6 Helpful Tips for Tank Driving in the Upcoming Summer Heat

The open highway on a hot summer day

Spring is in the air, and while the temps might be mild now, we all know what is on the horizon: heat. It feels like it doesn’t take long for the triple digit weather to approach, especially depending on where you live in the United States. That being said, it’s best to get your vacuum tanker prepared early, as the heat can really take a toll on your equipment. 

Here at FlowMark, we have some tips that could help make sure that you are prepared well in advance. Keep reading to learn more!


Tip #1: Invest in good, quality tires.

Even if you are driving one of the best vacuum tankers that we offer at FlowMark, if you’ve outfitted your truck with poor quality tires, you are in bad shape. Tires take the brunt of the wear and tear we face while out on the road or job site, and it’s important to keep them up to standard. 

Not only that, but do a routine inspection before going out on the road, including checking over mounting and air pressure. When the temps outside heat up, the air pressure in our tires naturally increases. Overly inflated tires can do a number on our gas mileage, which given the cost at the pump at the moment, this is something you really want to avoid.

As a good rule of thumb, inspect your tires every two hours or every 100 miles while out in extreme heat. If you notice that your tires are over on air pressure, don’t try to let it out yourself. You may accidentally burn yourself on the hot rubber. Rather, try to park in the shade for some time and let them deflate naturally.


Tip #2: Check your engine oil.

Engine oil performs two primary functions: it lubricates the engine while also cooling it. Before getting on the road, ensure that you have an adequate amount in the tank. While driving your vacuum tanker, keep an eye on the temperature gauge on your dashboard. This will be a good indicator if there is an issue going on while you are driving. When this happens, pull over into a shaded or covered area and allow your vehicle to cool down. 


Tip #3: Check all other engine fluids.

Antifreeze does more than the name suggests. It doesn’t just keep the engine from freezing up in the winter, but it also performs some important functions during the summer as well. Prior to heading out to your next job site, make sure that you have enough water and antifreeze in your system. This will ensure that your vehicle stays running smoothly as you work. 

Keep an eye out on your dashboard while you drive. There should be several indicators that show water temperature and/or coolant temperature. If you notice that something is overheating, pull over immediately to investigate. Continuing driving could lead to an engine failure or even a fire.

NOTE: Never try to remove the radiator cap or any other part of a pressurized system until everything has completely cooled down. This could lead to severe burns and damage to the eyes or face.

Engine gauge overheating


That being said: take care of yourself, too!

Yes, the vacuum tanker is important, but it is nothing without its driver. In harsh or extreme weather conditions, it is vital to remember to take care of yourself, too. These next three tips are for the tank drivers.


Tip #4: Remember to stay hydrated.

It can be easy to forget to drink water while you are working and driving. Especially for someone who operates a vacuum truck, you have to get in and out of the cab all day. Even if the cab has air conditioning, you still need to stay hydrated. Invest in a good, insulated water bottle and fill it with ice water each morning. Keep it next to you while you work and remember to pace your water intake throughout the day.


Tip #5: Don’t forget sun protection.

Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses: this is the triple crown of sun protection. While you wouldn’t forget to pack these things for a trip to the beach, they are just as vital while driving a vacuum tanker. It is possible to get sunburned even while sitting in the cab, so remember to apply sunscreen before heading out for the day. This is especially important if you need to actually get out and service any outdoors septic tanks or portable restrooms.

As for a hat and sunglasses, these are great for when you’re in the cab as well. The UV rays from the sun can be dangerous for eye health. Not to mention while driving and staring down at a hot blacktop for hours can definitely make your eyes ache and even give you a headache. Before leaving headquarters, make sure you grab your shades and your favorite company branded ball cap.


Tip #6: Pay attention in traffic.

While this is something many think of during the winter time, as ice and snow can spell bad news for drivers, it’s just as important to be mindful of it once the weather is warm. During the summer, there tends to be more road construction, meaning that road crews are hard at work. This can create closed lanes, backed up traffic, and possibly even detours.

Another thing to consider is that kids are out of school and more people are traveling with their families. This also means more teen drivers are out on the road during typical business hours. Heavier traffic can mean more dangers for tank drivers. Keep your eyes peeled and always practice defensive driving. 


The Bottom Line

Here at FlowMark, we know you have a vital job year round. In this industry, work tends to pick up in the summertime. This is especially true if your expertise is geared toward servicing portable restrooms, as they are a must-have at outdoor concerts and events. That being said, it is never too early to start preparing for the extreme temperatures we are sure to face in just a few month’s time. Remember to take care of your truck and yourself when heading out on the road!