Submerged Tractor and Trailer Wheel Ends: Guidelines for Inspecting and Restoring

From hail storms and high winds to fog and heavy rain, each season brings its’ own unique challenges to the transportation industry. Though fleets and professional drivers are trained and well-prepared for all sorts of extreme weather, an unprecedented weather pattern or an unusually strong storm can test even the most experienced and prepared professional.

Hurricane season 2018 was exceptionally challenging for many fleets as two record-breaking storms hit back-to-back. Relentless rain and wide-spread flooding in the southeast left many of the area’s major roads and highways underwater. Stretches of 1-40, I-95 and US Route 70 were impassable for days and flood waters left many vehicles stranded either partially or fully submerged in water.

Lumberton, NC: Many roads leading to town flooded including I-95 pictured here.(Bradley Logan/NGB-SRSC)
Rain, storm surges and overflowing rivers left many vehicles along the southeastern coast with water damage. (photo courtesy

Hurricane Florence, making landfall Sept 2018, was the wettest tropical cyclone ever reported in North Carolina and the eighth-wettest overall in the contiguous United States. From September 13th to the 15th, heavy rain continued drenching the Carolinas as the storm refused to leave the area.

Just a few weeks later, Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle as the strongest storm to make landfall in the continental US since 1992. It was also the first Category 4 storm to ever hit the area.

The storms challenged many fleets by leaving a wake of damaged vehicles behind, seemingly overnight. Water damage was prevalent, and even after the rain moved out, storm surges and overflowing rivers continued to compound the issue. Once a tractor trailer has been submerged in water, certain components, such as the wheel-ends, can begin to corrode. Exposure to salt water, because of its’ corrosive nature, is even worse.

Water can cause wheel ends to corrode – degrading lubricants and metal components. Salt water, because of its’ corrosive nature, is even worse.

Faced with a number of units now out of service, fleets had to react quickly to begin the process of accessing and repairing the damage. Even if damage is not immediately evident, inspecting and restoring a water-damaged unit before placing it back into service is critically important and can help avoid a possible catastrophic failure in the future.

Learn more about the proper procedures and guidelines for restoring submerged tractor and trailer wheel ends in this free downloadable guide from Timken.

Download this free 4-page pdf, “Restoration Guidelines for Submerged Tractor and Trailer Wheel Ends” to learn more about inspecting and safely restoring a water-damaged unit.

Ryder Fleet products is a subsidiary of Ryder System, Inc. – a Fortune 500 commercial fleet management, dedicated transportation and supply chain solutions company.

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