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Unlocking the secret of durability: How a Webasto Air Top Evo 40 achieved nearly 20,000 working hours in the harsh Canadian climate – Truck News

A Case of Exceptional Longevity:  An Air Top Evo 40 air heater from Webasto thrives in Canadian conditions, with nearly 20,000 working hours—tenfold its warranty period. We tried to unveil the secret to the longevity.

In 2014, Simon Hamelin, a skilled technician at Excellence Peterbilt, installed an Air Top Evo 40 air heater in a Peterbilt 337 truck in Sainte-Julie, near Montreal, Canada. Little did he know, he was setting up a heater that would become famous for its incredible long-lasting performance. This special Peterbilt 337 truck is part of a fleet run by the family-owned Excellence Peterbilt dealership. It’s one of many trucks that stay comfortably warm and dependable thanks to Webasto air heaters, a real asset in Canada’s harsh weather conditions.

Eight years later, in mid-2022, the heater began showing signs of wear. Undeterred, Simon initiated a comprehensive diagnostic test. Connecting his laptop to the unit’s “electronic brain” via USB and serial ports, he scoured real-time and historical data, as well as fault codes and other diagnostics. What he discovered was bittersweet: the unit had reached the end of its service life—yet buried in the data were two extraordinary figures: 19,554.38 working hours and 38,207.12 operating hours.

Behind the numbers—what ‘working’ and ‘operating’ truly mean

Working hours represent the time the heater actively burns fuel, whereas operating hours simply indicate the heater is on. “As soon as the switch is activated, the unit is considered ‘operating’, but it’s not actually ‘working’ unless it’s consuming fuel,” Simon explains. The data revealed an astonishing truth: not only had this particular Webasto Air Top Evo 40 outlasted its warranty by six years, it had run almost 10 times longer than anyone could have reasonably expected.

“To put it simply, I was astonished,” remembers Hamelin. His awe was echoed throughout the dealership. When he shared the report with his boss, Dany Grant, the service coordinator for Excellence Peterbilt, their response was mutual disbelief. “When I saw those numbers, I couldn’t help but exclaim, ‘Are you kidding me?’” Grant recounts, adding, “Simon used that heater incessantly during cold seasons. It’s off in the summer, sure, but as soon as fall hits, that thing is back on.”

The secret sauce—getting the specs right

So, what lies at the heart of this heater’s extraordinary durability? Francois Deslauriers, the regional Webasto sales manager for Eastern Canada, offers a seasoned perspective, unshaken by the unit’s performance: “The key to longevity lies in selecting the right heater size for the application,” Deslauriers elucidates. He emphasizes that an over-specified heater results in inefficiency and accelerates carbon buildup, while an underpowered unit taxes the system, shortening its operational life. “Given that this particular heater was precisely calibrated for its task, it most likely operated on medium or high settings frequently, minimizing the risk of carbon accumulation. This precision in sizing could very well be the linchpin for its remarkable longevity,” he posits.

Deslauriers also stresses that this level of performance is attainable by any customer who chooses the right product for their needs. “You cannot put a Webasto Air Top Evo 55, which produces 19,000 BTUs of heating power in the bunk of a class eight sleeper cab – it’s way too big for the area. The reason this one heated for more than 814 days is because it was well specified for the task at hand.” Besides the right specs, Deslauriers emphasizes the role of installation quality and ongoing maintenance—even during off-seasons. “Occasionally running the unit during the summer months can prevent issues down the line,” he adds.

An extraordinary mileage—beyond expectations and savings

“Webasto offers an industry-standard two-year, 2,000-hour warranty for good reason,” Deslauriers says. “But this one Webasto Air Top Evo 40 air heater went way beyond our expectations, and I believe it’s because when Webasto units are spec’ed correctly, they’re installed correctly, people are trained on how to use them correctly, and then when all users perform preventive maintenance correctly, you can expect to maximize product performance.”

Not only does this long-lasting durability translate into optimal functionality, but it also manifests as significant financial benefits over time: “We estimate that over the course of the almost 20,000 working hours on our amazing little Webasto Air Top Evo 40 air heater, Excellence Peterbilt saved approximately $133,000 in fuel, by not idling the vehicle’s engine for heat in the working service compartment,” calculates Grant. “And that value doesn’t even take into consideration the savings from reduced maintenance, fewer replacements of our diesel particulate filters, or the environmental impact of burning so much less fossil fuel.”

In the frigid landscapes of Canada, the Webasto Air Top Evo 40 didn’t just survive; it became a quietly extraordinary testament to the value of quality engineering, proper maintenance, and eco-conscious operation. Nearly 20,000 working hours later, this air heater has not only defied expectations but also reminds us that reliability and sustainability can be one and the same.

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