Timely tips for safe and reliable truck operation

With summer and the unpredictable storm season now in full swing, there’s no better time to revisit emergency plans and make sure trucks are operating in peak condition, said Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) Engineering Support Manager, Jeff Gibson.

“Many people are in wind-down mode at this time of year, but for many transport businesses, the summer season means more work, not less,” said Gibson.

IAL recommended taking precautions as part of a summer truck care plan to prevent any serious damage to vehicles.

Simple things like checking tyres, brakes, filters and fluids can have a big impact on productivity, safety and fuel efficiency, the company contended.

Gibson offered this basic checklist for operators to consider before hitting the road.

“Regularly checking oil levels, changing oil filters and using high-quality oils are all sounds steps for preventing engine and driveline issues,” said Gibson – adding that checking air filters was equally important. “Air filters are one of the most commonly neglected service items and over time can become dirty or clogged, causing restricted airflow to the engine combustion chambers which reduces power output.”

Gibson said one of the most common problems encountered by heavy vehicle drivers in the Australian summer is an overheated engine, with the single most common issue being dirty or blocked radiator fins.

He recommended consistently monitoring coolant levels and having a service provider thoroughly check the radiator, belts and hoses including a good clean of the radiator fins before getting stuck into the busy season.

Inspections of tyres, brakes and batteries are other critical tasks for operators, Gibson explained, with high heat and humidity playing a role in compromising these components.

“Tyre pressures can change over the course of a day with a rise or drop in ambient temperatures,” he said.

“What many people are not aware of is that incorrect tyre pressure – either too low or too high – is one of the major contributing factors to excessive fuel consumption and reduced tyre and suspension component life.”

According to Gibson, batteries also react differently to extreme temperature and weather fluctuations and can fault in various ways – whether it’s overcharging from the heat or grimy discharge from humidity.

“If the battery is not functioning optimally components such as air conditioning, headlights and power windows can be compromised.

“Air conditioning has a big impact on your health and wellbeing,” added Gibson. “We would always recommend having your truck’s air conditioning professionally seen to if you notice changes in the air output or cooling efficiency of the system, well before the serious heat hits.”

In other news, Paul Cotterill, the owner of Wollongong-based heavy vehicle driver training outfit Coachbiz, decided an Isuzu FXZ 240-350 six-wheel tipper was the ideal vehicle for his dedicated training operation.

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