Summer is heating up, and the roadways are starting to exhibit seasonal traffic patterns, including the higher concentration of vehicles that lasts from June through August. For over-the-road truckers that means more attention to the behavior of drivers as well as soaring temperatures on and off the road. The hot summer temps can get to anybody, irritating and distracting many including OTR drivers, who spend much of their day in the cab of a truck. They routinely drive in temperatures that many drivers will never know, and extreme temps are often exacerbated in the cab of a truck.
Based on a study conducted by the Department of Earth and Climate Sciences at San Francisco State University, the temperature inside an enclosed vehicle can rise 29 degrees in just 20 minutes—and 43 degrees in 60 minutes.
Preparing a vehicle for summer is just as important as preparing a vehicle for winter. Here are five tips that can keep over-the-road truckers safe during the hottest months of the summer.
These very important items are often overlooked during the summer because it’s not the season of cold weather starting problems. However, hot weather is more damaging to your batteries than cold weather, and weak batteries can fail in excessive heat. It is important to make sure the batteries are accepting a full charge and the electrolyte levels are full. Clean your battery terminals and wire ends while you are checking your batteries.
2. Air Conditioner
Check your air conditioner for proper operation and if necessary, have the system pressure tested to check for leaks. Fix any items that are leaking such as Schrader valves or cracked hoses, and recharge your system as needed. You’ll be happy you did when the thermometer hits the 90s and above.
3. Windshield Wipers and Window Washer Fluid
Sometimes these items can be overlooked, or you may decide to put them off until fall because we are entering good weather driving. Windshield wipers in good condition and plenty of washer fluid are important in summer for when you pass through that swarm of flying insects in your path. Not enough fluid, or wipers that smear, will decrease your visibility, which is a safety hazard.
4. Coolant and Coolant Hoses
The coolant system is one of the most overlooked systems on a diesel engine. However, it is critical to ensure your antifreeze is in good condition and ready to handle the demands of summer driving. In addition to the actual antifreeze, it is important to inspect all coolant hoses. If you bought a used truck, you really don’t know the age or condition of your coolant hoses. Replace all coolant hoses, flush the system, and replace the coolant to ensure maximum performance and safety.
5. Engine Belts
Inspect all belts and replace any that show signs of wear such as cracks on the inside surface. You might not think about your belts very often, but without them your day is over. I find it interesting to think about how many miles the belts have traveled. To calculate this, measure the diameter of the main pulley connected to your crankshaft, which drives your belt, and pick an average engine RPM.
Staying cool physically and preparing the truck for summer are critical for OTR truck drivers, but the expense can be high so cash flow is critical. OTR truckers have relied on partners such as WEX and Fleet One Factoring to provide both necessary resources and a process that improves efficiencies.
Regardless of the size or complexity of the OTR business, WEX will help to reduce manual processes and enhance control and visibility in payments to the driver and the vendor. That means that the resources are there when they are needed.
WEX over-the-road (OTR) fuel cards and factoring services help freight carriers improve efficiency, cut costs, and get paid fast. Over-the-road fleets gain greater transparency and visibility into purchasing and volume performance with powerful analytics tools and mobile apps—all while improving cash flow. Benefits include:
- Deep industry expertise to simplify OTR expenses
- Better control of purchasing with powerful data analytics
- WEX fuel cards are accepted at thousands of truck-stop locations across North America
Additionally, with rates as low as 1%, Fleet One Factoring helps the company and the driver to get paid faster while protecting the fleet from lost revenue. OTR fleet fuel cards are also a way to control costs and provide a valuable resource when cash flow is limited. A Fleet One EDGE card provides access to the largest fuel discount network available, with average savings of 12 cents per gallon*.
- Largest nationwide fuel discount network, with more than 3,600 sites
- No fuel transaction fees in the Fleet One EDGE network**
- Universal acceptance at more than 8,000 truck stops nationwide
- Free fuel card funding with Fleet One Factoring
While summer may just be heating up, OTR truckers can be confident knowing that their vehicles are prepared and the resources they need on the road will be ample and accessible.