Extreme weather and long periods of exposure to the elements can create severe wear and tear on any vehicle, even heavy-duty ones. Make sure your machinery and equipment are protected against extreme weather conditions for years to come with a SmartShelters Commercial shed.

A custom-designed SmartShelter is the ultimate way to protect your heavy vehicles from the elements year-round. But if you plan to keep your vehicles outdoors for long periods of time, make sure you carry out routine checks, cleaning, and maintenance to ensure the longevity, safety, and performance of your vehicle.

You may not notice the effects that extreme weather has on your vehicles over time as the damage can be gradual. However, you’ll definitely notice the improved performance and condition of your equipment and vehicles when you implement our care advice to protect your investments and the functions they perform.

How Does Extreme Weather Affect Heavy Vehicles?

When extreme weather sets in, you may notice your vehicles are affected as well. Extreme low or high temperatures can interfere with the mechanical and computerised systems, moving parts, and electrical connections that keep your vehicle running strong. 

Most elements and materials that make up the body of our vehicles are affected by temperature changes. Metals, fluids, and even the air in your tyres can expand and contract, fluids can freeze or evaporate, and rubber seals, gaskets, and belts can become stiff and brittle or melt.

These negative ramifications are made worse if you allow dust, dirt, and debris to build up on the surface, in the engine compartment,  or underneath your vehicle. It can cause corrosion and damage your body work, the vehicle’s interior, and cause mechanical or electrical parts to malfunction.

Cold weather effects on vehicles

When temperatures significantly cool down, it’s not only our plants, animals, and ourselves we have to protect from the elements. Your vehicles can be severely affected by lower temperatures too, so it’s important to be aware of the possible consequences:

  • Fluids such as oil, power steering, antifreeze, and brake fluids can thicken and move slower making starting your engine and driving in general feel sluggish.
  • Batteries produce less current or electrical power when it’s cold out.
  • Tyres lose air pressure as cold air compresses resulting in a shortened tyre lifespan, uneven tread wear, or even a flat tyre.
  • If any moisture from condensation gets in, icy fuel lines can inhibit fuel intake and make it hard to start your vehicle or keep it running.
  • Sand, salt, and mud cause corrosion to metal components of the vehicle which can impact multiple vehicle components.
  • Rubber components such as windshield wipers, motor belts, gaskets, and compounds in tyres become rigid in cooler temperatures which can cause them to become brittle and break.

Hot weather effects on vehicles

Warm weather, hot surfaces, and humidity can wreak havoc and create a hostile environment on your vehicles:

  • Oil in the engine thins out, meaning the oil doesn’t have the necessary viscosity to sufficiently lubricate some parts of the engine causing increased friction and possible engine damage.
  • As oil viscosity changes with increased heat, the chemical reactions in motor oil also result in the degradation of the oil requiring more frequent changes or higher viscosity oil.
  • Tyre pressure increases in the heat as air expands, resulting in shape distortion, decreased traction, uneven tread wear and tear, or even a burst tyre. 
  • Increased heat can exacerbate corrosion in the battery which can inhibit the current flow and shorten the battery’s lifespan significantly.
  • Heat can cause additional stress to your engine’s cooling system while in operation. If parts fail due to overheating, the engine is at risk of serious damage.
  • Excessive heat can cause pre-detonation in the fuel mixture and can damage your spark plugs or even pistons. When your vehicle isn’t burning fuel efficiently, you are simultaneously wasting fuel and increasing the risk of damage to your engine.

Humidity and aridity effects on vehicles

Humidity measures the amount of moisture in the air and this will vary with alternating seasons, changing daily temperatures, and regional and global weather patterns. While people tend to think about humidity in terms of how it affects them and their comfort, vehicles are also highly subject to the changes in ambient moisture in ways that people aren’t.

Dampness from the ocean or high humidity can accelerate rust on the undercarriage, in the engine, and on the body of your vehicle, particularly if there have been any nicks, dents, or dings. 

On the other hand, dry climates usually produce a lot of dust which can have a sandpaper effect on your vehicle damaging paint and corroding metals. You may also receive more sun exposure in dry climates which can cause paint to crack and bubble. 

How can I Protect My Heavy Vehicles From the Elements

Now that we’ve thoroughly established all the havoc that the elements can wreak on your vehicles, let’s talk about possible solutions. Some foresight into how your vehicles should be stored and some extra care taken to maintain and replace vulnerable components regularly can go a long way to increasing the longevity, performance, and condition of your heavy vehicles.

The Smart Solution to Protecting your Heavy Vehicles

Agricultural and industrial equipment is generally a business owner’s most valuable asset, both in terms of cost and the potential to generate revenue. It makes sense then that this equipment is given a good home – one that offers complete protection, lasts as long as the machinery inside, and does all that without costing an arm and a leg.

The best thing you can do to protect your vehicles from the elements is to store them in a protected and climate-regulated area such as a SmartShelter – this can protect both the interior and exterior of your vehicle as well as under the bonnet, the undercarriage, and the tyres. If all your parts are protected, year after year you will save significant amounts on repair costs, maintenance or – heaven forbid – replacement vehicles.

Reach out to SmartShelters today to learn more about our heavy vehicle sheds and storage solutions.

Other ways to Protect Heavy Vehicles from the Elements

  • Park in the shade to protect the interior and the exterior from direct sun damage.
  • Use a cover or tarpaulin to cover the vehicle where possible.
  • Wash your vehicle regularly to make sure no residual dirt, sand, or mud is left to corrode any exposed or damaged parts.
  • Check all your fluids such as the engine oil, coolant, power steering, transmission, and brake fluids regularly; and top them up as needed with the appropriate replacement fluids for the conditions.
  • Check the battery with a multimeter and do a visual inspection for any corrosion or buildup on the terminals. When cleaning the battery terminals, remember to wear gloves and safety glasses.
  • Check the air pressure and the wear on your tyres, and don’t forget to check any spare tyres which should also be fully inflated at all times. Make sure your repair kit is also functional, available, and accessible if you have one. 
  • If you don’t have time for a full clean, rinse down the vehicle regularly.
  • Inspect the belts and hoses when the vehicle is cold and switched off. Check for any cracks, fraying, nicks, bulges, or leaks.
  • You can use a vehicle battery protector to keep the temperature regulated and protect your battery’s health.
  • Keep your jump leads in the vehicle wherever you go to avoid ending up stranded.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full in cold weather to avoid icy fuel lines and start the vehicle regularly.
  • Use silicone spray on rubber components to prevent them from becoming hard.
  • Tilt wiper blades up before a storm so they don’t end up stuck under the weight of heavy snow or ice. 

Improving fuel efficiency in cold weather

Our fuel economy is negatively impacted by the cold weather, meaning we are spending so much more than we’d like to be on fuel during the winter months. A few techniques to improve your fuel efficiency will make a major difference to your bottom line:

  • Park your vehicle in a warmer place so you don’t have to warm it up when you take it out.
  • Minimise idling your vehicle to warm it up. By driving off gently after 30 seconds, your engine will warm up faster and decrease fuel costs.
  • Check your tyre pressure regularly as uneven tyre pressure will hurt fuel economy.
  • Use the recommended oil type for cold weather operations.
  • Reduce your use of seat warmers and defrosters when not needed.
  • Remove external accessories when not in use to decrease wind resistance.

If you’re concerned about your vehicle’s storage and want to ensure it has the shelter it needs to perform at its best for as long as possible, get in touch with the experienced professionals at SmartShelters today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options.