More from: trailer parts

Aluminum Toolboxes: Organization Tips for Truckers

The average flatbed trucker has at least one toolbox affixed to his or her rig. Some have a large trailer toolbox and two aluminum step boxes to maximize storage space, and some drivers have even more. The thing to remember is that proper organization of aluminum toolboxes maximizes storage space and reduces the frustrations of not being able to find the tool you’re after when you need it.

What constitutes the right number and size of toolboxes isn’t for us to say. Every flatbed trucker has his or her own preferences. But Mytee can offer a few organizational tips to help truckers make the most of their storage space. Keep in mind that we carry a full inventory of aluminum toolboxes for truck drivers and pickup truck owners.

 

Organizing Tarps

Assuming you are the kind of trucker who stores tarps and toolboxes, the first rule of thumb is to consider which tarps you use most often. Let’s say you regularly haul lumber loads that require coverage on all sides. You are going to want those tarps easily accessible at all times.

You may have a selection of smaller smoke tarps or general purpose canvas tarps that you only use every once in a while for machinery loads. Because they are used less frequently, you can store them on the bottom of your toolbox in favor of putting your lumber tarps on top.

One thing to note is that tarps should never be put away while still wet. If throwing a wet tarp into a tool box is unavoidable at the time, it should be retrieved and dried out as soon as possible. Leaving tarps in long-term storage with moisture trapped in the folds is a good recipe for mold.

Organizing Tools

When it comes to tools, truckers need to separate things like ratchet straps and binders from the hand tools used to perform regular maintenance. It’s a good idea to keep them in separate toolboxes if you have the space. If not, divide existing toolbox into two separate compartments using a piece of scrap wood or metal.

Ratchet straps can be rolled up and stacked very neatly in one corner of the box. Chains can be coiled and stacked in another corner. Binders, hooks, and other similar tools can then be placed in the center of the compartment. As for those hand tools, keep them separated according to tool type. Put all your sockets in one location, all the wrenches in another, etc. Organizing hand tools is a lot easier if you invest in some shelves and smaller boxes that can fit inside your main toolbox.

Everything in Its Place

It should be obvious that the strategy we are promoting here follows that old adage that says, ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. The hard part is not necessarily finding a place for everything that needs to be stored. It is finding the most efficient place and then making sure that the items are returned to their places after use.

Few things are as frustrating as having a journey interrupted by some sort of failure and then not being able to find the tools you need to fix the problem. Equally frustrating is the task of securing a load and having to dig through your toolbox looking for the right straps or chains. Organizing your toolboxes changes all that.

An organized toolbox – where everything has a fixed place that never changes – is one that lends itself very well to efficiency and productivity. Take it from us; you’ll be glad you organized your equipment once you do it.


Why Headache Racks: The Definitive Answer

If we earned $100 every time a new flatbed truck driver asked us how the headache rack got its name, we might not have to sell trucking supplies to stay in business. Be that as it may, the question about the name of headache racks is as old as the rack itself.

For the record, a headache rack is a large piece of steel or aluminum mounted on the back of a truck cab. You see them on 18 wheelers and larger pickup trucks. Professional truck drivers often use their headache racks as a place to hang their chains and bungee straps.

For the remainder of this post, we want to talk about the name ‘headache rack’ and where it came from. If you are looking for a definitive answer, we have it: there is no definitive answer.

Protecting the Driver from Renegade Cargo

The first explanation of the headache rack name has to do with renegade cargo crashing through the back of a truck cab and injuring the driver. For a long time, there was a popular article circulating on the internet claiming that both the name and the device itself goes back to the days when surfing first became popular.

As the thinking goes, the racks were installed on pickup trucks to prevent harm to drivers if a surfboard were to break loose and crash through the back window. There’s only one problem with this theory: headache racks were around before surfing became popular. Second, you can spend all day traversing the roads of California and Hawaii, and you will probably never see a pickup truck with a headache rack carrying a load of surfboards.

There are other stories that use the same general theme without specifically referencing surfboards. The general idea being that headache racks are really the domain of pickup truck drivers attempting to protect their own heads.

Giving the Driver Headache

The second explanation is one that makes more sense where truck drivers are concerned. This explanation suggests that drivers, while working around their rigs securing cargo or doing maintenance, have a tendency to hit their heads on the metal racks. Unwittingly striking your head on such a large piece of metal would undoubtedly result in a headache.

If you are a professional truck driver, you are familiar with the scenario described here. Every truck driver has done it at least once, and many of you know drivers who do it routinely. Some hit their head so often that they have permanent marks. It is not a pleasant experience, to say the least.

We Have What You Need

The definitive answer about why headache racks are called as such is clear: there is no definitive answer. Therefore, there is no need for truck drivers to dispute or debate any longer. Far better to put your energies into being better drivers capable of delivering loads on time and in good condition.

As for the headache racks themselves, rest assured that Mytee Products has what you need. We have seven different models to fit a variety of needs and styles. We also carry installation kits, chain hangers, light brackets, and even tarp trays.

Your headache rack does not have to give you a headache at the time of purchase. Just shop the Mytee Products inventory to find what you’re looking for, make a quick purchase, and relax while we ship it right to your door. You’ll be protecting your head, or injuring it, in no time at all.


How to Identify Different Types of Flatbed Trailer Parts

One of the things we’ve come to learn over the years with regards to flatbed trucking, is that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for every kind of load. Just browse our inventory of truck tarps and you will see what we mean. Lumber requires one kind of tarp while steel coil is better protected with another. The differences in load carrying and cargo control go beyond just tarps, though. There are even different types of flatbed trailers that carriers and drivers can choose from.

load-leveler

People with some flatbed experience tend to think of the standard flatbed trailer most often. This trailer is typically no more than 48 feet long with a bed that is between 4 and 5 feet off the ground. Standard flatbed trailers are suitable for all kinds of loads that do not qualify as wide or tall.

Carriers and drivers have several others to work with:

Removable Goosenecks

Also known as RGNs, these trailers have removable goosenecks that allow them to drop down so that the front can be used as a ramp. It is a good trailer option for construction equipment.

Step Decks 

Step deck trailers have a lower deck to accommodate loads that are too tall to fit under standard overpasses. These trailers can be coupled with trailer loading ramps to allow construction equipment to be driven into place before being secured.

Side Kit Trailers 

The side kit flatbed trailer is one with removable sides. The sides can be deployed for loads that would normally fit inside the width of a dry goods van, then removed again for loads that do not work well in confined spaces. They are very popular for transporting steel.

Stretch Trailers

Stretch trailers are usually removable goosenecks with built-in extensions that can be deployed to carry extra-long loads.

Double Drops

A double drop trailer has higher decks at the front and rear and a lower deck in the center. Like step decks, they are ideal for loads that are otherwise too tall based on legal limits.

Each of these trailers can accommodate unique loads that do not fit well inside dry goods vans. But the cargo being hauled still has to be protected. That is where the different kinds of truck tarps come in.

Securing and Protecting Cargo

Truck tarps are just one component of a much larger system of cargo control and protection. State laws require truck drivers to properly secure their cargo prior to departing on a journey. Cargo must be routinely inspected to make sure it remains secure throughout. As for protection, it is up to drivers to make sure their cargo gets to its destination in good condition.

Truck tarps serve to provide the protection drivers need. A good, high-quality truck tarp will provide years of reliable service protecting cargo from road debris, sunlight, moisture, and other sources of potential damage. Yet maximum protection means choosing the right tarp for the right kind of load.

Mytee’s inventory includes every kind of truck tarp the flatbed trucker needs. We carry lumber tarps, steel tarps, coil tarps, and machinery tarps. We also offer smaller smoke tarps designed to protect cargo from exhaust stack soot. All our tarps are made with high-quality materials and to the most stringent standards.

Flatbed trucking is by no means a uniform enterprise. There are different kinds of trailers used to carry different types of loads, and a full range of truck tarps that drivers can deploy to protect those loads. Here at Mytee we have all the truck tarps and cargo control supplies you will need. You’ll have to handle the trailers yourself.


5 Things to Have on Hand for Winter Flatbed Driving

Severe winter weather is just weeks away in parts of the country where storms can begin in late November and last all the way through March. In the past, we have written blog posts detailing safe winter driving tips and how to apply tarps and other cargo control components in winter weather. In this post, we want to focus on some of the equipment drivers should have on hand if they are planning to haul flatbeds over the next several months.

Obviously, tire chains and a good selection of high-quality flatbed truck tarps are prerequisites for winter weather. Departing without them wouldn’t be a good idea. But what else does a trucker need? Are there any other pieces of equipment truckers should be considering about above and beyond  tarps, ratchet straps and bungee cords? Absolutely.

winter-tarping

 

Here are five things you should have on hand for winter flatbed driving:

1. A Heavy-Duty Tool Box

No flatbed trucker should ever think about hitting the road without a solid, heavy-duty toolbox on board. During the winter, it’s worth carrying the extra weight to have a second tool box. The tool box is the prime storage area for everything from tarps to bungee straps to those extra hand tools that might be necessary to keep a truck going in bad weather.

We obviously recommend aluminum as the construction material of choice. Aluminum is lightweight on one hand, durable on the other. If you have room on your truck, two tool boxes would be ideal for winter driving. You can never have too much storage for all the extra gear you need for the season.

2. Work Lights

With the onset of winter is less daylight to work with. As such, flatbed truckers may find themselves loading or unloading in the dark. A good collection of work lights is indispensable. Work lights come in different sizes and shapes; they can be permanently affixed to a truck or moved around and used as needed.

3. Trailer Stabilizer Dolly

The presence of snow and ice in freight yards can make parking and stabilizing a trailer a bit tricky. If you have room in your toolbox, a good tool to have on hand during the winter is a trailer stabilizer dolly. This handy piece of equipment makes it possible to add extra support underneath a trailer to keep it stable on uneven ground. This isn’t something to leave behind, though.

4. Air Brake Tubing

Cold temperatures can wreak havoc on air brake hose when temperatures get really low. More than one trucker has found cracked tubing that renders air brakes useless. Therefore, it goes without saying that the flatbed trucker needs a healthy supply of air brake tubing in the toolbox at all times, more so in the winter. You never know when an emergency brake repair going to be necessary.

5. Beacon Lights

The relatively low profile of flatbed trailers makes them harder to see in inclement weather. Every flatbed trucker should have a supply of beacon lights to increase visibility. A couple of lights mounted in strategic positions could be the key to keeping you safe on the road.

Winter is coming and with it a long list of extra challenges for flatbed drivers. Here at Mytee Products, we have everything you need to keep your cargo safe and secure in all kinds of weather. From truck tarps to chains to beacon lights and reflective tape, you can find everything you need quickly by browsing our online store. We make shopping for your truck driving supplies easy and convenient.


Why Air Brakes Confuse New Truck Drivers

Many a trainee has climbed behind the wheel of a truck on his/her first day of road instruction only to be frustrated beyond belief by not being able to get the vehicle moving. After several embarrassing stops and starts, new drivers have to be instructed about air brakes. Why? Because the design of air brakes will prevent a truck from moving if you don’t give them time to recharge.

truck

A typical air brake system is a triple-valve system that consists of air brake hose, pumps, pressurization valves, and storage tanks. It is a system invented by an engineer named George Westinghouse in the late 19th century. It works as follows:

1. System Charge – The key to air brakes is a full storage tank. In order for the brakes to release, the system must be fully pressurized, meaning the storage tank must be full of air.

2. Brake Application – It is the release of pressurized air that causes brakes to deploy. The more air released, the more solidly brake pads grip their rotors. That means the application of the brake pedal essentially releases air from the pressurized tank.

3. Release and Recharge – The brake system will continue releasing air as long as the driver continues pressing the brake pedal. Releasing the brake pedal immediately causes the system to begin recharging again, releasing the brakes as air pressure builds.

All of this happens in a split second – with air traveling through air brake hose in both directions. A properly functioning system is not remarkably different from hydraulic brakes in its practical application, but air brakes do feel quite a bit different from a user standpoint.

What fools new truck drivers is the fact that the air brake systems do not automatically release. With hydraulic brakes, depressing the brake pedal forces hydraulic fluid into the brakes; releasing the pedal forces fluid back out. Air brakes are different. They remain deployed until the system starts to recharge. That’s why new truck drivers who don’t understand how they work don’t give their vehicles enough time to recharge the brakes before attempting to drive away.

Regular Equipment Inspections

Another thing new drivers need to learn about air brakes is the necessity of regular equipment inspections. Just one small breach of an air brake hose can make all the difference in the world for pressurizing the system. It doesn’t take much to lock your brakes up by way of escaping air.

Hoses, belts and air tanks should be inspected regularly to make sure they are working properly. The air brake hose itself needs to be free of wear and tear, especially surface damage and worn couplings. It is also a very good idea to keep a few lengths of hose and some spare couplings in your toolbox. Breaking down in the middle of a trip because one of your air hoses broke is an easy way to frustrate yourself waiting for a mechanic, especially since replacing hoses is so simple to do.

Mytee Products now carries a selection of air brake hose, coils, and other related equipment. We invite you to browse our entire inventory at your earliest convenience. If we don’t have what you need, please contact us and inquire anyway. We might be able to help locate items we don’t currently carry.

Remember, your air brakes will not work properly if your hoses, couplings and air tanks are not all in good working condition. This is true whether you are a brand-new driver or a seasoned veteran with years of experience. So get to know your braking system and check it regularly.