Truck Maintenance Tips for Hot Southern Summers

Truck Maintenance Tips for Hot Southern Summers

The beginning of summer means heat, humidity, and sun. When longer days and high temperatures set in, you want your diesel truck to be ready to operate as expected despite the warm weather.

Summer brings a slight shift in the regular maintenance that should be done on your truck. Whether you're figuring out what maintenance a diesel truck needs or you're prepping your fleet, we can help.

Use this guide to summer fleet maintenance tips to get your diesel trucks in perfect condition for the coming summer months.

1. Check the Oil

If you want to keep your truck running during the summer, you need to check the oil. Heat increases can affect the viscosity of oil, reducing truck performance.

Read your owner's manual to see recommendations for hot-weather oil and get the right one if you don't already have it. You should also regularly change your oil at professionally specified intervals for better engine performance. Fresh oil helps lubricate the engine's moving parts, reducing friction and carrying away heat. Checking your oil helps prevent wear and tear during the summer months.

2. Inspect the Belt and Hoses

Belts and hoses keep your engine's cooling and charging systems working effectively. Hot weather can stress these components, wearing them out faster and creating problems.

Make sure to include your truck's belts and hoses in your summer truck maintenance. Check over the belts for fraying, wear, or cracking. Do the hoses have bulges or soft spots? These spots could lead to coolant or oil leaks, damaging your engine. You should replace the belts and hoses as necessary to ensure your truck stays reliable all summer.

3. Clean Air Filter

Summer means dust and debris leftover from spring are in the air. Inspect your air filter regularly to ensure it's not blocked. A clogged air filter means restricted airflow, reducing engine efficiency and potentially decreasing fuel economy and power. Clean it as needed to keep air flowing through the filter — your engine will benefit from clean, filtered air coming into the system.

4. Test the Battery

High summer temperatures can accelerate battery fluid evaporation. With hot weather evaporating your truck's battery fluid, you might see internal corrosion and battery failure. Test your battery's charge before the heat sets in, and look for corrosion and damage. If your battery is older or showing signs of potential issues, you might want to replace it to avoid unexpected breakdowns. 

Additionally, make sure your battery terminals are secure and clean. You want to maintain good electrical connections for optimal battery performance.

5. Check Coolant

Cooling is especially important during the summer — combine the summer scorchers with a hardworking engine, and you could find yourself in an overheated truck. Regularly check your truck's coolant levels during the summer to keep everything cool. Additionally, make sure you have the right coolant mixture for summer. Weak mixtures can result in overheating, too.

While you check the coolant, make sure to inspect the radiator and hoses for leaks and damage. These components get coolant to your engine — any circulation problems can also lead to overheating.

6. Lubricate Parts

Proper lubrication is essential for reducing wear and friction on your truck's components. Part of your diesel truck maintenance checklist should include lubricating all fittings and components as recommended by your manufacturer. Pay special attention to joints, bearings, and suspension parts, which are susceptible to increased friction and heat during the summer.

7. Monitor Fuel Filters

Diesel fuel needs protection from contamination. Humid summers can promote microbial growth and degradation in your fuel, affecting performance. Contaminated fuel can create issues like fuel pump damage and injector pump clogging, leaving you dealing with expensive repair bills.

You should check your fuel filters regularly to make sure they're free of clogging or contamination. Replace them as needed to ensure your engine has a steady supply of clean, filtered fuel to run on.

You might want to consider using a fuel additive or treatment during the summer. These solutions improve fuel stability and prevent microbial growth, protecting your truck from fuel issues.

8. Test Tire Pressure

The changing temperatures mean changing tire pressure, as well. Hot road surfaces, pressure changes, and sudden temperature spikes can all lead to tire pressure issues, so check your truck's tires to ensure they're at the right levels throughout the summer.

Underinflated tires can also be dangerous, so always refer to your owner's manual for tire pressure figures. Underinflated tires could lead to reduced fuel efficiency, increased rolling resistance, and uneven tire wear. At the same time, overinflated tires can affect handling and traction. Maintain the correct tire pressure all summer long to promote safe driving.

9. Watch Fluid Levels

Hot weather means higher evaporation rates — when fluid levels get low, you might see part damage or failure, affecting truck performance. Power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid all keep your vehicle running smoothly. Use your manufacturer's recommendations when checking and topping up your fluid levels to keep your truck in top condition.

10. Clean the Truck

Dust, dirt, and debris can quickly accumulate on your truck during the summer. These elements can lead to corrosion, paint damage, rust, and trim deterioration. Washing your truck regularly in the warmer months is a great preventive maintenance step.

You can easily clean all the dirt and grime off your truck with a mild detergent and a soft sponge. Make sure to get the wheels, undercarriage, and body. Pay close attention to the wheel wells and other corrosion-prone areas. When you're done, consider using a protective sealant or wax for added durability and ultraviolet resistance.

Summer Diesel Truck Services From Thompson Truck Source

Summers in the South are no joke, and high humidity and scorching summers can take their toll on your diesel truck. When summer hits, Thompson Truck Source has you covered with unmatched diesel engine services in Alabama and Florida. With years of expertise and a commitment to excellence, our technicians ensure your truck runs smoothly and efficiently, no matter the weather.

Whether you need preventative maintenance or emergency repairs, Thompson Truck Source is here to help. We offer a wide range of service options tailored to your needs. Our professional mechanics specialize in engine cleaning, fuel injection system maintenance, and filter replacements for a truck that runs like new.

Experience better productivity, fuel efficiency, and cost-effectiveness with our comprehensive maintenance services. Contact us today for diesel engine servicing and discover why Thompson Truck Source is the go-to company for diesel truck owners. Find a location near you to keep your truck going strong, no matter the weather.