They say cleanliness is next to godliness.
Well, it’s also mighty helpful when fighting corrosion, experts noted during a technical session Wednesday at the Technology & maintenance Council (TMC) Fall Meeting in Orlando.
A fleet that makes cleaning a priority “is going to save money,” says Webb Wheel’s Jim LeClaire. “And it can be a lot of money.”
In addition to LeClaire, Wednesday’s panel also featured fleet and OE supplier experts. With a focus on wheel ends, each panelist highlighted how important simple washing and cleaning routines can extend the life and reduce corrosion-related failures of wheels and braking components.
The chemicals being used on roads today are significantly more corrosive than previous solvents, and unlike regular salt, today’s chemicals don’t easily wash off road surfaces, or vehicles, during a light rain or simple hosing.
Today’s corrosive chemicals must be actively removed, says former TMC Corrosion Control Action Committee Chair Todd Cotier from Hartt Transportation.
Jim Smith from MBH Trucking says his fleet has implemented a washing schedule for all units that ramps up during winter months to keep corrosion risks down. Cotier has a similar strategy at Hartt, and says his fleet also has added a fall wheel and rim cleaning and painting schedule that best prepares the components for the winter elements.
The fleet leaders say their aggressive efforts have dramatically reduced corrosion’s impact on their fleets.
The OEs panelists also recommend year-round inspections for corrosion, which ensures that corrosive elements that do remain affixed to a wheel or brake in the spring don’t go unchecked until the next fall.