The warmer temperatures of the summer months can take a toll on your heavy machinery. Issues such as overheating and other heat-related damage can occur quickly without proper protection. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to keep your heavy equipment cool during the summer to avoid problems with your machine.
One of the most simple and straightforward ways you can protect your heavy equipment from the harsh summer sun is to store it in the shade. Whether you have an enclosed storage area, tarps, tents or a fully shaded parking zone, keeping your equipment out of the sun can go a long way toward prolonging its service life and preventing heat damage.
Summer heat usually becomes most intense during the peak sunlight hours of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. While you may not be able to completely stop work during this time, think about ways that you can minimize your use of the machine, especially on days with heat advisories. Staggering work tasks or getting an early or late start on the project each day will allow you to continue work without excessive heat risk.
Operators should perform daily maintenance checks during the hot summer months to stay on top of any potential heat-related issues. It's essential to keep an eye on your coolant and antifreeze levels in particular — as these fluids are crucial to keeping the parts of your machine properly lubricated and preventing it from overheating, you want to top them off regularly.
Weak batteries can also malfunction in the heat, so make sure the battery is always at it's recommended charge level and is able to hold that charge for a reasonable amount of time.
Operators should also be mindful of any dashboard display warnings and other signs that the equipment may need to cool down. If your workers do notice any such indicators, they should be instructed to pause work and cool the machine down to avoid damage.
In particular, you want to make sure that radiators, cooling systems, fans and other temperature-regulating parts of the machine are clear of debris. When your machine is left dirty, things like mud, sticks and leaves can become caked on or stuck and cause the equipment to perform poorly, leaving it more susceptible to heat damage.
When it comes to how best to prepare your heavy equipment for summer, it's essential to get ahead of the game. Before the summer months begin, go through a checklist of the things you need to do to ensure your fleet is ready for the hotter weather. This list should include steps like getting up-to-date on any maintenance services, greasing your equipment, checking fluid levels and paying particular attention to your radiator and air-flow passages.