That shiny chrome tool box on the back of your neighbor’s pickup truck may very well be entirely for show. However, you are a professional trucker. You have a trailer tool box because you need to carry tools, not because you want to look good traveling down the highway. So fill it up. You have the space; use this space to assemble a collection of essential tools that could save you both, time and money out on the road.
We cannot stress enough the importance of having a well-stocked tool box for saving time. Even the smallest breakdown can leave you stranded on the side of the road for hours if you do not have the proper tools. Moreover, if your wheels are not moving, you are not making money. You will make more money by making an investment in tools.
Below is a short list of essential tools every truck driver should have in his/her trailer tool box. This list is by no means exhaustive; you will likely add more tools as time goes by.
The trucker never realizes how valuable a flashlight is until the first time he or she needs one. Some truckers buy heavy-duty flashlights similar to the ones used by law enforcement. Others purchase shop lighting that can be plugged into a truck’s electrical system. Still others use a combination of both. You are going to need adequate lighting if you break down at night.
A selection of tools relating to tire care should be on board in every trailer toolbox. For starters, a tread depth gauge is essential. A pressure gauge is also a cheap and wise investment. Better yet, a compressor with a built-in pressure gauge that can be powered from your truck’s electrical system serves dual purposes. Lastly, a robust tire thumper made of oak or another hardwood is a good idea. That tire thumper could be your best friend if you need to quickly check inflation in adverse weather conditions.
Pliers and Screwdrivers
The most basic of hand tools, such as pliers and screwdrivers, can be most handy when you break down. Your screwdriver collection should include a full set of both Philips head and flat screwdrivers. Use a ratcheted screwdriver with multiple heads as an alternative. As for pliers, make sure you have needle nose, standard, and the all-important vice grip pliers. Vice grips could very well be the most important tool in your box.
Veteran truckers know how frustrating it can be to be taken off the road for hours by a problem requiring only a minor fix. You can mitigate the downtime associated with these sorts of problems just by keeping a handful of spare parts on board. Keep some extra fuel line, some hoses and clamps, spare fuses, bulbs, wiper blades, and nuts and bolts of various sizes.
It is also a wise idea to carry extra rubber bungee straps and a vinyl tarp repair kit as well. The repair kit is especially important for flatbed truck drivers who have no interest in spending money to replace a tarp every time there is a small tear or puncture. A quality repair kit offers a lot of value for a little bit of money.
There may be other tools you believe necessary for your trailer tool box. It is entirely up to you. Whatever you do, do not invest in a great tool box and then leave it half empty. Load it up with everything you need to keep yourself moving down the road and making money.