion chambers. When this happens your medium duty trucks or heavy duty trucks will have an uneven gas to air ratio. This diminishes overall hauling power and you’ll experience a much rougher ride. If you do a lot of driving on dirt or gravel roads, you’ll need to replace your filter more frequently than trucks that are used strictly for highway driving. In between replacements you can clean your air filter to elongate life and stay knowledgeable on your filter’s status.
- Check Hoses and Belts – The summer heat will make your medium duty truck or heavy duty hauling truck more susceptible to overheating. If the hoses crack or the belts snap, the radiator will quickly overheat, leaving you stranded on the side of the road.To prevent this be sure to check hoses for cracks, leaks and loose connections. Hoses should be always be firm. Electrochemical degradation eats away at rubber hose material from the inside. The most affected areas of the hose are those nearest to clamps where the hose connects to the radiator or the engine, so have your service team double check those spots before a long haul.Belts can be visually checked for cracks and damage. If the belt looks overly slick or smooth you need to check to make sure the material hasn’t started separating by removing and inspecting closer. Trucks over 36,000 miles experience a much higher rate of belt failure, so if you are driving a used truck, be extra cautious of this problem during your summer drives.
- Check the Coolant and Radiator – The hoses and belts keep the radiator functioning correctly but you also need to ensure this component of your engine is set for the road, too. The hoses and pumps talked about in tip 5 as well as thermostats and fans keep the car at its optimal running temperature. But any problems with those — low coolant levels like antifreeze, cracked hoses, deteriorating belts, a radiator leak or even a loose or miss radiator cap can cause your truck to overheat and break down.Cooling systems experience a rough time during summer, almost as rough of a time as you’ll have fixing any problems that occur with your cooling system. Have your service team make sure your coolant levels are fine and have them flush your radiator at least every two years.
- Top off your fluids – While your service team is under the hood guaranteeing your radiator, belts and hoses are all in check, have them top off all of your fluids. A transmission flush, fuel line cleaning and even your windshield wiper fluid should all be considered before hitting the road to bring better gas mileage and engine performance. Antifreeze is typically associated with winter weather months but it is also responsible for regulating heat during the summer. For summer driving, coolant should be added to your radiator system as a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water.
- Check Your Brakes – Your brakes are the single most important safety feature on your truck. You can have your brake linings checked at any service shop or at a brake specialist.Your brakes need to be checked if:
- Your brake pedal becomes very soft and mushy
- Your brake pedal is very hard and resistant
- Your brake pedal rests too low or too high
- Indication or warning lights on the dashboard
- Loud and constant scraping and grinding sounds coming from the brakesWhile annoying to you and other drivers, don’t be too concerned if your brakes start squealing. This noise can be caused by something as simple as moisture on the brakes, which happens a lot in high humidity areas like the Southeast during the summer. If the squealing becomes a scraping or grinding noise take your truck in for service as soon as possible. This noise is a sign of metal-to-metal contact that can permanently damage brake parts.
- Clean Your Battery – Summer heat can speed up the chemical reaction inside a battery, causing the battery to be overcharged and dramatically shortening its lifespan. Heat also evaporates internal battery fluid causing damage to your battery. Cleaning your battery is simple. Regularly detach the battery cables and wipe off the terminals. Make sure the battery is strapped down tightly and that all connections are secure to avoid those early morning jump starts.
- Maintain Your Air Conditioning – Important for your health and that of your trucks during the summer, your truck’s air conditioning is vital for surviving the summer heat. If you notice any change in the output of cold air to your cab, double check the refrigerant. Low levels of refrigerant can be caused by a leak in the system. Modern air conditioning systems are relatively complicated and are extremely important for your comfort, so, it’s best to have a professional check out any problems.
Nextran Truck Centers has locations all over the Southeast. Before you hit the road during the hottest months of the summer, give us a call to check out your Volvo, Mack or Isuzu trucks. We sell and service hundreds of Isuzu Medium Duty Trucks and other Medium or Heavy Duty trucks including: Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Ford, Volvo, and Mack. Our locations in Georgia, Florida and Alabama including services in the greater Miami, Atlanta and Birmingham areas are happy to assist with any and all service needs you may have this summer.