Safety Advisor: Prepare Yourself and Your Vehicle for Summer Driving

As spring arrives, it’s time to prepare for the sweltering days of summer.

Preparing for the heat of summer is just as important as the preparation for the freezing days of winter. In fact, the first step in getting ready for summer is to get rid of the effects of winter. Salt, sand and other chemicals used to melt ice and snow may have built up on the undercarriage of your vehicle. Salt is corrosive and can damage your wiring, hoses and belts. It can attack any surface that has suffered a dent or had the paint knocked off. A thorough undercarriage wash and cleaning is your first step.

The underside of your unit also will be the target of intense summer heat that builds up on the road surface. The roadbed can be 40 or more degrees hotter than the air temperature. If you allow dirt to accumulate on the undercarriage, it will hold additional heat, which can affect engine temperature and the temperature in the trailer.

After a good overall wash and cleaning, check your owner’s manual for proper fluid levels and make sure your maintenance shop is aware of your particular needs. Do a complete inspection of all hardware for loose nuts, bolts, screws and clamps.

Dust will be more of a problem in the summer. Start off the season with a clean air filter and have it cleaned or changed often. Look for cracked hoses in both the cooling system and the air system. Have fuel tanks checked for debris and, if necessary, drained. One item often overlooked until needed is wiper blades. Ice and freezing temperatures may have damaged your wiper blades to the point they need to be replaced to avoid streaks or poor wiping action.

The wintertime is also hard on more than your vehicle. Roads can be in poor condition after a few months of freezing and thawing. Potholes can damage your tires. Examine your tires and make sure they are in good shape and properly inflated. Remember, summer heat will raise tire pressure so always check the inflation when the tires are cool.

Replace your winterfront with a good bug screen. Bugs will not only clog your radiator cooling system, but can also damage your paint if not removed. A good wax job will make bug removal easier.

Finally, for the most important piece of equipment on your truck, make sure your air conditioner is working properly. Why is the AC the most important piece of equipment? Because it keeps you cool and the most dangerous part of a truck is an overheated driver. Keep your cool. Keep your truck clean and help it to keep cool. Doing so will keep your unit running longer and with fewer problems. 

Sentry Insurance is committed to helping you protect your business by providing resources to manage loss-producing situations and prevent accidents. For additional information visit ForTruckersOnly.com, or call 1-877-832-1835. 

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