How to get road ready for summer driving

Updated Jun 1, 2021

By Kim McDonnell

As a truck driver, most of your time is spent in the confines of your cab, and making sure it is clean and tidy is good for your physical health and mental health. Your truck is your home on the road, and keeping the interior and exterior clean, organized, and well maintained will protect not only you but your investment in that rig you drive.

Some RoadPro Council members weighed in with some great tips to keep your truck in tip-top shape not only heading into Summer but all year round: 

Ramona Hogue drives slip seat, and since she shares her cab with other drivers, she is especially mindful of keeping the truck's interior clean. “I spray a fine mist of rubbing alcohol everywhere on the inside, especially the seats, and then use a bucket of my favorite cleaner and a scrub brush, and basically wash down everything that is not cloth or glass,” she said. “I then clean the windows, gauges, and chrome handles and leave a damp cloth on the driver's side to wipe off my shoes as I get in and out.” She does this every time she makes a stop in order not to drag dirt into the truck.  She also uses a beach towel sewn at the sides to make a big pocket that she can then slip over the seat. This way, she is sitting on a clean seat and not having to worry about what another driver may have left behind.

Joanne Fatta drives for Four Seasons Produce and has had occasions where she has also slip seated. However, for the most part, she has a designated cab. “Currently, my company sanitizes trucks on a daily basis due to COVID, if you request it.” Commented Fatta, “But I always grab wipes daily and go over everything each day before I jump in.” 

Getty Images 1217298833Allen and Sierra Wilcher recommend using your air hose to blow out the dust from your dash, under your seats, and other areas where dust and dirt accumulate. Then wipe everything down with a damp cloth and a cleaning spray that cuts down on greasy residue. Sierra also likes to use a solution of water and white vinegar.  “The vinegar will kill germs and is safe to use on fabric; it is less irritating to the skin and is pet safe.” recommended Sierra, “It will also do a great job on glass, windows, and mirrors.”

Robert Greene also recommends that you pop out the vents and run a vacuum over everything and change out the air filters at least every three months. “This will keep the dust and dirt down and keep the air you are breathing in clean,” he said.

Kenyette Godhigh-Bell likes to use a Swiffer with wet pads to clean the floor surfaces of her truck. “I would also recommend a handheld vacuum and a small broom and dustpan to have on hand,” she commented.

Having a clean exterior as well as an interior goes a long with your customers. “Customer perception is key to be a success in this business,” said Lamar Buckwalter, “If a customer sees a clean truck that assures them you are taking care of what you are delivering to them and will result in repeat business.” He also said the DOT might not look at you as closely as a clean truck depicts that you take care of your equipment and your truck is well maintained. 

The council also had a few more tips. Make it a habit to do small things to keep your truck in the best shape, both inside and out. Simple things like having a microfiber towel handy to wipe down the dash daily, removing the trash regularly so it doesn’t pile up, or doing your laundry more often will make a big difference inside your cab. The same goes for the exterior; run it through that truck wash if you cannot be home to do it yourself, clean your windshield and mirrors frequently, do what you can to keep your truck looking good. 

Tip number one – Wash it and keep it clean! Every council member we spoke to said that having a clean truck reflects on you in a big way, not only with your customers you are delivering to but also the DOT.

Getty Images 839169520

Buckwalter likes to wash his truck thoroughly each time he comes home, and when he is out for an extended period will utilize the truck wash when he stops. He pays particular attention to the stains and soot his stacks create, removing the tar and bugs and thoroughly cleaning his tires. Various products are specific to cleaning your tires to make sure they are kept in great shape and prevent dry rot; he prefers those geared towards tire dressing. “Once in the Spring and again in the Fall, I use an engine and chassis degreaser to remove oil, tar, and grease from the undercarriage.”

Most of the council advised that when washing your truck, be sure to use a professional solution specific to washing a truck and use warm water.  Stay away from products that may not be specific for trucks or dish soap that can affect the paint job and remove the wax.  Once the truck is lathered up remove the soap suds with a squeegee and a clean sponge. Take a scrub brush and loosen up the dirt on your wheels and rims. Helpmate recently launched several great cleaning tools that you may want to check out specific to cleaning your truck. Rinse the exterior thoroughly, and some said they start by using buckets of warm, clean water followed by spraying away all the remaining suds with a hose.  Once the truck is dry, you may want to consider moving it to a shady spot and apply a good coat of wax. This will help protect your truck’s finish and make your truck look fantastic.

Help Mate Tire And Bumper Brush 013

After all, a clean truck can improve your mental well-being, decrease stress, keep you organized and just help you feel better. You might just get some compliments along the way too!


Kim McDonnell is the manager of Customer Experience for the RoadPro Family of brands.