TruckingTruth logo

2.11 Driving in Very Hot Weather

Make sure your vehicle is ready before driving in very hot weather by making regular pre-trip inspections.

Tires:

Check the tire mounting and air pressure. Inspect the tires every two hours or every 100 miles when driving in very hot weather. Air pressure increases with temperature. Do not let air out or the pressure will be too low when the tires cool off. If a tire is too hot to touch, remain stopped until the tire cools off. Otherwise the tire may blow out or catch fire. A burning tire should be cooled with water.

Engine Oil:

The engine oil helps keep the engine cool, as well as lubricates it . Make sure there is enough engine oil. If you have an oil temperature gauge, make sure the temperature is within the proper range while you are driving

Engine Coolant:

Before starting out, make sure the engine cooling system has enough water and antifreeze according to the engine manufacturerʼs directions. (Antifreeze helps the engine under hot conditions as well as cold conditions.) When driving, check the water temperature or coolant temperature gauge from time to time. Make sure it remains in the normal range. If the gauge goes above the highest safe temperature, there may be something wrong that could lead to engine failure and possibly fire. Stop driving as soon as safely possible and try to find out what is wrong.

Some vehicles have sight glasses, see-through coolant overflow containers or coolant recovery containers. These permit you to check the coolant level while the engine is hot. If the container is not part of the pressurized system, the cap can be safely removed and coolant added even when the engine is at operating temperature.

Never remove the radiator cap or any part of the pressurized system until the system has cooled. Steam and boiling water can spray under pressure and cause severe burns. If you can touch the radiator cap with your bare hand, it is probably cool enough to open.

If coolant must be added to a system without a recovery tank or overflow tank:

  • Shut engine off.
  • Wait until engine has cooled.
  • Protect hands (use gloves or a thick cloth).
  • Turn radiator cap slowly to the first stop, which releases the pressure seal.
  • Step back while pressure is released from cooling system.
  • When all pressure has been released, press down on the cap and turn it further to remove it.
  • Visually check level of coolant and add more coolant if necessary.
  • Replace cap and turn all the way to the closed position.
Engine Belts:

Learn how to check V-belt tightness on your vehicle by pressing on the belts. Loose belts will not turn the water pump and/or fan properly. This will result in overheating. Also check belts for cracking or other signs of wear.

Hoses:

Make sure coolant hoses are in good condition. A broken hose while driving can lead to engine failure and even fire.

Driving Precautions

Watch for Bleeding Tar:

Tar in the road pavement frequently rises to the surface in very hot weather. Spots where tar “bleeds” to the surface are very slippery.

Go Slow Enough to Prevent Overheating:

High speeds create more heat for tires and the engine. In desert conditions the heat may build up to the point where it is dangerous. The heat will increase chances of tire failure or even fire and engine failure.

Make sure you're familiar with the entire paragraph below, but here are the highlights that you should pay particular attention to:

  • Inspect the tires every two hours or every 100 miles when driving in very hot weather.
  • Air pressure increases with temperature.
  • Do not let air out or the pressure will be too low when the tires cool off.
  • A burning tire should be cooled with water.
In addition to creating lubrication for the engine, oil also acts as a coolant.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Review Questions - Click On The Picture To Begin...

How should a burning tire be cooled?
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Fire blanket
  • Never try to put out a burning tire
  • Water

Quote From The CDL Manual:

A burning tire should be cooled with water.

Next
During very hot weather, how often should you inspect your tires?
  • Every 4 hours or 200 miles
  • Every 2 hours or 100 miles
  • Every 3 hours or 150 miles
  • Ever hour or 50 miles

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Check the tire mounting and air pressure. Inspect the tires every two hours or every 100 miles when driving in very hot weather. Air pressure increases with temperature. Do not let air out or the pressure will be too low when the tires cool off. If a tire is too hot to touch, remain stopped until the tire cools off. Otherwise the tire may blow out or catch fire. A burning tire should be cooled with water.

Prev
Next
As tires get hot, air pressure rises, increasing the likelihood of a tire blowout. When encountering a hot tire, you should never do the following:
  • Let air out of the tire until the pressure returns to normal
  • Wait for the tire to cool down
  • Pour cold water on the tire
  • All of these can be done to reduce the risk of a tire blowout from overheating

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Check the tire mounting and air pressure. Inspect the tires every two hours or every 100 miles when driving in very hot weather. Air pressure increases with temperature. Do not let air out or the pressure will be too low when the tires cool off. If a tire is too hot to touch, remain stopped until the tire cools off. Otherwise the tire may blow out or catch fire. A burning tire should be cooled with water.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Be extra vigilant about your tires while driving through deserts or in very hot weather. Tires can get extremely hot resulting in blowouts or tire fires. Tire debris on the roadway becomes much more common during the hot summer months.

Prev
Finish
Please select an option
[4,2,1]
3

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More