The Commercial Carrier Journal has published an article outlining the maintenance challenges faced by fleets when many trucks have been parked up.
While many hauliers have continued to distribute essential goods during the coronavirus pandemic, overall HGV activity has been below pre-pandemic levels in the UK. Industry experts were asked for insights into problems that may occur in idle trucks, such as for lubrication, cooling, and battery power.
A technical services manager at Castrol, Jami Melani, said that a full, well-maintained cooling system should withstand long-term parking but indicated that commercial vehicle oil can still degrade even when the engine is idle, pointing to oxidisation and condensation within the engine.
Shell Lubricants’ Stede Granger also pointed to problems caused by oil sinking to the lower portion of the engine’s crankcase. He said that a running engine distributes the oil, coating the surfaces inside in the process. He added:
“When it’s parked, it’s going to find the lowest point and drip off all the upper surfaces. When you run it, you get new oil up there, in the liners and crosshatches, in your rings and all that. It does a lot of good to run that engine.”
Granger suggests firing up idle trucks once a month to redistribute oil in the engine and top up the battery. Doing this for long enough to reach operating temperature should also help evaporate any moisture that has accumulated in the crankcase, and avoid too much of it building up inside the engine over time.