Semi Truck Coolant Maintenance

July 20, 2020

Trucker's Corner

At Trucker’s Corner, you can navigate to topics regarding the trucking industry, lifestyle while on the road, and truck health. International Used Trucks has the information you need to keep you on the Road to Revenue

There are a number of multi-colored coolants in the market today that also offer different performance properties. Whether you are a owner-operator or maintenance manager it can be confusing to sift through all the options available while distinguishing what is best for your heavy-duty engine model. While it is confusing – coolant maintenance is just as important as an oil change for your model. International Used Truck Center is here to help you find the proper coolant and coolant system for your model with this coolant information guide.

Helping Prevent Cavitation

There are a number of benefits to using the proper coolant for your heavy-duty truck. Not only does antifreeze-coolant help protect your truck in winter months, but it also helps prevent cavitation in diesel engines helping the overall longevity of your truck. Whether you have wet liners or dry liners proper supplemental coolant additives (SCA) can help prevent cavitation.

Cavitation is caused when there are extreme amounts of pressure in the combustion cycle. The extreme pressure causes small pockets of air to appear, like bubbles, forming along your cylinder’s liner causing a number of problems. The biggest tell-tale of cavitation is that your coolant levels will decrease dramatically while the oil level rises within the truck.

Using SCA cannot stop the formation of those bubbles, but it does help create a protective liner between those bubbles and the cylinder liner with a replenishing cycle of nitrite so that cavitation does not occur. Even with the proper SCA you should still be sure to monitor your coolant system on a regular basis!

Coolant System Filters vs. SCA

Rather than dealing with the number of SCA on the market, some manufacturers prefer to install coolant system filters which not only help filter the coolant but also have nitrite within the filter media. With the constant presence of nitrite in the coolant system filter there is no need for SCA. If you have a coolant system filter adding SCA would cause an increase in nitrite which could cause a different array of problems.

If your model does not have a coolant system filter installed then you will need to rely on SCA. There are a number of different SCA options available for different performance needs. You are able to distinguish the different types of SCA via the color of the coolant. If your model relies on SCA you need to monitor it closely and be sure to be replacing and replenishing your coolant correctly. If you are unsure what SCA your model uses you can reach out to your local service team to help determine what your model needs.

Truck Coolant Service Intervals

If you bring your truck in to be serviced by a certified technician, they should be able to help take proper care of your model – whether your model relies on SCA or a coolant system filter. The ideal amount of nitrite in a diesel cooling system is 880 ppm, if levels of nitrite drop below this can cause the cylinders to become compromised. Your technician can administer a test to help determine the levels of nitrite and levels of coolant – but there are some general benchmarks you can follow:

  • Check your manufacturer recommendations first, if not available call your service technician
  • Green Antifreeze: 2-years of 30,000 miles
  • Extended Life Coolant: 5-years or 100,000 miles
  • If you are unsure what your model is using you should check every 6 months

While your certified technician can help you find your nitrite to coolant levels you can also test this yourself with a conventional hydrometer coolant tester which can be found at your local parts store or via a refractometer.

Learn More With International Used Truck Center!

Are you unsure when your last maintenance check was for your antifreeze or coolant filter? It may be time to get your model serviced! Whether you are looking for more maintenance tips for your truck or are trying to keep yourself busy on the road International Used Truck Center can help! If you are in the market for a new truck fleet be sure to check out our wide inventory selection at numerous locations!

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International Used Truck Center 41.776180, -88.200918.