10 Tips on Maintaining Your Truck’s Engine Coolant System
An 18-wheeler’s got several liquids coursing through it’s mammoth “body”. An engine coolant is just one of those liquids. Research by WIX Filters found that a commercial vehicle’s coolant system removes about 30% of combustion heat from heavy duty engines.
If you’re serious about keeping your engine in top shape and preventing costly breakdowns, here are 10 things you should do to maintain your truck’s coolant system:
- Keep the system clean.
A coolant won’t clean up a dirty system, which means you need to use appropriate flush methods and replace corroded and damaged components as soon as possible. A coolant will help prevent problems, but won’t solve them.
- Use deionized or distilled water.
Never use “softened” water, or water that contains sodium.
- Use quality EG or PG.
Ethylene glycol (eg) and propylene glycol (PG) are used as antifreeze to keep the engine’s temperature stable. When refilling coolant, make sure you purchase the right one for your truck, whether it’s inorganic additive technology (IAT) coolant or organic acid technology (OAT) coolant.
- Add proper supplemental coolant additives.
If your truck uses IAT, then you can add supplemental coolant additives to protect the traditional coolant: standard service intervals, slow release and extended service interval.
- Ensure proper balance.
Make sure the coolant is diluted with water into a 50/50 mixture.
- Practice proper top-off.
Don’t just eyeball it. Take the time to measure out equal parts coolant and water.
- Inspect the filter.
Regularly check the filter for dirt, debris, chemical precipitation and other contaminants. Make sure the contaminants don’t enter the coolant system when removing the filter.
- Replace the coolant.
Keep track of your truck’s maintenance schedule and don’t delay replacing the coolant. You can refer to the vehicle and coolant manufacturers’ recommendations for detailed instructions and guidelines on how and when to replace the coolant.
- Test and inspect.
You can use coolant strips, or “refractometers”, to check the concentration ratio of coolant to water. This is important because without an even ratio, your truck may start to develop problems that can grow costly very quickly.
- Handle and store coolant properly.
Keep extra coolant in a clean, temperature-controlled environment where you can easily access it when needed.
- Keep the system clean.