Corrosion can cause severe damage to fleet vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, and equipment, as well as emergency response vehicles (ERVs) such as fire trucks.
De-icers used on the roads, while effective at keeping highways open, depending on their ingredients, can
cause havoc on fleet and ERV vehicles. The risk of irreversible destruction increases multi-fold if the vehicle maintenance program in winter does not include regular measures to break the bond and slow, if not eliminate, corrosion before it can cause costly damage.
What is Corrosion?
Corrosion is a process that can affect most types of metals, but can damage other materials as well, such as electrical wiring, gaskets, even ceramics. It is a gradual process that often starts out slowly but soon covers large areas of a vehicle very quickly.
As it does, it eats away at metal, breaks down any protective coatings on the vehicle, and can weaken the entire structure of the vehicle. This is why some ERV maintenance operations refer to it as the “silent enemy.”
Some examples of the silent enemy at work include the following:
- Almost by accident, a fireman noticed that an aerial device on a fire truck that was only five years old had become corroded. This severely compromised the structural integrity of the device. Had it not been discovered, it could have collapsed during a firefighting operation, potentially causing serious harm and risking human life.
- In another incident, a 100-foot aerial platform lost its rear axle when the U-bolts failed due to corrosion. Nobody was aware of the problem or the corrosion. This too could have caused serious harm and endangered human life. Fortunately, it did not.
- While today’s primers and paint used on ERVs are far more resistant to corrosion, it still happens, causing weeks of downtime and thousands of dollars in repaint costs.
Solution against Corrosion
Now that we are more aware of all the damage our silent enemy can cause, how can fire departments, emergency medical services and companies with large fleet protect their valuable equipment? According to Andrew Platt, account manager with Swish, who introduced this solution to several fire stations, prevention is key.
“Corrosion can start developing in the bottom corners of a fire truck. Maintenance crews must pay attention to these areas. If they see it developing, we are happy to work side by side and train their teams to apply our Haze Away solution to the truck exterior using a hydro foamer, a sprayer device that connects to a standard hose. The product works right away. Simply apply, rinse the area clean and then wash the truck as usual. By adopting this easy-to-implement maintenance practice, the corrosion can be prevented, keeping the vehicle in operation and saving thousands of dollars.”
For more information on ways to slow or eliminate corrosion on EVRs and other vehicles, contact a Swish representative.