Tow Operators: Do Not Let Winter Catch You Off Guard

We’re just over a month into winter (astronomical winter began on December 21) and we have already seen numerous winter storms pound much of the country. From the heavy rains of Southern California to the cold, snow, and ice that has pelted the Midwest and Northeast, winter weather has tow operators working overtime to rescue stranded vehicles. As a tow operator yourself, the last thing you need is to be caught off-guard by severe winter weather.

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For many tow operators, the winter represents peak season when good money can be made on the heels of just about every storm blowing through. But to make that money, you have to be ready to work whenever the phone rings. And that means you need to have the right equipment on board – along with extra pieces just in case something breaks.

You need the following towing and auto hauling equipment, at a minimum, to make the most of your towing opportunities over the next several months:

  • Auto hauling straps – both tire straps and axle straps
  • Ratchet straps and ratchets
  • Grab hooks
  • Recovery tow straps
  • Cluster hooks
  • Towing chains with a selection of tow hooks.

We recommend tow operators audit their inventory and make sure they have a full set of everything necessary to complete the average recovery job. Then procure an extra set just in case. You might even purchase half a dozen or so extra auto hauling straps for those jobs that might require a little extra pulling or dragging.

Mytee Products also wants to remind you that quality is very important to the towing business. Quality often equates to safety, and safety is paramount in the dangerous world in which you operate. High-quality products also tend to cost less in the long run because you do not have to replace things quite as often.

Be Alert, Stay Safe

Above and beyond having the equipment you need to be a successful tow operator is the necessity to be alert in order to be safe. As you already know, working on America’s highways and byways is dangerous at any time of year. The danger is exacerbated by winter weather that can reduce visibility, create slippery roads, and so on. It only takes one second of carelessness to create potentially dangerous circumstances.

When you are a recovering vehicle during bad winter weather, do your best to position your truck in a way that will both aid in the recovery and protect you as much is possible. Also, always keep one eye on traffic during an operation. The simple act of being aware of what’s going on around you could make the difference should something unfortunate transpire during a recovery.

Lastly, remember that even your tow truck is not impervious to winter weather. Be sure to keep a few basic supplies on board until the weather improves. That includes extra gloves, hats, and boots along with a blanket or two and a basic first aid kit.

We Have What You Need

Mytee Products is proud to be able to support the towing industry with a full line of straps, chains and hooks. We have everything you need to make the most of the winter towing season regardless of where you operate. Furthermore, we are committed to offering our customers only the highest quality products at very competitive prices.

Before the next winter storm strikes, go through your equipment to make sure you are fully stocked. Then contact Mytee Products for any items you need to complete your inventory. Order online, and we will ship it to your location right away.


Flatbed or Wheel Lift: What Customers Should Know About Auto Hauling

It used to be that towing a broken-down vehicle meant wrapping a couple of tow chains around the frame, lifting one end of the vehicle off the ground, and dragging the car to its destination on the two wheels remaining in contact with the road surface. This form of towing was not really harmful to the big, heavy vehicles of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Today, things are different. Tow operators can now choose between flatbed and wheel lift options to transport vehicles.

hauling

As with just about any other industry, there is a lot of things customers do not know about auto hauling. For example, there is more to the question of make and model than just simply being able to identify the vehicle needing recovery. Make and model tell the dispatcher what kind of truck to send. Sometimes a flatbed truck is required while other times a wheel lift is the better option.

Flatbed Auto Hauling

A flatbed auto hauler is a heavy-duty truck with a movable platform that can be slid partially off the truck frame and lowered to ground level. From there, the car can be put on the platform under its own power or using a winch system. Once on board, the car is secured with towing straps and chains.

The biggest advantage of flatbed auto hauling is security. Tying down a car with strategically placed straps keeps it secure throughout its journey, thereby reducing the risk of damage. Furthermore, keeping all four wheels stationary during transport is better for a car’s transmission.

Flatbed auto hauling is the better option for all-wheel drive vehicles, for obvious reasons. It is also ideal for heavier vehicles and luxury cars. The key to safe and successful flatbed auto hauling is properly securing the vehicle with straps and chains.

Wheel Lift Auto Hauling

Old-school towing with the wheel lift method involves the previously mentioned tow chains secured around a car’s frame to lift it partially off the ground. Things are done differently today. Instead of suspending a car on a couple of chains, modern wheel lift tow trucks come equipped with a hydraulic dolly mounted on the rear.

To load a vehicle, the tow truck operator backs up to the front or rear, depending on the car’s transmission configuration. Once in place, the tow truck operator lowers the hydraulic dolly and moves into place. The car is then either driven or manually pushed onto the dolly and secured with tire or axle straps. Lifting the dolly and locking it in place prepares the car for towing.

Just Get It to the Garage

Whether a tow operator is driving a flatbed or a wheel lift tow truck often doesn’t matter to the car owner. From his or her perspective, the most important thing is to get a broken-down car to the garage as quickly as possible. What many car owners do not know is that tow operators carefully consider a number of different things when determining what kind of truck to send out.

As a tow operator yourself, you need to have the right equipment on board whether you drive a flatbed or wheel lift truck. That equipment includes a good supply of auto hauling straps, tire chains, and hooks. We have everything you need at Mytee products.

Your choice of towing equipment and supplies can mean the difference between success and failure as a tow operator. We encourage you not to take any chances with cheap equipment that may not last. Instead, avail yourself of the tough, reliable towing equipment found here at Mytee.


Basic Principles of Flatbed Rigging

Using a flatbed trailer to haul heavy construction equipment and other oversized loads is one of the simplest solutions for what can often be a tough problem. Still, the actual processes of rigging and loading are not so simple. Engineers take into account complex mathematical formulae applied to rigging and loading for the purposes of making sure everything stays safe for the duration of a move. Those mathematical equations are used to figure out everything from the best way to move a load to how to secure it effectively.

Mytee Products’ inventory of flatbed rigging supplies includes everything the flatbed trucker needs to work safely. In addition to standard cargo control equipment such as chains and straps, we also carry turnbuckles, rope clips, wire rope thimbles, block and tackle equipment, wire rope, and more.

 

wire-rope

So, just what goes into safe and effective flatbed rigging? A lot, quite frankly. Here are just a few of the basic principles engineers should pay attention to:

  •  Load Weight – Just about everything having to do with flatbed trucking starts and ends with the weight of the load. Tractors are only capable of hauling so much weight safely, and cargo control supplies are rated according to how much weight they can effectively handle. Before any oversized load can be configured for transport, engineers need to know how much it weighs.
  •  Permitted Axle Weight – America’s roads are rated according to how much. weight they can safely handle. That weight is expressed as a maximum permitted axle weight. Engineers preparing to move oversized loads have to consider the routes taken by truck drivers and the permitted axle weights on those routes. Unfortunately, sometimes a heavy load requires taking an indirect route in order to stay safe.
  •  Center of Gravity – Any experienced flatbed truck driver will tell you that getting the center of gravity right is critical to safe loading. Being off just a few inches can make hauling an oversized load more difficult and dangerous than it needs to be.
  • Road Surface Grades – Road surface grades can add to the challenge of hauling heavy loads. Flatbed rigging takes into account road grades for cargo control purposes. For example, a truck that will be traversing steep grades in the Sierra Nevada will need extra rigging to keep the load in place under additional stress.
  • Turning Requirements – Tight turns are another problem for oversized loads. Engineers have to account for turning radii along certain portions of the route with the knowledge that tight turns put additional stress on both trailers and the loads they are carrying.
  • Overhead Height Restrictions – Lastly, flatbed rigging must account for overhead height restrictions presented by bridges and overpasses. As with permitted axle weights, height restrictions may partially determine the route taken by a trucker hauling an oversized load.

As you can see, there is more to flatbed rigging than simply placing a load on the back of a trailer and tying it down. A lot of work goes into making sure loads get where they are going safely, especially when those loads are oversized or particularly heavy.

As a company specializing in the trucking industry and its associated equipment, we are committed to making sure flatbed truckers have the equipment and supplies they need for flatbed rigging and cargo control. We invite you to browse our entire inventory of rigging supplies and cargo control equipment before you make your next purchase.

All products sold by Mytee meet or exceed industry standards and regulations. We carry only the highest quality products from brands you trust.


How to Withstand the Big Challenges of Flatbed Cargo Control

It is a generally accepted rule in the trucking industry that flatbed loads are worth more money than dry van loads. The reason is simple: truck drivers have to put a lot more effort into protecting cargo being carried on the back of a flatbed trailer. They cannot simply hook up and go. They have to safely secure the load at a minimum; in some cases, loads also have to be covered with flatbed truck tarps.

It is ultimately the driver’s responsibility to make sure cargo arrives at its destination in perfect condition. As you might expect, there are plenty of things along the way that can cause problems. Drivers need to choose the right kind of cargo control equipment, and deploy it correctly, to prevent damage to whatever they are carrying.

weather-conditions

Here are the three biggest challenges of flatbed cargo control:

1. Weather Conditions

The biggest foe  for flatbed cargo is weather. For example, what appears to be a light rain standing in a stationary position instantly becomes driving in rain at 60 mph. New flatbed drivers are often surprised by how much damage a bit of rain can do. But it’s not just rain. Snow, sleet, ice, wind, and even sunshine can all cause problems.

A truck driver’s best protection against the weather is the standard truck tarp. Mytee Products carries a variety of truck tarps in different sizes and configurations. Our steel tarps are ideal for steel coil and tubing while lumber tarps come with side and back flaps to fully cover sensitive lumber loads. We also carry machinery and smoke tarps as well.

A driver’s choice of tarps can mean the difference between keeping cargo safe and delivering it with damage. That’s why we encourage investing in a full selection of high-quality tarps. The better a truck driver’s tarps, the less risk to his or her cargo.

2. Road Vibration

Most people do not understand the destructive power of road vibrations. Experienced flatbed truckers know full well that these vibrations can cause significant problems. It doesn’t take much to damage cargo, which is why flatbed truckers make use of things such as blocks, edge protectors, and pads to protect cargo from vibration-related damage.

How much of a problem is road vibration? Well, consider the principle of wrapping stemware and porcelain dishes in newspaper before moving. The reason for doing so is to protect them from vibration. Just a few miles of minor vibration can cause sensitive stemware to reach a frequency that causes it to shatter. The same principle holds true for flatbed trucking. Road vibrations have to be dampened to protect cargo with effective cargo control equipment.

3. Load Shifting

Hand-in-hand with road vibration is the third big challenge of cargo control: load shifting. Flatbed truck drivers take steps to ensure the cargo they are carrying is loaded onto the trailer in such a way as to keep weight evenly distributed across the platform. Even weight distribution is critical to both safety and fuel mileage.

What should be understood is that even a shift of just a few inches can compromise safety. Load shifts also carry the potential of making cargo less secure to the point that it could be dropped. This is why truckers use things like blocks and chains to keep cargo in place.

The three big challenges of cargo control are weather, road vibrations, and load shifting. The good news for truck drivers is that Mytee Products has everything needed for effective cargo control. From tarps to chains to winches and straps, you will find everything you need for protecting cargo here on our website.


Wire Rope Nomenclature for Beginners

Now that Mytee is offering rigging supplies, we are beginning to see an increase in the number of questions for these products. Our customers need to know what they are purchasing before they complete their purchase, and want to ensure that all their questions are answered correctly. For example, we sell a number of different kinds of wire rope for rigging.

wire-rope

Two examples of wire rope products would be our peerless galvanized aircraft cable and peerless fiber core wire rope. If you were to view either of these products on our site, you would see a description complete with a set of numbers that you might not understand. Unfortunately, there is a certain nomenclature assigned to wire ropes that you may not be familiar with unless you have extensive experience with rigging.

Wire rope is normally identified using three features:

  • The number of wires in each strand
  • The number and/or configuration of strands in each rope
  • An indicator of the construction or arrangement of the wires in the rope.

For example, a product designated as ‘6×7 fiber core’ would consist of six strands of seven wires per strand, surrounding a core made of a synthetic fiber. To an experienced rigger, the product designation would be enough to tell him or her whether the product is suitable for his/her purposes or not. Someone who does not possess the same kind of knowledge might look at the product designation and think nothing of it.

Different Rope Cores

The core, or center of a wire rope, indicates how that rope is used and what its capabilities are. Riggers have to fully understand load requirements in order to know what kind of core is most suitable to the needs of the job at hand. There are three primary core options to choose from:

  • Strand Center – This core is made up of a strand of wires either similar or identical to the outer strands. It is the weakest kind of core, yet it is still strong enough to be used for guy wires, suspension bridge cables, and aircraft cable. It is the core of choice for applications in which crushing weights are a concern.
  • Fiber Center – This core consists of pre-lubricated plastic fibers made of a material such as propylene. The advantage of a fiber core is that it stands up to tremendous amounts of pressure. It also tends to do very well against caustic substances that might be damaging to a strand center rope. It is not a good choice for applications involving crushing weight.
  • Independent Center Core – Known formally in the industry as IWRC (independent wire rope center), this kind of core is essentially a separate wire rope made with its own strands and core. Wire ropes made with IWRC cores are the strongest of all. They are generally accepted to be 7% stronger than comparable strand center wire ropes. The increased strength makes IWRC the preferred core for wire ropes that will be used to carry heavy loads.

One last thing riggers need to consider is the lay of wire strands within a rope. A regular lay rope is one in which the individual strands of the rope run opposite to the rope itself. A lang lay rope consists of strands that are laid in the same direction as the completed rope.

Finally, the alternate lay configuration utilizes equal numbers of regular and lang lay strands, woven together alternately. You can see this alternating pattern by laying the wire rope on a flat surface and inspecting the individual strands.

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