One of the great challenges that most fleet companies are facing is the issue of vehicle corrosion. Heavy duty equipment such as bucket trucks are not exemp to this particular issue. Rust can result in severe body rot as well as wiring harness and parts failure. Trucks and their parts that are poorly protected from corrosion can be hazardous. Staying at the forefront of this particular issue will greatly benefit the company. Preventing rust means extending the life of the equipment, projecting a professional and rust-free company image to consumers, and lowering overall costs and equipment downtime.
There are three types of products available on the market that can be applied to the equipment in order to control corrosion: cathodic protection; wax and tar; and oil:
• Cathodic Protection – This type of protection will bring metal closer to its immune state thus protecting the metal by reducing the rate of corrosion and reducing such potential. This type of protection is commonly applied to metal structures, pipelines, and water vessels. Some people have tested and tried this type of protection applied to equipment but in a different type of environment. These types of protection are not applicable with equipment on which de-icers are the primary cause of corrosion. De-icers usually initiate the chemical reaction on the equipment’s metal parts which produces rust.
• Wax and Tar– These rust control products dominated the market during the mid-1980s. Although wax and tar have been seen as great applications that could eliminate and protect metal from corrosion, they cannot be readily used on areas that are not easily accessible. Furthermore, they can also allow salt and other rust-causing moisture to get trapped because the product’s essential features usually dry out and crack easily and corrosion is accelerated on exposed metal surfaces. In addition, it is not recommended and actually it is ineffective to reapply these products yearly because wax and tar do not penetrate and actually leave prior applications exposed to cracks. Wax and tar will sit on water, so it is recommended that prior to the application of this type of product, be sure that the metal surface is dry in order to prevent rust acceleration.
• Oil– These products had been widely used by the industry to prevent rust for many years. Oiling can be done yearly or can be done as recommended by the equipment’s manufacturer. One of the major advantages of oil product application is it can easily penetrate areas that are hard-to-reach and neutralize the harmful rusting effects to metals. In fact, when oil products are applied to a rusty vehicle, it can actually halt the corrosion process. They can be thinner (less viscous) or heavier (more viscous). Thinner oil versions are best for areas that are hard-to reach since it has the ability of better penetration, while heavier oil versions are best for prolonged protection of the metal areas being treated. For instance, thinner oil products are best for fenders, doors, hoods and areas under fuel tank and engine compartments; heavier oil products are best for areas such as frame rails, underside and wheel wells.
Finally, bucket trucks should be properly maintained and fleet managers must see to it that these trucks are free from rust in order to use them more effectively and safely during every bucket truck application. By preventing corrosion to any of the bucket trucks, managers are sparing the company from spending for costly parts repair or replacement. So that’s the story – don’t let rust happen to bucket trucks!