Your truck can run without AC, but can you? Inefficient air conditioning in the cabin can be more than uncomfortable, it can affect your driving performance and safety. That’s why it is so important to make sure your air-conditioning system is operating efficiently all summer long.
Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance
The most important thing you can do to ensure your AC is in peak condition is to stick to the recommended maintenance schedule. Even if your AC appears to be working fine, it loses about five percent of its efficiency every year without proper maintenance. And while it can seem like a hassle to take your truck in when it doesn’t feel necessary, a couple hours of preventative maintenance (PM) sure beats being down for a day or more to have your air-conditioning system repaired or replaced.
Aside from keeping up with the PM schedule, there are other actions you can take to ensure you are maximizing the efficiency of your air-conditioning system:
Listen to the Blower
At least once a trip, take a quiet moment to listen hard. Is there any noise coming from the blower motor? If you notice any buzzing or grinding noises, that’s a good indication that the blower is working at less-than-optimal efficiency, putting more stress on the rest of the system and maybe, a sign that it could be on its way out. If you hear any odd noise, have a mechanic look at it as soon as possible.
Sniff and Look
While the AC is running, give the air a strong sniff. If you detect an old, musty smell coming from your vents, there could be dirt or mold in your system that needs to be removed ASAP. Also, look at your freon level. A low level means you simply don’t have enough refrigerant to adequately cool your cabin. It could also indicate you have a leak. When checking for leaks, examine the hoses and fittings for wetness or cracks, especially at bends, flex points and hose connections.
Shut it Down
If you ever feel warm air coming out when you’re running the AC, shut down the entire system and turn off your engine. Give your truck time to cool down to a normal temperature, then check your fluids. If you’re low on fluids and you keep pushing it, you could bring your truck dangerously close to overheating.
Protect Your AC
You don’t need AC to keep your truck running, but it is a valuable component to keep you running. That’s why you should consider a warranty to cover cooling and heating issues that can crop up at the worst time. Talk to your sales rep about NTP’s Comfort Package, which is available with any 12- or 24-month warranty. Aside from covering most air-conditioning parts, it also covers other important components that keep your truck running and you comfortable, like radiator, alternator, starter, radio and more. And, it could save you thousands!
Air-conditioning efficiency is of the utmost importance during these hot summer months. Proper maintenance and a few basic precautionary measures should help you keep everything running smoothly. Keep cool out there!
You might think that the Winter Issue of Good to Know News would offer tips to winterize your truck, so it performs in the cold, ice, snow and sometimes brutal road conditions. Well, that is certainly a valid topic. But in the 2020 Winter Issue, we wanted to give you some tips on something that you can use all year long, no matter what the season: buying a used truck.
Paying special attention to the cooling system and the oil for instance, can be a simple indicator of how the truck was maintained and how it should perform. A reputable dealer will take the time to inspect those areas, so the buyer has a high level of assurance that those systems are in good condition. But taking the time yourself to make a couple simple checks, or at least ask, gives you assurance that the truck you’re about to buy will perform in any season.
Pre-purchase systems checks help you feel better about what you’re buying. But to protect your truck and your business once you’re on the road, take some time to check out the value you get when you invest in an NTP warranty. That value? Peace of mind.
When purchasing a truck, whether you’re an owner operator or a dealer, you should always take the time to check a couple simple components or systems that can tell you a lot about the truck and save you from costly repairs down the road.
- Inspect the blow-by tube for any oil or water residual dripping out. If there is, it should be checked. At times you might see the blow-by tube appears to be steaming or breathing heavy. If you don’t hear unusual noise coming from the engine, the truck should be run on a dynamometer to check the blow-by under load. Most of the time the blow-by is measured with a magnehelic gauge for an accurate reading. Each engine manufacture’s specifications are somewhat different so check engine manufacture’s tolerances and blow-by scale for the proper readings.
- Check for compression in the cooling system. Compression in the cooling system can be caused by several engine problems depending on the engine manufacture’s model. Normally there is a failed or near failed engine component allowing combustion from the engine to escape. Compression can also be caused by an injector sleeve, a damaged cylinder head gasket, a cylinder head, or air compressor. This is a simple check with a compression gauge.
- Oil is the lifeblood of any engine so it’s always a good idea to perform at least one oil sample analysis. Taking just one oil sample won’t give you all the information you might need but it will pick up sodium and boron which could indicate a trace of antifreeze in your oil. Oil temperature runs hotter than coolant and the coolant will burn off leaving the sodium and boron in the oil. About 90% of the time having sodium and boron in the oil comes from a leaking EGR cooler. But it could also be a leak in a cylinder head gasket, cylinder head, a pitted liner or crevice seal. Any sign of something in your oil should be taken seriously as it could lead to major engine damage.
You invested your hard-earned money to buy your truck. So, creating your own preventative maintenance (PM) schedule and sticking to it at consistent intervals can prevent breakdowns which will help keep you on the road, save you money and importantly, keep you safe.
The key is to not think of a maintenance program as being reactive, only doing something when something goes wrong. An effective maintenance program should be proactive, checking your equipment often and doing your PM on time. Here are three simple things we suggest for taking care of your truck:
Your truck is your responsibility. So, get in the habit of doing a pre-trip or, weekly inspections. They don’t take long and can save you thousands of dollars, lost time and lost revenue. A pre-trip/weekly inspection should include inspecting hoses for leaks, checking fluid levels, inspecting belts for looseness or fraying, looking for loose or broken components. These short quick inspections can lower the chances of a breakdown and tremendously reduce downtime for a major repair. Don’t risk an outcome you will regret.
Regens can be time consuming and inconvenient with your busy schedule. However, they are absolutely needed, sometimes as much as once a day, for your truck to perform at its best. When the yellow regen light goes on, don’t ignore it. The light is telling you there is an excessive amount of soot in your DPF that needs to be burned off. In newer vehicles this will happen automatically. But if not, you can perform a “parked regen”. Do not perform a parked regeneration on grass or leaves as the exhaust will become extremely hot and could cause a fire. Make sure you are parked on cement, asphalt or gravel. If you light is red, pull over as soon as possible and call for service.
The simplest of the three steps is listening to how your truck sounds. When its running smoothly, it hums. When something is wrong, or about to go wrong, you can often hear it. Like the lights that go on, don’t ignore funny or unusual sounds. Check them out right away.
Taking some very simple precautions every day on your truck will help you keep your business running smoothly without downtime and helping prevent huge equipment repair bills. And to protect your business and your livelihood when you do have major repair costs, ask your used truck sales rep about the value of a commercial equipment warranty.