Winter is officially here, and for fleet owners, harsh weather conditions can lead to headaches and high costs. Fleet vehicles are often on the road for more than 10 hours a day, and during the colder months, they may undergo damage from abrasive and corrosive elements.
But by starting now with preventive maintenance, managers can protect their vehicles from freezing temperatures, corrosion, and repair expenses.
What Causes Corrosion?
On roads across the United States, towns and cities apply sand and rough chemicals to keep drivers safe from rain and snow. But deicing agents such as magnesium chloride and calcium chloride pull moisture from the air and eat away at any metal surface.
In turn, this causes more rust and corrosion. Blistering paint, cracking, lifting, and surface roughening or peeling are all corrosion indicators.
With that in mind, here are three ways to protect vehicles during winter weather.
1. Remove Corrosive Salt Deposits with Regular Washing
Washing a vehicle after each salting event could be the most effective way to prevent corrosion. Using warm water and detergent, tackle both the vehicle body and under-carriage to remove dirt and contaminants.
Also, be sure to dry the areas properly. The longer you wait to physically remove the chloride chemicals, the more damage your commercial vehicle will endure. Some experts recommend non-toxic and biodegradable rinse-water additives that neutralize and move deicing salts.
2. Apply an Anticorrosion Coating
Quality paints and protective coatings can help shield vehicles from corrosion. Primers also act as cost-effective barriers between substrate metals and electrolytes, all while providing resistance against rock chipping. Grease, paint, epoxy coatings, zinc, and ceramic are all suitable anticorrosion coatings that can be used to prevent corrosive damage.
Before coating, it is important to note that individual buses, fleet vehicles and commercial trucks have differing requirements. Be sure to speak with a representative about your vehicle’s specific needs.
3. Perform Regular Maintenance and Electrical Inspections
Inspections can help to identify rust and corrosion early. Not only is it easier to repair smaller corroded areas before they get out of hand—and potentially dangerous—it’s also more cost-effective.
Areas to inspect include the bottom half of the vehicle, wheel-end components, brake shoe and lining, rubber materials, battery and battery cables, and wiring.
Electrical wires are also vulnerable to corrosion. The risk is especially high in the winter because of the extra moisture and exposure to salt chemicals.
Fleet managers can consider vapor corrosion inhibitors (VCIS), or substances that slowly release a corrosion preventative compound into sealed air space. VCIs effectively protect exposed metal surfaces, which makes them ideal for electronics under the dashboard. The protective layer shouldn’t interfere with electrical performance.
Finally, when it comes time to update the vehicle and its wheels, consider implementing materials that are naturally resistant to corrosion. These may include galvanized steel, aluminum, or fiberglass.
About Alpine Painting and Sandblasting
Based in Paterson, New Jersey, USA, Alpine Painting & Sandblasting Contractors has been family owned and operated since its founding in 1975. The company’s mission is to protect and enhance the assets of its customers by utilizing great people, processes, and communication.
This winter, Alpine is yet again providing its excellent shop painting services to help rejuvenate fleet vehicles. With 35 years of experience, Alpine is a trusted name when it comes to all the needs of fleet vehicles.
Source: Alpine Painting & Sandblasting, www.alpinepainting.com.