Now the seasons are changing, it’s time to get your fleet ready for warmer weather. We’ve collected some essential tips for keeping your vehicles at peak performance during high temperatures.
Coolant and oil
Keep an eye on coolant and oil levels during hot weather, particularly if your drivers are spending extra time stuck in holiday traffic on a hot motorway.
Planned summer maintenance should include regular checks for both fluids. Keep plenty of the correct coolant in stock, and ensure that drivers and mechanics are using the right ratio of coolant to water to prevent the cooling system from boiling in hot conditions.
It’s worth investigating your coolant options before the summer hits. Some coolants incorporate organic acids, which transfer heat better than coolants that work using inorganic inhibitors. Consider replacing the coolant in your vehicles with these organic-based fluids, which reduce the risk of boil-over.
Tyres and treads
Warm weather can have an adverse effect on many of your vehicle’s maintainable parts, including tyres and tread. Check regularly, and keep tyre pressures at the recommended level to ensure safer driving, longer life, and better fuel efficiency.
Windscreen wipers have an important role to play in hot weather, when airborne dirt is at a high level. Keep your vehicles topped up with a summer solution of washer fluid, and make sure wipers have not deteriorated.
Brakes wear down due to heat—an already-hot braking system is therefore more susceptible to deterioration. Include increased brake checks in your planned preventive maintenance. Catch problems early, and you’ll avoid breakdowns and safety issues.
Prepare your drivers for heavy traffic
Holiday traffic has a massive effect on road safety. Hot, tired, irritable drivers dealing with extra volumes of traffic are prone to error. Ease your staff into summer driving with a refresher course on safe following distances, regular breaks, and efficient road behaviour. Monitor individual vehicle driving habits to reinforce the message that safety is a major concern when temperatures soar.
Prepare your routes for heavy traffic too
Congested routes mean longer journey times and excessive fuel consumption—at a time of year when seasonal clients are even more dependent on your vehicles arriving to schedule.
It’s a good idea to prep new or alternative routes in advance, or to alter the times between which your drivers are on the road. Consider early starts to avoid holidaymakers, and try to avoid rush periods.
Educate drivers on the effects of the heat
Hot weather increases pressure on drivers and their vehicles. Hydration, a major factor in maintaining concentration, is even more important in the summer months. Ensure drivers have access to fully-functioning air conditioning, and factor in increased rest stops.
Educate drivers on the potential effects of heat on their vehicles. If your staff are aware of the increased risk of overheating, they’ll be more likely to spot an engine in trouble before the situation becomes irreversible.
How are you preparing for summer? Let us know on Twitter and LinkedIn.