The summer brings with it a fair amount of jubilation. But in South Africa, and many other African countries, the high temperatures pose a few challenges for Fleet Managers. Extreme heat can cause additional strain on vehicles that – if not adequately prepared for – have serious technical implications and jeopardise your fleet’s efficiency and overall deliverables. Various engine components already produce a certain amount of heat, increases to this temperature can cause malfunction – or worse cause them to cease all together.
There are a few incident and vehicle related issues that are associated with heat that every fleet maintenance plan should take into account. Here are some of the most common problems you should prepare for during the hot summer months:
Ensure that air conditioning and cooling systems are maintained and in a working condition
Aside from driver and passenger comfort in the cab, the engine requires cool air to function optimally. As temperatures increase, air conditioners and cooling systems have to work that much harder to ensure that everything stays cool. Before we head into the peak of summer, ensure that you service all air conditioners, refill gas canisters, check coolant levels, and charge or replace the batteries which power cooling systems. We tend to neglect to check on these as regularly during the cool winter months, so you should make sure they are ready for the summer.
Check tyre-pressure and tread depth and quality
Rubber reacts differently to different temperatures, and poor tyre maintenance remains one of the most common causes of accidents on our roads. Hot air rises and expands and therefore requires more space and increases the pressure in the tyre itself, while cold air has the opposite effect. Tyre pressure checks should be done regularly, at least twice a month, to ensure that you compensate for any changes in temperature. The surface heat of tar roads also has an impact on the depth and quality of your tyre tread. Ensure that you inspect tyres for any tread damage and check on tread depth before the hot summer months.
Inspect the brakes of your fleet to detect any faults
Along with tyre safety, brakes are crucial in preventing accidents and ensuring that a vehicle stays on the road. The brake pads on your fleet vehicles are also susceptible to changes in temperature and might undergo a certain amount of strain from the cool winter months. Ensure that the brake linings are intact and have not been worn down to dangerous levels.
Check and clean the batteries of your fleet
The battery is essentially the heart of a vehicle as it’s responsible for bringing the engine to life and powering other essential elements. High temperatures put additional strain on your battery and can have serious consequences for the functioning of the vehicle. Heat increases the speed of the chemical processes in the battery which can lead to it overcharging and reducing its lifespan. It can also cause the fluid in the battery to evaporate. You can greatly improve the functioning and lifespan of your batteries by cleaning them regularly. Detach the battery cables and wipe clean any buildup residue and ensure that all connections are tight and secure. Should you suspect that your batteries are damaged or leaking, have them inspected immediately. Ensuring that you are using the right battery for the right vehicle type and function also ensure that the battery performs optimally.
Adequate fleet maintenance is an ongoing process and requires you to be on top of your game and account for all the variables that accompany the change in season and temperatures. Ensuring that your fleet is always in optimal condition reduces the risk of breakdowns and accidents. After all, it’s crucial to keeping your vehicles on the road and maintaining high levels of productivity. Avis Fleet knows that fleet maintenance is at the heart of any successful logistics operation. Outsource fleet management with us, our fleet service and maintenance solution has been developed to ensure that your vehicles are in prime working condition come rain or shine. Find out how we can help you get the most out of your fleet with our maintenance control solution.