In many regions, the heat of the summer is fast approaching (or is already here) and it's time to prepare your fleet for a new season. Hot weather poses a new set of concerns and can be a huge contrast from the icy winter you just experienced. Vehicles perform very differently in the heat vs the cold and latent problems can come to light in the middle of a sweltering route unless caught and dealt with ahead of time.
Summertime fleet management means preparing your fleet to beat the heat.
1) Change the AC Air Filters
Make sure your teams stay cool (and cool-headed) by maintaining the AC. Change out cabin air filters and check the performance of each vehicle's AC system. Tell your teams to report poor cooling immediately. It's not just a matter of comfort, cool heads allow your team to drive safer, perform more efficiently, and provide friendlier service when they are not overheated in the truck.
2) Reduce Tire Inflation as the Temperature Rises
It is often necessary to inflate tires a little more in the winter because air expands in heat and contracts in the cold. Conversely, you may need to let a little air out of your fleet tires as the temperature rises. The hotter it gets, the more air will expand in the tires, which can put you at risk of an unexpected blow-out if the tire pressure was right in chilly April but swelling in sweltering July. This is also a good time to check tread depth and sidewall integrity.
3) Switch to Summer Weight Oil and Wiper Fluid
If you switched to winter-weight oil and unfreezing wiper fluid during the winter, now is the time to switch back. Vehicles need thicker oil in the summer because it thins out in the heat, while antifreeze fluid is unnecessary as there's no risk of freezing and the alcohol content poses a somewhat higher risk in high temperatures. Now is also a good time to change out your ice-roughened wiper blades in preparation for warm weather rains.
4) Restock Trucks & Add the Summer Cooler for Water Bottles
Every season's maintenance check should include restocking your trucks with emergency gear and service supplies. Replenish first aid kits, make sure the safety flares are still working, and swap out cold-weather survival gear for ponchos and a cooler ready for ice and water bottles.
Pro Tip: Add a freezer to the garage and keep chemical Cooler Packs instead of buying ice. They're cleaner, last longer, and you can recharge them overnight, every night, for cold water bottles in the truck all day. Plus, they pay themselves back in just a few rounds of ice bags you don't have to buy.
5) Perform a Full Engine Inspection.
It's time for the summer engine inspection. Make sure your coolant is topped up and that all your belts and hoses are in good shape. Summer is a time when rubber and plastic gets soft, sticky, and more prone to certain types of damage. Give everything a thorough once-over and, again, instruct your drivers to raise the alarm if they sense anything wrong with their vehicle during summer routes. Just in case.
6) Review Safe Summertime Driving Protocols
Lastly, give all your drivers a review of safe summertime driving protocols. Summer can be a tempting time to go full-speed, but there are always risks. Your city may have a large number of tourists on foot around this time, children playing in neighborhood streets, or wild racing hooligans on the freeway. Make sure your team is ready for the usual hazards, especially anyone whose never run their current route in the summer before.
Summertime Fleet Safety with Wilmar
Keep your fleet safe from summertime heat, maintenance issues, and road hazards with this simple checklist. For more fleet management tips or professional fleet services, contact us today.