Extreme heat can affect the performance, safety, and reliability of your used semi truck in a number of ways. That’s why it’s important to stay a few steps ahead of Mother Nature by making sure your truck’s components are in good condition. From the engine and tires to the brakes and battery, you’ll want to inspect every key aspect of your truck and decide whether it’s good to go or needs service. Use Truck Centers‘ semi truck summer maintenance checklist below, and make sure you check off important transmission maintenance and more to fully prepare for your next trip!
Before you start planning your next summer ride in your rig, give the following components and systems your full attention:
If you travel between different states, it’s important to consider the effect their climates will have on your truck’s tires. High temperatures can damage your tires or even cause blowouts. Checking tire pressure and tread depths frequently can help ensure the tires remain in good shape. Also, be sure to check for obvious signs of wear and tear, such as cracks on the wheels, sidewall damage, and uneven tread wear. In this case, you’ll need to consider tire repair or replacement to help you stay safe on your journeys.
Extreme hot or cold temperatures accelerate the thermal breakdown of oil. When oil breaks down, it becomes less effective at lubricating the engine’s moving parts, which can lead to engine damage, overheating, and an eventual breakdown. Changing your truck’s oil and oil filter in preparation for extreme weather will help protect the engine and prevent the need for costly repairs down the road.
It should come as no surprise that overheating is one of the most common causes of breakdowns during the summer. For this reason, it’s important to check your truck’s antifreeze and make sure the antifreeze-to-water ratio is correct. Additionally, it’s a good idea to schedule an engine wash-out to remove debris from the radiator. This should be done at least once a year to keep the engine from overheating and to keep the air conditioning system operational.
When traveling through the country’s warmer regions, the last thing you want is for the air conditioning system to fail. As soon as spring rolls around, test and inspect your air conditioning system, including the hoses, fittings, and blower motor. Look for any tears or leaks in the system’s components and make sure there are no strange sounds emanating from the motor. Have the air filters cleaned or replaced to keep the air in the cabin fresh.
In hot or cold weather, the components of your truck’s brake system can degrade due to friction. Replacing the brake pads will make it easier for you to stop on a dime and prevent damage to the rotors. If you’ve recently noticed any issues with your brakes, such as squealing or vibration, schedule a brake inspection and replacement so you’re better prepared for warm temperatures.
Excessive heat can cause a battery to corrode quickly. When corrosion builds up, the battery’s voltage weakens. You can use a battery cleaner to neutralize the acid and reduce the damage done by corrosion. Using a hydrometer can help you identify weak cells early on and get a battery replacement. It’s a good idea to check your battery at least twice a year.
Cold weather can do a number on the softer components of your truck, such as belts and hoses. To prevent leaks and other issues, inspect belts and hoses for cracks, punctures, and other types of damage. Some types of hoses, such as coolant hoses, break down from the inside out. Squeeze your truck’s hoses; if the hose feels spongy, it’s time for a replacement.
Although it may not seem consequential, cleaning your truck inside and out is a great way to prepare for summer. Removing excess dirt and debris can improve aerodynamics and fuel-efficiency. Not to mention, the metal panels, joints, and shafts of your truck can degrade from exposure to road chemicals if they’re never cleaned. Waxing is also an important part of semi truck maintenance and can help remove dirt and protect against UV rays.
When you’re finished learning about how to prep your truck for summer, check out our guide to winterizing your truck and preventing DEF freeze. Rain, shine, sleet, or snow.