Keep a sharp eye on that Temp gauge no matter the weather. Coolant systems are prone to problems regardless of the weather or time of year. If you see the reading rise above its normal engine operating level, prepare to get off the highway quickly to prevent engine damage caused by overheating. Find a safe place to pull off and park, shut the engine down, and call a technician. If you can’t get off the road quickly, switch on the cab heater and open the windows. Doing so will divert some heat away from the engine to help protect your asset.
Meanwhile, you can look for obvious coolant leaks under the hood or dripping onto the road surface. Causes of overheating may include: a thermostat stuck closed -which keeps coolant from circulating, a faulty water pump that leaks or fails to move coolant, a stuck radiator cap that no longer releases excess pressure, and radiator hoses that are prone to leaking at any time due to hoses cracking. Steam coming from under the hood may be an indication of a blown cylinder head gasket, or even a problem with the radiator.
Since climate change is unleashing record high temperatures the world over, we must be extremely vigilant to prevent engine damage from overheating. Take no chances with the functioning of your truck’s cooling system. Always carry extra coolant for adding or topping up. An extra radiator cap may also be a good idea, as well as every driver’s friend: a working flashlight. If you find yourself on the side of a highway with an overheated truck, set out your breakdown triangles or flares to warn others, and call for road service, then notify dispatch that you are broken down. Leave the engine off to cool things down for the technician to diagnose and repair the problem if possible. If not, a tow may be required.
When it comes to driver’s daily inspections, always routinely inspect for leaks or puddles of coolant on the pavement. Give the cooling system extra scrutiny before you leave each day. It could save you time and money in the long run. Sitting on the roadside is no fun. Always make it a habit to scan your dash gauges frequently. Trucks are complicated beasts. Treat your cooling system well to avoid a serious breakdown. Motor on, scanning the gauges often.