Proactive corrosion prevention is a key to fleet longevity. Magnesium and Calcium super salts continue to cause repetitive and costly maintenance issues throughout the US. You would think the expense of billions of dollars in annual repairs would get the attention of the trucking industry- but this number isn't shrinking.
We can't control Mother Nature, and the state DOT's are resolute that chemical road applications are the best route to safer roads; so what are the options?
The first and most obvious is to work with equipment manufacturers to effect practical material changes that preclude corrosion as an issue. The issue here is cost, overall take-up and the fact that harsh road environments will continue to degrade even the best protected equipment. Hard and even rubberized coatings can be compromised by rocks and other road debris. These can chip away the protection and expose an area of equipment to corrosion. All it takes is one point of entry for the nitrates to migrate into the equipment structure to begin the corrosion process. That said, if you had a way to boost the potency of the protected equipment now available, wouldn't it be worth your current maintenance budget to investigate options?
If you already have some type of prescriptive wash program for your fleet- why not expand the scope of your operation to include undercarriage cleaning and protection as well? There are numerous examples of chemicals available that are very effective in cleaning road salts and inhibiting corrosion between equipment wash cycles. But if you don't focus on the underbelly of your equipment- the problem isn't going to solve itself.
The problem with most chemical guys is they have great stuff, but don't provide a practical way to apply it. Look for yourself- most will have some suggestion on application- some even provide a hand carried application tank- or suggest you put it in your manual pressure wash application. If you're running a handful of tractors and 20 trailers, manual application may be the way to go; but the practical reality is if you have a fleet of any substance, any type of manual application is not an effective method in terms of solving your issue on a regular basis.
When's the last time you've been to a car wash? Have you ever noticed the undercarriage wash application? If you're in the northern climes you've probably also seen the option for corrosion inhibitors as well. This isn't rocket science, and the technology exists to manage the undercarriage of your fleet. You might be worried about public perception if you've installed an exterior wash system or contract the washes out to preserve fleet image. But if the wheels fall of your shiny rig as it's rolling down the road, or more tragically if your driver can't stop because the brake pads have separated and departed due to rust, what's the point?
If you focus on aspects of keeping your fleet clean, you can win in the battle against corrosion. At the very least, you can delay and mitigate the onset of large scale corrosion and extend the life of your equipment. Corrosion prevention is a proactive process- and if you choose to keep your head in the sand, at some point the corrosion lion is going to come along and bite you in the rear.