Now that the fall season has officially begun, it’s a good time to think about what you can do to help prepare your diesel engine cooling system for cold weather. Coming out of a scorching summer may feel like relief, but dropping temperatures can lead to a host of new problems for hardworking diesel engine equipment. Here are three things you can do to be proactive about cooling system maintenance as we head toward winter.
Check your coolant mixture
The coolant in your heavy equipment is a crucial part of the cooling system. It is a liquid mixture that carries heat away from the engine, but it also helps prevent the engine from freezing during cold months. Coolant is a combination of antifreeze, water and additives and there are different types meant for different engines. The wrong combination of components is bad news for the engine, especially in a cold environment. If there’s too much water in the mixture, it could freeze and cause ruptures and leaks. Don’t try to top off your coolant with water, as you might throw off the balance. Leave it to cooling system experts to check your mixture and make any necessary adjustments in preparation for lower temperatures.
Have your thermostat inspected
The thermostat is a cooling system component that helps regulate temperature by controlling the amount of coolant flow. Some cooling systems even have multiple thermostats. It’s an important part of keeping your diesel engine cool, but also allowing it to heat up when, for example, it’s starting for the first time on a cold day. If the thermostat fails while in an open position, it can let too much coolant flow through the system and take a long time for your vehicle to warm up. If it fails in the closed position, not enough coolant will flow and it could lead to engine overheating, even in a cold temperature environment. There are multiple ways to test a thermostat to make sure it’s working efficiently. Have a technician check yours before the start of winter so it can be replaced if necessary. Especially for high-mileage vehicles, fall is the time to take preventive action.
Clean your radiator
Last but not least, have your radiators thoroughly cleaned and inspected before freezing temperatures arrive. This one may seem obvious, but timing is everything. If your equipment drives on roads that may be salted to improve traction on snow and ice, that salt can accelerate the corrosion of metal. If you already have rust or other corrosion building on your radiator or other metal cooling system components, salt will make things worse in a hurry. It’s best to have a thorough inspection and cleaning of any questionable radiators done before your equipment has been operating around snow and ice. The chances of avoiding a breakdown or long-term engine damage will be significantly reduced if you take steps in the fall.
Contact Industrial Radiator Service today for a fall/winter maintenance plan including all the preventive measures mentioned here. Even if you don’t operate in an area with harsh cold weather, the fall is a great time to make sure your diesel engine cooling system is in good shape.