Van, Truck, Trailer, Bus and Coach Aftermarket News in Ireland

Flush away downtime

Gates highlights smart cooling systems maintenance ideas for reducing downtime on light commercial vehicles.

Courier vans play major roles in the activities of local businesses. Parcel delivery operations and logistics fleets can’t seem to manage without them. The ability to keep these high mileage vehicles running can generate new revenue streams for smart independent workshops.

Rising fuel consumption, white smoke from exhaust pipes, unusual noises and irregular water coolant levels are key indicators of problems with cooling systems. Gates solutions and online technical support could help reduce workshop downtime. They can add value to the workshop maintenance activities, too.

Online support
As well as aftermarket solutions such as belt kits that can include appropriate water pumps and thermostats for specific applications, Gates says preventive maintenance is a major part of a technician’s daily routine. Technical support that includes problem solving diagnostic help from the original manufacturer is vital.

Gates Cooling System Troubleshooting Guide and Gates Accessory Belt Drive System (ABDS) Guide are free to use online manuals available to download from

As well as providing help with major cooling system installation and maintenance procedures, technicians will find online support with tracing cooling system faults and finding solutions to problems. They are free to download after a simple sign-up process. A major benefit is that Gates will use the email to supply installers with tips and technical updates (they only send technical information – never commercial/sales).

However, in addition to parts and technical support, Gates says it’s also vital that technicians are kitted out with appropriate tools.

Tooling up
It doesn’t take long for an expert to identify premature water pump failure caused by accumulated sludge and scale deposits that should have been flushed out more efficiently. Workshops routinely use basic hoses and standard cleaning agents to clean out cooling systems as part of water pump replacement procedures. This reduces the risk from system contamination. It also takes a lot of time and the results are often inconsistent.

Gates warns that replacing water pumps on any vehicle – but particularly high mileage runners like courier vans on fleets – demands a more thorough approach. It explains that a system not flushed out efficiently whenever major maintenance is carried out, can increase the likelihood of vehicle downtime. That could threaten the future of a vital logistics contract. It also risks the loss of vehicle maintenance work.

Efficient flushing
As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of drive belts and tensioners for original equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket, Gates regards preventive measures as a major part of a technician’s daily routine.

The addition of a Power Clean Flush Tool to its range of specialist tools looks to have taken this to new level. A combination of water and air pressure delivers a controlled flow through the cooling system in a way that will not damage any of the other components. Radiators, heat exchangers, hoses and engine blocks can be safely treated. Significant reductions in vehicle downtime have been recorded, especially when used during jobs involving head gaskets, water pump failures or coolant contamination, says Gates.

Promising results
The accessibility of strong technical support and the availability of equipment such as this flushing tool are essential for cooling systems maintenance professionals. As well as increasing workshop efficiency, they help to protect reputations for reliability and efficiency that can take independent workshops – and fleet operators for that matter – a long time to build.