How You Can Keep Your Cab Temperature Livable Without Idling Your Truck.
In recent years, a new trend of anti-idling laws has cropped up in many places around the world, and Alberta could be next in line. These laws are meant to reduce waste and emissions from vehicles that are idling for long periods of time – affecting everything from long-haul trucks at rest stops to the huge cargo ships waiting in a port. The laws are for a good reason, but they often fail to account for the reason why the vehicles are idling in the first place: the weather outside can be extreme, and it’s often quite literally unsafe to be in a vehicle without heating or cooling for several hours.
In the winter, temperatures down to -40º C can only be kept at bay by running a heater in the cab. And in the summer months, when outside temperatures can reach +40º C or higher, a truck’s interior can heat up 10-15 degrees beyond that in just an hour – an absolutely fatal temperature for anyone inside. The conventional way of cooling the cab of a truck is usually with the truck running and using the diesel and electrical system of the truck. Getting the cold air off of the truck systems is a more complex process and requires a compressor to compress your refrigerant; so what is the solution to this considering idling laws are against running trucks in this fashion? That’s where Autoclima comes in.
Designed to be a workaround for anti-idling laws, Autoclima is a battery-powered technology that uses your daytime driving to charge itself and allows you to run air conditioning without having to start your engine. With up to 8 hours of battery life, it’s the perfect way to save fuel while keeping your cab at the perfect climate, and it won’t drain your engine’s battery either. Whether you’re at a lonely rest stop along the Coquihalla highway, or pulled over at a busy gas station outside of a major southern city, you can be sure you’re following any regional anti-idling laws while also staying comfortable – at any time, and in any season.
The Autoclima units can even be adapted to units that were built without A/C – such as older vehicles or big heavy equipment like trackhoes or tractors. It’s simple and quick, and will keep drivers happy during long hot days spent on the road or in the field. And since they run off batteries instead of fuel, your fuel costs will go down since engines will no longer need to idle to keep you sitting comfortably in hot weather conditions.
If you want the freedom and potential that Autoclima provides, look no further than West Tech Mobile! We can install and set up everything for you, keeping you in line with the law so you are saving engine hours and diesel fuel while silently using the free cold air on the days and nights you need it. We’re located in southeast Calgary, near 52 St and Peigan Trail, and from there we can do service all across southern Alberta with our fleet of mobile service vehicles. Contact us today to find out more!
Winter Stopping Components
We’ve already had a few blasts of winter weather here in Calgary, and as the season goes on, there’s bound to be days where you can’t avoid hitting the roads, even when they’re covered in ice. Modern vehicles have all kinds of safety systems built in to help you keep control on slick surfaces – but they rely on proper maintenance and upkeep in order to work their best and do what they’re meant to.
One of these systems is traction control, which is a real-time analysis of how your wheels are moving and whether they are getting any traction on road surfaces. The computers send power back and forth from one wheel to another to try and maximize friction and grip along the road surface, leaving you with (hopefully) better chances of not ending up stuck in a snowbank, or skidding out on the side of the road. Your heads-up display (HUD) on the dashboard should have lights or other indicators to show that the system is working, when your wheels are spinning on gravel, ice, dirt, etc. – and if not, then you know there’s an issue somewhere along the line.
Another system is your shock absorbers, which allow your tires to keep better contact with the ground while driving through rough or bumpy terrain. However, like all good things, they don’t last forever, and when they start to wear away, your driving experience can be significantly lessened: not only will your ride be bumpier and rougher, but factors like your stopping distance will be increased as well. Because bad shocks are less effective at keeping your tires down on the road surface, during a hard brake the rubber is likely to actually lift up off of it as the weight and momentum of the car builds up and releases again and again. From there, it’s simple math – less contact with the road, more time to stop. In fact, depending on speed, it can take an additional 15-20 feet to stop if your shocks are worn down, and in a potential crash situation, that can literally be the difference between life and death.
To know if your shocks are nearing the end of their usefulness, look for some common warning signs: besides the warning light on your HUD, listen for bumps or squeaks when you brake or drive over rough terrain; uneven wear on the tires; loose hardware at the connection points; or leaking fluid or increased wetness around the shield by the shock. A little bit of attention goes a long way!
As for anti-lock braking systems (ABS), they operate by preventing your wheels from locking up and skidding along a surface when the brake pedal is held. This allows for improved steering in a skid and less wear on the friction points when emergency brakes are held. In these systems, the computers track wheel speed, hydraulic pressure, air pressure, and other factors, and if they cross certain thresholds in combination – like when the hydraulic pressure increases while going highway speed – then the ABS system kicks in. It will input and remove pressure from the system, increasing and decreasing the braking ability, to allow for maximum control at the most efficient stopping speed.
There’s no doubt that these systems are great, and that their implementation has revolutionized the safety of the vehicles they are in. But they are all dependent on proper maintenance in order to function, and require systematic checks to make sure they are operating at their best potential. Don’t wait until the snow falls again, or an accident almost takes you out, before you think about what’s going on in your engine and throughout your vehicle. Be proactive, get everything looked at, and save yourself trouble and worry by knowing that you’re doing all you can in order to be safe on the road.
At West Tech Mobile, we are certified to inspect these systems and many others, and our knowledgeable technicians can make sure you’re roadworthy, even in our rough Alberta winters. With our fleet of service vehicles, we can even come to you for an added layer of convenience. Contact us today to find out more, and stay safe out there.
Hydronic Heaters like Webasto are the solution!
Over the past month, Calgary and southern Alberta have been blasted with some of the coldest weather on the planet – and when it’s creeping down to -40 on the thermometer, nobody wants to step outside and try to start their vehicle! Unfortunately, many industries can’t stop until it gets even colder than that, which means you might be doomed to the grind of plugging your truck in 24/7, hoping it starts (or having to call someone like us if it doesn’t), and waiting for it to warm up…all the while, knowing that the cold starts are doing damage to the engine.
Why not look into a better solution? After all, the service experts at West Tech Mobile have got one!
If you haven’t already heard about hydronic heaters like the Webasto coolant heaters, then you’re definitely in the right place! These heaters are connected to your coolant system, and greatly assist your engine’s starting capabilities in even the toughest cold weather – and you should/can even use it year round, as data has shown that up to 80% of all engine wear happens when trying to start it cold. Why put yourself, and your vehicle, through that stress if you don’t have to?
Think about how much more reliable, efficient, and durable your engine will be over the years with a coolant heater installed. You’ll save money on fuel and engine wear, by not starting it cold and having to idle so much, and that also means less pollution and maintenance overall, simply by adding this one feature! As a bonus, it even contributes to anti-theft protection, since you’ll no longer have to run your truck or equipment, unoccupied, before you get in it.
And speaking of getting in – you can also heat more than just your coolant! We can install an auxiliary cabin air heater at the same time, which will keep the air in your cab or sleeper warm even when the engine is not running. This means you don’t have to wait for the cabin heater to warm up the interior before you can comfortably be in there. It’ll be ready to go when you are! And it doesn’t matter if you start at 4 AM or finish at 4 AM, because you can program your Webasto to turn on and off whenever you need it to. Just compensate for the outside temperature when you’re setting times, and you’re good to go!
So how does it work? Well, for the low one-time cost of about $2295, we will install your Webasto coolant heater into your vehicle – and that price includes the peace of mind of knowing that our technicians are doing it right, with all the knowledge and software that they need to have everything running smoothly. It only uses 0.7 L of fuel per hour to run, which is approximately 20 times less than running your engine, and unlike block heaters, they do not require access to electricity or any external connections – so you won’t waste time hunting for an outlet or wondering who stole your expensive extension cord. All the heat generated by a Webasto goes into the coolant and circulates it, heating the entire engine block, rather than wasting heat out into the environment. It’s also noteworthy that if you start your engine cold, your DPF systems can clog up due to the exhaust soot. That’s why a Webasto system is perfect for equipment that’s sitting out in the elements, with versions that go up to 24 V for heavy-duty jobs.
So next time it gets cold, and you’re cursing the frost and the snow as you hope your engine starts – give us a call! Because if your truck doesn’t start, not only are you missing work, but you’re paying a service vehicle to come out and help, which is like a double hit. Save your money for yourself, and install a Webasto coolant heater. You’ll be glad you did! Give us a call at 403-265-5699 to get started today.
For more information on Webasto, visit their website by clicking here.
Calgary had a bitterly cold winter wake-up call over the past few weeks, as temperatures plunged to -30 C and lower throughout early December. That kind of weather is hard on more than just the humans stuck in it – it can easily cause all kinds of engine trouble for vehicles that are parked outdoors for hours at a time. Aside from having difficulty starting up, many vehicles also break down in extreme cold and are difficult to get started or won't start again. Unfortunately, it happens far too often in the winter!
The best way to avoid such unplanned breakdowns is to stay up-to-date on preventative maintenance, which goes a long way toward keeping your truck ready for the road. Of course, if you do break down, West Tech Mobile has three fully equipped service trucks licensed in Alberta, which we will gladly send out to help you if you find yourself stranded during this harsh winter weather.
When you have an emergency mechanical issue, the delay is going to interfere with your personal plans and your business timelines, and will most likely create issues with delivering goods and services to your customers. If, despite your best efforts, you break down somewhere, we will help you fulfill your obligations by getting you up and running, as quickly as we can. To that end, sometimes it is more efficient and cost-effective for us to come to you, than it would be for a tow truck to bring you in to a service shop.
For example, the Trans-Canada Highway, west of Calgary and heading into the mountains, is notorious for breakdowns in the winter months. If you are stuck there and your engine has gone into “Limp Mode”, preventing you from moving, give West Tech Mobile a call and we will send a truck to your location. We’ll analyze the situation, and likely be able to repair your truck on the spot, depending on the circumstances. This saves you a substantial amount of money by avoiding towing fees. Some service trucks are simply pickups with some basic supplies, but we have fully-equipped trucks with cranes, welders, air compressors, boosters, computer diagnostic equipment, and more. From an empty fuel tank to a computer malfunction light illuminated on your dash, WTM has the technical ability and the equipment to come out and get you back on the road.
If, as happens from time to time, we cannot repair your vehicle at the site, we have a relationship with tow truck companies to bring it back to our repair facility, at our shop in the SE industrial park of Calgary. Either way, you’re getting the best deal, and we will aim to have you back on track and minimize the disruption to your schedule.
To catch up on your preventative maintenance or to find out more information about the services we offer, call us at 403.265.5699, or visit our beautiful shop at #22, 5555 51 Ave SE, in Calgary, Alberta. We look forward to meeting you and discussing how we can help with your business.
Preparing Your Semi Truck or Heavy Equipment For Winter
Living in Canada is great for a lot of reasons, but one of the facts of life here is that winters can be harsh. With temperatures that range from bitterly cold and icy to above-zero and slushy, your vehicle has to put up with some intense environments between October and March every year. While most people take some preventative action for winter, like installing winter tires, there are actually some often-overlooked steps you can take across all your vehicle’s systems to make sure that everything is running in top shape – before the really cold weather hits. Here’s what we recommend at West Tech Mobile:
It’s a good idea to get your vehicle inspected to make sure it’s winter-ready. Book in with West Tech Mobile here in Calgary, Alberta, for a quarterly inspection so you avoid any costly surprises over the coming months. With that peace of mind, you’ll be glad you did!