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Avoiding coolant-related heavy-duty engine failures

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Jason Morgan is the editor of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 14 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

Fifty-three percent—that’s the percentage of catastrophic, premature diesel engine failures directly related to improper cooling system maintenance techniques and habits, according to filter manufacturers. Filtration plays a key role in coolant maintenance.

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Using the proper coolant filter can prevent scale, leakage and erosion in the cooling system. The filter captures damaging contaminate that may contribute to water pump leakage, hot surface scaling and erosion driven by particulate. A complete preventive maintenance regimen consists of a quality, fully formulated coolant that meets all of the engine manufacturer’s requirements, and the use of superior coolant filtration to remove debris and contaminants that build up in coolants over time.

As a rule of thumb: A standard service filter interval is less than 500 hours or 25,000 miles. Extended service interval filters are recommended for use up to one year, 150,000 miles or 4,000 hours, whichever comes first, on engines with coolant systems up to 20 gallons.

Nevertheless: It is important to regularly check the coolant concentration and track the depletion rate of additives using a coolant system test kit. Be sure to follow sampling practices set by the engine or vehicle manufacturer, and if those are not available, a general guideline is to test the coolant twice a year.

In addition to regular testing of the coolant, periodic draining and flushing is recommended because, while coolant filters capture large contaminants and release SCA into the system, sediment can accumulate in the coolant system and act as an insulator, preventing heat dissipation.

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