Fleets pay millions of dollars annually for electrical system repairs. One of the main causes of electrical system problems is the damaging effects of corrosion caused by road salt, de-icing agents, extreme cold or heat, vibration, flexing, grit and sand. Additionally, magnesium chloride or calcium chloride used to salt and de-ice most roadways can be problematic for electrical connections and wiring as well as dissimilar metals on the truck (i.e. electrical connectors, sensors, nuts, bolts, battery straps, etc.).
Dissimilar metals are always an area of concern for corrosion. Wherever two metals meet—such as instances in which the bottom rail of the trailer is riveted or bolted to the steel cross members—it creates a potential corrosion cell. One metal will inherently be stronger than the other, and ions will try to pass from one to the other. Adding moisture to that equation gives the ions a path to travel and completes the corrosion cell. Implementing routine inspections and a quality maintenance program is the best way to protect truck components from rust and corrosion, ultimately increasing fleet uptime and reducing overall maintenance costs.
SKF, makers of the line of Krown rust protection products, recommends the following maintenance tips:
- Soaking down the vehicle with a detergent, then power washing thoroughly will reduce the ability for chemicals and other debris to draw in the moisture and accelerate the corrosion process.
- Apply penetrating lubricant with a high dielectric strength to problem areas on the electrical system. These areas include, but are not limited to, plugs; ECU; wiring harnesses; battery terminals; and exposed wiring. It can also be used to protect the body, chassis, dump beds, salt spreaders or moving parts.
- To correct the damage caused by corrosion, it is recommended to use a solvent-free rust inhibitor that is environmentally friendly. However, 95% of all rust inhibitors in today’s market are made with solvents, which are hazardous to the environment, dangerous to the user and damaging to paint, plastic and rubber. They can also leave surfaces vulnerable and brittle as a result, which could lead to further corrosion.
Be sure to choose the right rust protection solution to help reduce downtime and save money from repairs needed due to rust. For more info, visit SKF’s website.