How do extreme climates affect trucks?

Extreme Climates and Truck Engines
Weather poses an array of issues for cars and driving. SSLA

The battery is involved in the engine, of course, and we've already discussed one big weather issue affecting both components: very viscous engine oil. The thicker the oil, the more energy it takes for the engine parts to move in the crankcase. In this way, the engine can lose some of its power output in extremely cold weather.

The bigger engine problems, though, occur in extremely hot climates. First, there's the problem of overheating. An overly hot engine isn't as efficient as a cool one, and stop-and-go driving on a hot day can lead to 200-degree F (93-degree C) engine temperatures. This affects power output.

In 200-degree heat, water in the engine compartment is turning into vapor, which can sometimes block the flow of gas through fuel lines. This further affects power output.

And on a hot day, air is less dense (the colder the air, the more densely packed the air molecules). With fewer molecules in any given amount of air, there's less oxygen available to ignite fuel -- further affecting power output.

This last issue is also a problem on particularly humid days, because water vapor is taking up some of the space that would otherwise belong to oxygen. So a very hot, very humid climate is about as rough as it gets for a hardworking truck engine.

To try to avoid engine failure in extreme climates, you can:

  • Go with a multi-viscosity (winter-grade) engine oil in extreme cold.
  • Go with a high-viscosity engine oil in extreme heat.
  • Check radiator fluids prior to summer months.

With a little knowledge and forethought, truck owners can reduce the chances of getting stranded at the worst possible time.

For more information on extreme climates and automobiles, look over the links on the next page.

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