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Toolboxes: 5 Reasons Newbies Shouldn’t Leave Home Without One

Aluminum toolboxes are just one of the many items we carry to accommodate flatbed truckers. It is interesting to hear the stories every time a newbie comes in looking for that first toolbox that should have been purchased weeks or months ago. Unfortunately, some newbies just do not understand how important toolboxes are until something happens.

Drive down any U.S. interstate and you will see flatbed rigs with all kinds of toolboxes. Some drivers mount step boxes on the sides of their cabs while others prefer the larger, rectangular boxes mounted to the back of the cab or directly on the trailer itself. The type of toolbox a driver prefers is not as important as the fact that he has one. A lot of truckers have more than one.

If you are new to flatbed trucking, there are plenty of reasons to never leave home without at least one toolbox affixed to your rig. Five such reasons are listed below.

1. Something Is Bound to Break

When you put in as many miles as a professional trucker, you are guaranteed that something will break at some point. It could be as serious as a brake line or as minor as a mirror mount. The point is that the driver is his or her own best mechanic for keeping a truck on the road in emergency situations. But fixing your rig requires a toolbox with the right tools and supplies.

2. Mechanics Are Expensive

Minor repairs that can be accomplished on the road can save a trucker a tremendous amount of money. On the other hand, mechanics are expensive. Why spend a ton of money paying a professional to replace a hose when you can easily do it yourself? Of course, this is assuming you have spare hoses in your toolbox.

3. Waiting for Mechanics Wastes Time

A lot of the newbies that come in for their first toolboxes talk about having to wait hours for a mechanic to rescue them. This is not good. Truck drivers are paid by the mile, not the hour. Waiting on a mechanic is like flushing money down the toilet. Time spent waiting is time not spent driving.

4. Tools Are Dangerous in the Cab

Another rookie mistake is storing tools right in the cab. This is a dangerous practice that should be avoided. Why? Because anything stored in the cab can easily become a projectile in the event of a crash. More than one driver has sustained serious injuries from in-cab projectiles, when he or she would otherwise have walked away unscathed.

5. Toolboxes Protect Cargo Control Supplies

Even if a flatbed trucker has no interest in carrying things like wrenches, duct tape, and extra bulbs, aluminum toolboxes are rather useful for protecting cargo control supplies. In fact, that’s why veteran flatbed truckers have multiple toolboxes. Some of their toolbox space is reserved for things like tarps, straps, ratchets, and edge protectors. You can never have too much storage space if you are flatbed trucker.

It is hard to argue how valuable aluminum toolboxes are to flatbed truckers. They are so valuable that we wouldn’t think of serving truckers with an inventory that didn’t include them. We currently offer several different toolboxes in assorted styles and sizes to accommodate any need.

Once you buy your first toolbox, do some online research into what you should carry. Trucker forums are a great source of information. Veteran truckers would be happy to share years of knowledge with you. Remember, a well-stocked toolbox is your friend on the road. Do not leave home without one.


3 Reasons Tool Boxes Are Diamond Plated

You have probably noticed that most tool boxes manufactured for flatbed trucks are diamond plated in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes just the top is plated while other times doors and sides are plated too. Have you ever wondered why? There are three very good reasons for diamond plating.

For the record, diamond plating is not exclusive to truck trailer tool boxes or aluminum panels. Diamond plating’s raised lines pattern can be applied to aluminum, steel, or stainless steel using a hot rolling procedure. You can build anything with plated panels that you might otherwise build with non-plated panels.

Non-Slip, Non-Skid Surface

Diamond plated metals were originally developed to provide a non-slip, non-skid surface for industrial uses. The most common applications for the metal plates were walkways, cat walks, ramps, and staircases. Diamond plating worked so well that manufacturers started applying it to fire trucks, ambulances, and cargo trailers.

Today it is normal to see diamond plated surfaces on emergency vehicles. It is used in the construction of truck tool boxes with the understanding that truck drivers often have to stand on their boxes when securing cargo, storing straps and tarps, and washing the cab. It is nice to have that non-slip, non-skid surface under your feet.

Extra Grip in Weather

There are times when metal surfaces have to be handled in inclement weather. For a truck driver, that might mean moving a tool box from one location to another. It could mean the simple act of opening or closing a tool box door in a driving rain or while wearing gloves. That extra bit of grip helps either way.

A diamond plated surface can make it easier to install tool boxes as well. The extra grip makes it easier to hold a box in place while it is being secured to mounting brackets.

It Just Looks Good

We have to be honest and say that diamond plated aluminum is not just a utilitarian product. There are manufacturers who use it on truck tool boxes and running boards simply because it looks good. The raised texture adds a bit of style and character whereas smooth surface metals tend to fade away without being noticed.

Truck drivers who compete with show vehicles put a lot of effort into metal surfaces. As you may have noticed, they are not shy about using diamond plated chrome and aluminum either. Of course, making diamond plated metal truly eye-catching requires keeping it clean and polished. Fortunately, doing so isn’t that hard.

A truck driver only needs a quality cleaning solution, a piece of scrap carpet, and a little elbow grease to keep diamond plated metal looking its best. Cleaning only takes a few minutes if it is done regularly. Clean aluminum also protects itself through oxidation, by the way, so keeping aluminum tool boxes cleaned and polished adds to longer life.

We Have Your Aluminum Tool Boxes

As a flatbed truck driver, you know how important aluminum tool boxes are to your daily routine. You would be lost without them. You use your boxes for everything from tarp storage to carrying the hand tools you need to keep your truck on the road. Here at Mytee Products, we are thrilled to be able to carry a selection of tool boxes suitable for most rig set-ups.

Our inventory currently includes six different tool boxes for both tractors and trailers. Each box is made with heavy-duty aluminum and solid welded seams to keep cargo clean and dry year after year. We also carry the mounting brackets you’ll need to affix your boxes to your rig.


A Guide To Maintaining Your Mytee Products Tool Box

You have invested in a brand-new aluminum toolbox for your truck. Congratulations. Your purchase of a toolbox from Mytee Products means years of reliable service from a great product that has been manufactured to the highest possible standards. We assume you are going to want to keep your toolbox looking as new as possible for as long as possible. We want to help you do just that.

Cleaning and polishing aluminum toolboxes used to involve a lot of elbow grease and valuable time that could have been spent on other things. Not so in the modern era. We now have access to a number of excellent cleaning products that make it possible to restore your aluminum toolboxes to like-new condition with minimal physical effort. In this post, we will describe what those products are and how you can use them to keep your toolboxes looking like they just came from the show room.

Why Cleaning A Tool Box

Before we get to the actual cleaning and polishing process, let us talk about why cleaning tool boxes is necessary. It boils down primarily to the metal – aluminum’s natural tendency to oxidize.

Aluminum is a great material for all sorts of applications that involve exposure to the elements. Aluminum naturally oxidizes when exposed to the air, creating a thin film that protects the metal from corrosion. This characteristic is one of the reasons things like canoes and rowboats are often made of aluminum.

That dingy coating that seems to cover trucker’s toolboxes and wheel rims is nothing more than the film produced by oxidation. You can leave the film alone and your aluminum toolboxes and rims would be just fine. But it does look dingy and old, which is why we clean and polish. The idea is to get rid of the film without exposing the metal to environmental damage.

Deoxidize First

The first step in cleaning your aluminum toolbox is to deoxidize. There are numerous products sold in liquid form for this purpose. You simply apply a small amount to the surface of the aluminum and then work it in. Many experienced truckers use a scrap of old carpet so as to avoid scratching the metal during the process.

Work in the deoxidizer or until the surface of the metal shows a uniform, whitish color across the surface. If you are working with diamond plated aluminum, you will need to apply the deoxidizer in four different directions: clockwise, counterclockwise, and then in each direction of the diamonds. This removes the oxidation build-up on the diamond edges.

Polish Second

Once you’ve achieved that uniform whitish color, you know the deoxidation part is done. The second step is to take some liquid polish to the metal. Apply a small amount and then work it in with a piece of carpet (or whatever else you used) in the same four directions. Working the polish in will create a dark, almost black film. When you start seeing bright aluminum shining through that film you will know that the polishing process is complete.

Finally, take a rag or towel to the metal to remove the polish. Work in the same four directions until all the polish is removed. You will be left with bright, beautiful, and protected aluminum.

Here’s one last tip: do not try to do the entire surface of the aluminum toolbox all at once. Work in small sections so that you don’t give either the deoxidizer or polish any chance to begin solidifying. This will create a uniform finish when you’re all done. Between cleanings, a little cooking spray can help remove dirt and bugs without harming the protective layer of polish.


How to Easily Enhance a Headache Rack

If you are a flatbed trucker working without a headache rack, you really need to rethink your strategy. You are but one accident away from a load coming through your cab in a hard-braking scenario that exceeds the tensile strength of your straps or chains. Having said that, truckers with headache racks can enhance those racks with a quick and dirty trick that is easy and inexpensive.

Get more out of your headache rack by securing stacked railroad ties at the front of your trailer with 5/16 chain and a break-over binder. Railroad ties are pretty easy to come by, and in some cases, you can get them for free if you know where to look. You can use 4 x 4 timbers if you don’t have access to railroad ties.

Truckers who haul freshly harvested timber use this trick all the time. Why? Because logs are among the most unruly pieces of cargo you can put on the back of a flatbed trailer. Being careful to stack timbers securely helps to some degree, but you never know when a log is going to shift forward. Adding the bulkhead just makes a driver safer.

How and Why It Works

At first glance, it might seem like building a bulkhead to enhance a headache rack is a waste of time and effort. After all, the whole point of the headache rack is to provide a tough barrier between tractor and load. But here’s the problem: cargo shifting forward on a trailer has to cross that open space between trailer and cab in order to do damage. Any cargo that does manage to traverse that empty space unimpeded has momentum behind it. Momentum is the killer.

A log with enough momentum can severely damage a headache rack to the point of requiring replacement. In a worst-case scenario, a log can send pieces of the rack through the cab. Building a bulkhead on the front of the trailer prevents deadly momentum.

The laws of physics dictate that stacking a load flush with a wooden bulkhead greatly reduces the risk of cargo striking the back of a tractor because the bulkhead provides a surface area capable of absorbing and dispersing the energy of moving cargo. Thus, a bulkhead prevents cargo from getting the momentum it needs to do damage to the tractor.

Easy to Remove

The suggestion to use railroad ties and chain to build a bulkhead is not coincidental. The design is intended to create a bulkhead that is easily removable when it is not needed or it might be in the way. It’s a lot easier to remove chains and railroad ties than to break the welds of a permanently affixed bulkhead system.

If you know you have a month’s worth of loads that do not involve any timber, you can quickly remove your bulkhead and go on your way. The same goes if you have to take an oversized load that needs a few extra inches off the trailer. It only takes a few minutes to reinstall the bulkhead when you need it again.

Here at Mytee Products, we sell a variety of headache racks in different sizes and configurations. Headache racks are great tools for protecting your truck and providing a bit of extra storage at the same time. For those loads when your headache rack may not be enough to protect you, consider building a quick and dirty bulkhead using railroad ties and chains. This simple but effective fix could make a difference in protecting both you and your truck.


How to Fix a Dented Aluminum Toolbox

A trucker’s investment in aluminum toolboxes can be pretty significant. High-quality aluminum trailer toolboxes can run you upwards of $500 or more. The last thing you want is an accident that leaves dents in one of your boxes. But things happen.

So, what do you do if a toolbox is dented? First, you don’t panic. There is a possibility you could remove that dent easily and without any further damage.

The following post provides a suggestion of how you could possibly fix a dented aluminum toolbox. Bear in mind that Mytee Products offers no guarantee that this procedure will work 100% effectively or that you will still be able to use your toolbox afterward. Also, please bear in mind that you need to be extremely careful when you are trying a quick fix to get a dent out and you have no other options. Otherwise, you might have to look for a suitable replacement.

 

 

All About Heat and Force
Aluminum is a very pliable metal that is easily dented. A wayward forklift or a poor backing job can easily dent a toolbox in seconds. The keys to getting the dent out are heat and force.

If you search online, you may come across recommendations that include pounding away on the tool box with a hammer. You do need the force of a hammer, but what you don’t need are brute force and to keep hammering away at the tool box to repair it. A few strokes of a hammer could do the job quickly if the dent isn’t deep.

However, if the dent is too deep for a hammer you could make your life a lot easier if you heat the metal with a blowtorch for as little as 2-3 minutes. Heating the aluminum will also reduce the chances of breaking welds or cracking the metal at the site of the dent.

Take a blowtorch and gradually heat up the metal at the site of the dent – and maybe a half inch all the way around. Once the metal is hot, begin gently tapping and with a hammer to see how it responds. Gradually increase the force of the hammer until you start pushing the dent out. You may or may not have to continue heating as you hit the metal. It all depends on how severe the dent is.

Before we proceed any further, we want to reiterate that you need to be extremely careful while following this method of fixing a dent. You do not want to damage your tool box.

What you absolutely want to avoid is continually heating and cooling the aluminum. This will cause unnecessary stress that could make the problem worse. It is better to keep a low flame going while you are pounding out the dent than having to reheat the metal numerous times.

Once the dent is out, you’ll need to inspect the metal for any cracks or broken welds. Depending on how serious a broken weld is, you may have to take the box to a welder for additional repairs. If the break is minor, you can use a brazing rod to repair it. Brazing rods also do wonders for cracks occurring at the site of the original dent.

Why Try to Fix a Dent?

Now that you’ve read our simple procedure for fixing dented tool boxes, you might have two questions at the back of your mind; a) as a supplier of tool boxes, why would we want to offer a solution and b) why a trucker would bother to fix a dent over just buying a new one. Well, it comes down to a few things; firstly, we want to offer our customers solutions to make their life on the road easier. Secondly, being on the road constantly doesn’t give truck drivers to option of just making a pit stop in the middle of the road and buying a new box that fits perfectly. Last but definitely not the least is space. The amount of storage on an 18-wheeler is limited to the number of available toolboxes installed on the rig.

Truck drivers have to fill their tool boxes with an endless supply of items ranging from bungee straps to tarps to hand tools and spare parts. Any experienced truck driver will tell you that there never seems to be enough storage space. Seeing that space is at a premium, truckers cannot afford dents in their toolboxes as it results in wasted space.

A small dent or wear over time may be fine, but larger dents that prevent the trucker from storing items they absolutely need to be there are no good.