We were lucky enough to spend some time with Stan Saunders, HVAC Product Support for Road Choice on the most recent episode of the successful driver podcast. We asked him several questions about HVAC and he provided some great answers about what truck drivers need to know about their systems.
The environment has been on an upward trend with regard to temperature.
“The temperature outside has changed more so in the last few years, to where it’s super hot. And I don’t see that going away,” said Saunders.
Beyond just rising temperatures though is truck-related heat. “The temperatures around the truck because of the EPA is getting hotter,” said Saunders. “We’ve got EGR, DPF filters. All these things generate heat that we didn’t have in trucks in 2007. With the additional heat from the temperatures outside and the technology with the regulations, the temperature around the truck is hotter than it ever has.”
While the temperatures rise for various reasons, the technology for HVAC in trucks has been stead for the last 25 years. “We’ve been using the same AC refrigerant for 26 years,” Saunders said. “The technology is there, we’re doing the best we can when we’re making trucks.”
If your unit isn’t able to keep up even running correctly, it may be time to look for help. “If that’s not satisfactory then maybe they need to look at some auxiliary AC.”
Early indicators of issues
Truck drivers need to proactive about monitoring their HVAC. It can be an uncomfortable experience being without AC or with a failing unit for extended periods of time.
One thing Saunders suggests is monitoring the temperature of the cab. “I’d keep a constant eye on the temperature coming out of the outlets,” he said. “When a system fails, it’s usually one of two ways. It fails very abruptly or it fades away. I always recommend for drivers to keep a dash outlet thermometer. What you’re looking for is about a thirty degree drop from ambient temperature outside. If it’s 90 degrees outside, you’d want the outlets to be at about 60. If you see that you’re not getting your thirty degree drop and it’s gradual, you know that your AC isn’t working properly. It’s going to be a matter of refrigerant or components that need to be cleaned.”
If you are starting to experience issues, it’s important to get it addressed quickly. “Non-working AC systems laying around will get more damage, more contaminants in the system if it’s open for any reason and make the job more expensive to repair.”
You can find more insights from Saunders on the Successful Driver podcast.