The first official day of summer is approaching fast and high temperatures can put more stress on diesel engines and their cooling systems. Especially if you are in an area that regularly hits triple digits, there are some important steps you should take to make sure your diesel engine equipment is prepared for the summer heat.
Schedule an inspection with a cooling system service provider
If there is only one thing you do to protect your diesel engine equipment during the summer season, make it a thorough maintenance appointment with a reliable service team that specializes in diesel engine cooling. Even if you are already on a regular maintenance plan, be sure to get your most important equipment inspected before temperatures start to spike. Naturally, the hotter it is the harder your cooling system will have to work to protect your engine. Routine measures like a coolant check or replacing air filters could prevent big problems from affecting your engine when it’s under stress. This pre-summer inspection is also a great time to confirm that you’re using the right type of coolant for your engine, and to find out if something specifically designed for high temperature environments is necessary. Service technicians can also clean your radiators, either with traditional methods or waterless dry ice blasting, which will help the system dissipate heat as efficiently as possible. Any diesel particulate filters (DPFs) should also be cleaned and restored.
Check your thermostat
The thermostat is an important diesel engine cooling system component that your service technician should check if you follow the first measure on this list. But it warrants special mention here because a malfunctioning thermostat won’t release coolant to flow through the radiator properly, which will lead to engine overheating. Make sure you have the thermostat tested by a cooling system expert, especially if yours is an engine model with more than one.
Prepare your job site to minimize dust and particles
It is no secret that dust, rocks and other abrasive particles kicked up by moving vehicles at a job site are a danger to engines. Scorching heat dries out the ground and can make these common hazards worse. If possible, water as much of your job site as you can, both before and during busiest work hours. It will minimize the amount of dust in the air and limit the potential for components like bearings being damaged.
Let your engine idle before turning off
This one is a simple habit that too many operators forget. Before shutting down heavy diesel engine equipment, let the engine idle for at least 5 minutes. This allows the engine to cool down and will extend the life of vital components like the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) injector.
Check your tires and rotate them regularly
As the temperature rises, so does the temperature of asphalt roads and other surfaces your equipment drives on. Heat transfers to the tires and gets trapped in the rubber, increasing the speed at which they wear down. Make sure you are sticking to a regular tire rotation schedule to offset this faster wear. It will help reduce the stress on your engine and delay the need for expensive replacements.