10 Things (Other Than Tools) to Keep in Your Toolbox

Aluminum toolboxes are part and parcel to working in the trucking industry. They are especially important to flatbed truckers who are ultimately responsible for maintaining their trailers and protecting cargo. That’s why you see flatbed truckers having multiple toolboxes mounted on their tractors, headache racks, and even their trailers.

So what do they keep in those toolboxes? If you’re a veteran truck drive, you already know the contents of those boxes. However, If you are new to the industry, it may take you a while to assemble everything you want to have with you on board. In this post, we’ve put together a list of things to help get you started. Each of these items might miss your checklist until you actually need them.

1. Spare Headlamps

It is illegal for you to run your truck in the dark without both headlamps functioning properly. Driving down the road as a ‘one-eyed bandit’ is a good way to get yourself pulled over and subjected to a roadside inspection. You can minimize such risks by carrying one or two spare headlamps at all times. It only takes a few minutes to change one.

2. Assorted Bulbs

Along with your headlamps, you should have an adequate selection of miscellaneous bulbs on hand. That way you always have a replacement when any of your lights go out. Have whatever sizes you need to accommodate taillights, running lights, trailer lights, etc.

3. Spare Parts

Owner-operators tend to carry a larger selection spare parts to keep themselves rolling. Examples include a spare alternator, pulleys and belts, air boots, filters, and the like. Any parts that tend to have a need for frequent replacement and can be handled on the road would be candidates for your toolbox.

4. Extra Fluids

It goes without saying that the trucker should have extra fluids in his or her toolboxes. This includes motor oil, coolant, and hydraulic fluid.

5. Fuses and Circuit Breakers

Your truck’s electrical system is not going to function properly if there’s a failure in one of the fuses or circuit breakers. Not only should you carry an ample supply in your toolbox but you should learn how to quickly identify which fuses and circuit breakers match the various electrical systems on your rig. The faster you can change them, the faster you can get back on the road.

6. Flares or Emergency Flasher

Breaking down on the side of the road at night can be a dangerous situation. To increase your safety, carry flares or an electric flasher or to save up on space a flare and flashlight combo in your toolbox.

7. An Assortment of Fasteners

You know that old coffee can full of nuts and bolts your grandfather used to keep on his tool bench? You should keep a similar can in your toolbox. An assortment of fasteners – including zip ties – will prove to be a lifesaver many times over the course of your career.

8. Extra Bungee Cords

Every flatbed trucker uses bungee cords to tie down tarps. Most of the time, those cords are kept in a single location so they can be found easily. Keep a spare pack of 50 in the bottom of your toolbox to guarantee you will never run out. There’s nothing worse than falling a couple of bungee cords short of a load.

9. Heavy-Duty Flashlight

A flexible, plastic flashlight is good for most emergencies. Still, keep a heavy-duty flashlight in your toolbox just in case your cheap plastic model fails.

10. Tire Thumper

Last but not least is the trusty tire thumper. The tire thumper represents a quick and easy way to check tire inflation on the go.


Mesh Tarps: Perfect for Dump Trucks and Trailers

Flatbed truck drivers are not the only ones requiring an ample supply of tarps. Dump truck drivers need tarps to secure their loads too. We recommend mesh tarps for dump truck and trailer loads rather than solid poly or canvas tarps. Why? We will explain the reason in this post.

Our heavy-duty PVC mesh tarps have been specifically designed for dump trucks and trailers. They are your best bet for securing loads whether you apply tarps manually or use a mechanical tarping system.

Federal and State Regulations

The first question to ask is why dump truck drivers use mesh tarps. The answer is simple: federal and state regulations require that all loads being carried by commercial vehicles be properly secured en route. Even though a dump truck might be carrying gravel, stone, or in aggregate material, that material must be kept secure.

Federal regulations require that all dump truck loads be kept in place so as to prevent debris from flying off and striking another vehicle. However, please note that federal regulations only apply to vehicles involved in interstate travel. That’s why the states have their own regulations for cargo control. In many cases, state regulations are either identical or very close to their federal counterparts.

In the simplest possible terms, any load being transported in a dump truck or trailer has to be prevented from causing damage to other vehicles. The easiest way to do this is to simply cover the load with a tarp. Mesh tarps are the perfect choice because these provide adequate load control without the need for keeping the elements out.

Durable and Reliable

PVC mesh tarps specifically made for dump trucks and trailers are durable and reliable enough for even the toughest jobs. Our mesh tarps are made with the heavy-duty PVC-coated vinyl for maximum durability. Tarps include 6-inch vinyl pockets, tough brass grommets installed at 2 foot intervals, and webbing-reinforced seams.

While some dump truck operators use generic blue poly tarps purchased at the hardware store, we still recommend purpose built mesh tarps. These are going to last much longer. PVC mesh tarps are also less likely to develop mold and mildew because they are highly breathable, unlike generic blue tarps.

Lightweight and Flexible

Another great benefit of PVC mesh tarps is that they are lightweight and flexible. Their lighter weight makes it easier to affix them to tarping systems as compared to solid poly tarps. They are easier to handle even if you tarp your loads by hand.

As far as flexibility is concerned, a PVC mesh tarp rolls and unrolls easily. Mesh tarps are flexible enough that they do not tend to bunch up or get tangled in tarping systems either. They roll out and back up again with very little effort.

Usable with Tarping Systems

Last but not least is the fact that PVC mesh tarps for dump trucks are made to be used with most standard tarping systems. That’s why we market these tarps as purpose built for dump trucks and trailers. Why does this matter? Just try fitting a generic blue tarp to your tarping system and you will quickly figure it out.

Tarping a dump truck load is supposed to be as effortless as possible. Fitting your tarping system with a purpose-built tarp designed specifically for that use ensures easy and reliable operation. You will not be fighting your tarp with every load.

Mesh tarps are the perfect solution for dump trucks and trailers. If you are not using them on your rig, now is a good time to change that.