Driver lounge horror stories

Updated May 17, 2012

I learned today more about our truck’s cooling system. Learned when I visited with our mechanic about it.

Diane and I woke up this morning at our vacation house in Florida. The freight brought us close earlier this week and we are staying to get some truck work done in Orlando. I got up early and drove the truck to the shop, arriving at 7:00 a.m.

As scheduled, our mechanic began work. I picked up all the parts when we were here on Wednesday to make sure everything was available. I handed them over to Joe. He worked in the parking lot today because all the bays in the shop were full. That enabled me to stay in the sleeper, an option much preferred over the driver’s lounge.

Part of the over-the-road truck driving experience is sitting in driver’s lounges for hours on end while waiting to get your truck fixed. Most of the lounges are tolerable. Some are actually quite nice. Some of the Freightliner dealer driver lounges we visited when we drove fleet-owner trucks were filthy pits that had not been cleaned in months.

Where dealerships are open 24 hours, you may share that space with a driver who spent the night in a reclining chair, smells like it too, and is snoring loudly while you sit nearby. When in a lounge, I like to sit quietly with the TV off and read but that never happens. Someone always comes in and turns the TV to the dumbest show that can be found on 99 channels and then passes his time by striking up a conversation with me.

Time moves slow in driver’s lounges. It was a treat today to spend my shop time in our truck sleeper.

When the work was done, the mechanic was proud to show me his work. As with the repairs done on Wednesday, he did an excellent job. When paying the bill, I asked to speak to the manager and told him how pleased I was with this man and his work.

The mechanic said he probably would not have replaced the hoses because they still looked good. The metal heater tube definitely needed replacing. It would have rusted through from the outside before long. The coolant that was drained looked good, he said. He took a sample for me that I will send to the same lab that does our oil sample testing.

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He did the flush and fill like I would have; adding cooling system cleaner, running the engine longer than the recommended time, working the heater on and off, thoroughly draining the system, flushing it with water, draining that and finally filling the system with new coolant. He then put the system through the paces again to make sure all air bubbles were out and everything was good.

Driving home, it felt good knowing the cooling system is in good shape and it is very unlikely that we will find ourselves broken down along the side of the road because of a blown heater hose or leaking heater tube.