Truck Tarp Terms Every Flatbed Driver Should Know

The internet is a great source of information for new flatbed drivers trying to figure things out. But it can be somewhat amusing to read online conversations between veterans and newbies. The newbies are desperately looking for answers while the veterans are using terms the rookies just do not understand. Sometimes they have to go back and forth for a while before both are speaking the same language.

One of the hardest things about mastering flatbed trucking is learning how to cover loads. Truckers call this tarping, and it is a critical skill for succeeding as a flatbed driver. It helps new drivers to learn the terminology so that they can have productive discussions with veterans.

To that end, here are some truck tarp terms that every flatbed truck driver should know:

1. Tail

Sometimes known as a flap, the tail is an extra piece of material that hangs off the back of the load. Some tarps have an additional flap for the front, in cases when a trailer doesn’t have a bulkhead. The point of the tail is to provide that added protection at the rear. As an added benefit, the tail also helps truck drivers better position their tarps by giving them a centering reference point.

2. Drop

Every flatbed load has to be accounted for in terms of both width and height. The term ‘drop’ refers to the height of the load – from the bed of the trailer to the top. Let us use some simple numbers to illustrate this. A load that sits 8 feet high and 8 feet wide has a drop of 8 feet on either side. Covering the load entirely would require a tarp at least 24 feet wide. Remember that you have to account for the top surface as well as both drops.

3. Gusset

Seamstresses and tailors know the gusset as an extra piece of material sewn into a garment to allow for movement. In the truck tarp arena, a gusset is also one extra piece of material. But it is not there to allow for movement. Rather, the gusset serves as an extra rain flap.

Gussets are sewn into each side of the tarp, along the back edge. Once the tarp is folded down to cover the drop, gussets are folded across the back of the load and over the top of the tail. It is a lot like that extra paper you have when wrapping a Christmas present. You fold it over on the sides and tape it down.

4. D-Rings

D-rings are just what their name implies: rings manufactured in the shape of a ‘D’ and sewn into tarps at regular intervals. They are reinforced by extra material and stitching so that they do not pull out under load. The purpose of the D-ring is to provide an anchor point for bungee straps or a loop through which a webbing strap can be threaded. D-rings help keep tarps in place.

5. Tarping System

Last but not least is the tarping system. This term is used to describe a complete system consisting of aluminum frame, tarp, and motor used to deploy tarps automatically. Such systems are found most often on dump trucks and trailers. But they can be used with side kits as well. A tarping system virtually eliminates all the work of deploying tarps.

Now you know some of the most common tarping terms in the flatbed trucking industry, it is time for you to start stocking your truck with the tarps, straps, and edge protectors necessary for doing your job. You will find everything you need right here at Mytee Products.


How to Maintain Your Electrified Fencing

Regular  Mytee Products blog readers know that we sell electrified fencing components to farmers, ranchers, and casual animal owners. We believe in electrified fencing as an effective way to keep animals confined without exposing them to barbed wire fencing. In light of that, we want to remind customers to maintain their electrified fencing after installation.

As effective and affordable as electrified fencing is, it needs proper care and maintenance to remain in good working order. A failure to maintain, could lead to issues. As residents of Rock County, Wisconsin recently found out. A recent spate of loose animals wreaking havoc on county roads has led to county ordinance changes.

Loose Animals Causing Problems

Rock County is a fairly rural county in the southern portion of the state. It offers mile after mile of country roads with breathtaking scenery all around. The county is also home to dozens of cattle escapes every year. Local police say the problem is mainly due to inadequate and improperly maintained fences.

Unfortunately, allowing cattle to escape puts both them and drivers in danger. Rock County residents have seen an increase in cattle-related accidents over the last three years, some of which have resulted in serious injuries. Many times, the animals have to be put down.

Rock County officials hoped to change that when they recently gave police the authority to issue citations for loose cattle. Animal owners can now be fined up to $100 for a first offense and $200 for subsequent offenses. Local leaders hope the citations and fines will be enough to motivate animal owners to maintain their fencing.

Maintaining an Electrified Fence

Whether or not you could be cited should have no bearing on fence maintenance. If you are putting money into fencing wire, energizers, posts, etc., does it not make sense to protect your financial investment by keeping things in good working order? Sure it does.

The good news is that maintaining an electrified fence is neither difficult or costly. There is not much to it:

Broken Wires – Routine inspections will identify broken wires sooner rather than later. It is very easy to remove a section of wire and replace it with a new section. Inspections also identify problems with posts and energizers.

Post Replacement – Electric fence wire does not put nearly the same amount of stress on fence posts as barbed wire. Still, there are times when posts are damaged by the weather or some other external force. A post that is no longer doing its job should be replaced right away.

Grounding – Next to broken wire, the biggest concern with electrified fencing is grounding. If your fence is not grounded properly, no current will run through it, rendering it ineffective. Property owners should routinely check to make sure grounding wires have not been damaged or dislodged.

Solar Energizers – If you are using solar energizers, it pays to check on them every now and again. Solar components do wear out, and you might never know without putting a voltmeter on your fence and measuring energy output. You can also help your cause by making a point of keeping the solar collector surfaces clean. You do not want anything inhibiting sunlight from keeping your energizer charged.

Electrified fencing is only as effective as the condition it’s in at any given time. To make sure you get the most out of your investment, put in the time and effort to maintain your fencing. A little bit of routine maintenance goes a long way toward keeping things in shape.

 


Tips for Maintaining Side Kits and Tarps

With winter fast approaching, you may find yourself using your side kit more frequently. Winter weather has a way of doing that. A good side kit with the right tarps may be just what a shipper is looking for before it releases that load you have agreed to carry. As with anything else you might purchase from Mytee Products, we always recommend taking good care of your side kit and tarps by paying attention to routine maintenance.

Below are some tips for maintaining side kit equipment. Note that side kits come in standard sizes and configurations. Make sure you are using the right parts with your kit. Also make sure you’re using the right kinds of tarps. Remember that a tarp design for a site kit is a fitted tarp. It should fit tightly over the frame with no leftover material to flap in the wind.

Check Rails for Abrasion Points

The rails that form the top of a side kit carry most of the weight of the tarp on top. They also provide plenty of contact points that could cause tarp damage. We recommend routinely inspecting rails to make sure there are no sharp points or areas of abrasion. Such hazards are pretty common in flatbed trucking.

Perhaps you are not extremely careful about laying rails down on the bed of your trailer during disassembly. You may toss your rails into a pile as you’re working. That’s fine, except that it’s a good way to damage them. All we are saying is that you should routinely inspect side kit rails in order to preserve your tarps.

Replace Damaged Posts

The posts that came with your side kit should offer you many years of reliable service without issue. But posts wear out like anything else. They can also be damaged by rogue forklifts, shifting cargo, road debris, and a lot of other things. So routinely inspect them along with your rails. Any that are damaged should be replaced as soon as possible.

Posts that are bent might be salvageable as long as the angle is not too severe. But note that the best way to straighten a bent post is by putting it in a vice and applying pressure evenly. If you simply slip a bent post into a trailer housing and yank on it in the opposite direction, you run the risk of harming its integrity.

Inspect Side Kit Tarps

As previously mentioned, side kit tarps are fitted tarps. Every time you deploy one you should be checking to make sure that the fit is good and tight. Any loose fabric is a sign that the tarp might be wearing out. Of course, you should also be looking for rips and tears at the same time.

If you notice an area of the tarp that seems to be wearing out at a particular junction where it makes contact with rails or posts, it’s a good idea to deploy a few edge protectors at that particular area until you can figure out exactly what’s causing the problem. It may take you an extra minute or two but inserting edge protectors could save you the cost of buying a new tarp.

In closing, keep in mind that severe winter weather can do a number on your side kit. Just be extra vigilant during the winter months to do routine inspections and address any minor maintenance issues. Handling minor issues right away will keep them from becoming significant issues later on. With all that said, feel free to browse our inventory of side kit tarps in preparation for the coming winter.


Tips for Using Loading Ramps in Winter Weather

Flatbed trucking does not take a break during the winter. It may slow down for certain kinds of loads, but flatbed truckers keep the wheels moving year-round. That means they have to adapt the way they work to account for potentially dangerous winter conditions. Consider the possibility of using trailer loading ramps to get a piece of heavy construction equipment onto the back of a trailer.

Regardless of weather conditions, loading ramps should be deployed with care. That’s why manufacturers recommend being extremely cautious. In the winter time though, the hazards normally associated with loading ramps are exacerbated by snow, ice, and even cold temperatures. Truck drivers have to be extra careful.

 

Below are some helpful tips that could make a real difference should you have to use your loading ramps during the coming season.

1. Wear Heavy-Duty Gloves

You should always be wearing gloves when you are working with your loading ramps. In the winter though, gloves are even more important. Cold temperatures can make your hands go numb pretty quickly. A good pair of gloves, would prevent any physical harm.

The other thing to remember is that loading ramps themselves will be extremely cold. Working without gloves could lead to frostbite. If your skin is wet or damp when you first touch a loading ramp, it could freeze to the surface of the metal. That would not be a fun situation to be caught up in. The point  here is that heavy-duty gloves are non-negotiable during the winter.

2. Ramps Should Be Free of Ice

Before any loading takes place, your ramps should be completely free of ice and snow. You can use a commercial deicing product in the form of a liquid or spray to keep them clean. Some truck drivers carry a rubber mallet in the toolbox instead. A couple of whacks with the mallet will get rid of ice pretty quickly.

3. Look for Clean, Dry Surfaces

You know enough about truck loading ramps to look for flat, level surfaces on which to deploy them. The flat and level rule still applies during the winter. But let us go one step further. You should also look for surfaces that are clean and dry. Otherwise you risk the very real possibility of your loading ramps shifting on you.

Where loading ramps meet the ground, you should have a clean and dry surface to work with. If there is any snow or ice in the way, remove it first. The extra work involved here is worth it from a safety standpoint. Just ask anybody who has lost a load underneath loading ramps that shifted on the ice.

4. Consider a Single Piece Ramp

Winter is a good time to use single piece ramps instead of dual ramps. A single piece ramp is not always possible, but you should consider it for those jobs when it’s doable. A single piece ramp is just safer. Fewer things can go wrong because you are only working with one ramp. Obviously, you’re not going to carry a single piece ramp in your trailer. That means you will have to ask the shipper or receiver if they have one.

Winter weather is fast approaching. Please be cautious and account for current weather conditions while you work. Everyone wants you to be safe out there, including the entire Mytee Products team.


Top 4 Reasons to Use Side Mount Wheel Nets for Auto Hauling

Do you agree with the idea that there is a right tool for every job? If so, and if you are a tow truck operator, you probably have an extensive collection of chains, hooks, and tiedown straps on your truck. Do you have side mount wheel nets complete with hooks and ratchets? If not, you probably need some to make hauling easier. These are great tools for securing vehicles prior to transport.

 

We offer several variations of side mount wheel nets in different configurations. We recommend purchasing them either in pairs or lots of four so that you never find yourself one short. If you have never used one of these nets before, we suspect you’ll be a convert the minute you do. They make the job of towing easier and faster than it has ever been before.

Still not convinced? Well, here are the top four reasons to use side mount wheel nets for auto hauling:

1. Fast and Easy Deployment

At the top of the list is the speed at which you can deploy wheel nets. You simply place the loop of the net over the top of the tire and then work it down along the sides until it’s about one-third of the way down. At this point the loop should be completely encircling the top third of the tire.

Next, you use the included hook to secure the strap to your flatbed or tow bar, then deploy the ratchet to tighten it down. With a little practice, you can do this in under a minute. As a side note, the net should always be placed over the tire with the ring facing the rear of the vehicle. That way, the vehicle is pulled forward as you winch down.

2. Webbing Material Is Durable

There is no doubt that chains are pretty durable. But guess what? So is the webbing material used to make wheel nets. You will get plenty of years of reliable service from your nets as long as you take care of them. They stand up well to temperature extremes, precipitation, snow and ice, road debris, and so much more.

3. Webbing Material Is Flexible

While chains may be just as durable as side mount wheel nets, they are not as flexible. There are a lot of sensitive parts on the underside of a car, and you have to be very careful when you’re using chains. Wheel nets are a lot less risky because of their flexibility. They are easier to deploy without damaging anything underneath, and the webbing material itself will never scratch the finish of a car. You still have to be careful with hooks and ratchets.

4. A Cost-Effective Solution

Last but not least is cost. While every tow truck should be equipped with an adequate number of chains, buying chains can get expensive. Wheel nets are a lot more cost-effective. For less than the cost of a good meal at a four-star restaurant, you can purchase a high-quality wheel net more than capable of doing the job.

Save your expensive chains for those tough jobs when they absolutely have to be used. For the rest of your jobs, use side mount wheel nets instead. You will spend less money without sacrificing the integrity of your work.

Mytee Products is proud to serve America’s tow truck operators with a full range of towing equipment and supplies. In addition to side mount wheel nets, we carry a complete range of tiedown straps, hooks, chains, winches, ratchets, and towing lights. Everything you need to fully outfit your truck is available here.