What to Look for in a Grille Guard

Take a good look around and you will probably notice more truck drivers installing grille guards on the fronts of their tractors. Grille guards are one of the hottest items in the trucking industry right now. Why? Because they are functional, affordable, and aesthetically attractive.

A well-built guard can mean the difference between preserving the front of your rig and having to pay thousands of dollars to repair it after a collision with an animal. A grille guard also minimizes damage in collisions with other vehicles, and it makes your rig look better at the same time.

Are you in the market for one? If so, here’s what to look for as you shop:

1. Grille Coverage

The number one reason for installing a grille guard is to protect the front of your truck. So grille coverage is really the first priority. You have to ask yourself how much of the front of your rig do you want to protect with the guard. Then consider the actual size of your tractor in relation to the amount of area you need to protect.

The largest trucks will not get much coverage with a small guard. The other side of that coin are large grille guards that would be too big for smaller trucks. You can have too much of a good thing, especially if a grille guard is wider than the front of your rig.

2. Strength and Durability

Stainless steel is the go-to material for manufacturing high quality grille guards. Do not settle for anything less. You want something that is strong and durable, something that will last for as long as you keep driving.

Look for a grill guard manufactured with heavy-duty steel; 14-gauge steel should be sufficient for most needs. Also check to make sure the guard is of tubular construction. Geometry dictates that tubes are a lot stronger for this kind of application than rectangular shapes.

3. Compatibility

You ideally want a grille guard that attaches easily without any modification on your part. Guaranteeing that is a matter of buying a guard that is compatible with your particular truck. Yes, there are compatibility issues.

Each of the grille guards we carry has its own dedicated page on our website. On each page you will find a product description that includes compatibility information. If you cannot locate your truck model and year on the compatibility list of a particular guard, please contact us before purchase. We would rather help you find the right grill guard than have you buy one only to find out it will not work.

4. Aesthetic Appeal

Finally, we wouldn’t think about explaining what to look for in a grille guard without talking about aesthetic appeal. As a professional truck driver, you take great pride in your rig. We get that. We wouldn’t want you to settle for something that makes your truck look less than appealing.

The reality is that a good grill guard can truly enhance the looks of your rig. We trust this is important to you even if you never enter your truck in competition. And if you are a show competitor, it goes without saying that not just any grill guard will do. You want one that fits correctly, provides an appropriate amount of coverage, and looks spectacular when cleaned and polished.

Grille guards are all the rage right now. If you are in the market for one, we hope you’ll consider the Mytee Products inventory. And while you’re here, feel free to take a look at all the other cargo control and general trucking products we carry.


Why Smart RV Owners Cover Their Rigs

RV and trailer owners are under no legal mandate to cover their rigs during the off-season. There aren’t any standard manufacturer recommendations, either. Yet Mytee Products has no problem selling RV and trailer covers year-round. The more covers we stock, the more we seem to sell.

There is a reason that Smart RV owners cover their rigs during the off-season. In fact, there are five reasons. Each one is explained below. If you own an RV or camping trailer that is not normally covered over the winter, you might want to reconsider your storage strategy.

1. UV Rays Aren’t Good for RVs

You already know that UV rays are not good for your eyes, right? Well, they aren’t good for your RV either. Constant exposure to UV rays can break down the seals around windows, doors, air conditioning units, etc. That could mean leaks that lead to quite a bit of interior damage.

UV rays aren’t a problem when you cover your rig. Whether you live in a climate that still sees plenty of sun during the winter or you are confined to a colder, more overcast environment, a cover keeps damaging UV rays out.

2. High Interior Temperatures Aren’t Good

Allowing the interior temperature of your RV or trailer to get too high isn’t good for its internal components. High temperatures can slowly degrade cabinetry, plumbing, and even electronics. You ideally want to keep internal temperatures at 80° or less whenever possible. Covering your rig during the off-season does the trick.

3. Water on the Roof Can Cause Problems

One of the biggest problems that RV and trailer owners face during the off-season is the accumulation of snow, ice, and water. This is generally not a problem during the season because travel takes care of any accumulated water. But during the off-season, there could be problems.

A cover keeps water from accumulating directly on the roof surface. In so doing, it prevents backups that could lead to leaks around vents and A/C units. The more water you can keep off the roof during the off-season, the better off your rig will be.

4. Finishes and Graphics Fade

The finish and graphics on any RV or trailer will gradually fade over time. But there’s no need to accelerate the process by leaving your rig unprotected in the off-season. Throw a good quality RV or trailer cover on your rig and you’ll notice your finish and graphics don’t fade nearly as fast. That will help maintain the rig’s resale value as well.

5. Dirt and Debris Can Stain

Have you ever seen older RVs and trailers with obvious black streaks and splotches? Those are likely stains left by mother nature. All sorts of dirt and debris she deposits on your rig can break down and leave stains in its wake. From decomposing leaves to dead insects, there are lots of things in nature that could leave their mark behind.

Once again, an RV or trailer cover is the solution. Let your cover get stained and streaked rather than your rig. You are going to fold up and store it away during the season anyway. Better that your cover should look ugly than your rig.

Remember that a proper fit is key to using an RV or trailer cover to its maximum potential. Mytee Products offers a variety of sizes for most standard RVs and trailers. So be sure to check sizes as you shop. If you cannot find something appropriate to your RV or trailer, please contact us and let us know. There’s a good chance we can locate what you need.


A Basic Guide to Parachute Fabric

Mytee Products recently introduced a line of truck tarps made of parachute fabric. Our parachute/airbag tarps are a great alternative to both canvas and vinyl thanks to their lower weight and greater strength. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about these tarps prior to purchase.

In the meantime, we thought a basic introduction to parachute fabric was in order. This guide should help you to better understand the fundamentals of parachute fabric and why it is such a great option for truck tarps. Feel free to browse our complete inventory of parachute/airbag tarps if you are ready to buy.

Multiple Textile Options

Contrary to common perceptions, parachute fabric is not a specific type of textile. Manufacturers can choose any number of textiles to make parachute fabric. Most frequently used textiles include canvas, Kevlar, nylon, Dacron, and silk. Our parachute fabric truck tarps are made with ripstop nylon.

This material is ideal for truck tarps for multiple reasons:

• It is lightweight but strong
• Ripstop nylon is interwoven with reinforcing threads for additional strength
• It is woven with strong warp and filling yarns to reduce tearing
• Ripstop nylon is water resistant, fire resistant, and tear resistant
• It offers an attractive strength-to-weight ratio compared to other materials.

The strength-to-weight ratio is very important to truck drivers tasked with covering their own loads. As you already know, tarping a load is a lot of work – even under ideal weather conditions. Throw in a little wind and rain and tarping can become a nightmare.

A lighter tarp is easier to handle and deploy under such conditions. Still, the driver does not have to compromise on strength with a ripstop nylon parachute tarp.

Characteristics of Good Parachute Tarp

All the parachute/airbag tarps we carry are of the highest quality and craftsmanship. You can depend on them just as you do any other product purchased from us. Should you decide to shop elsewhere, be very careful about what you buy. A good parachute fabric is identified by the following characteristics:

Strength – The strength of any material determines its usefulness as a truck tarp. Our tarps are made using ripstop nylon because it is one of the strongest options. It offers a rather high breaking strength that holds up well at highway speeds.

Tear Resistance – If there is one thing that truck drivers cannot afford during transit is a tarp that tears away. A good parachute fabric is extremely tear resistant. Even where a small tear already exists, it will not easily spread except under extreme conditions.

• Elasticity – The elasticity of parachute fabric influences how easily it unfolds. This is key when a truck driver is attempting to get a load tarped as quickly as possible. With a flip of the wrist and a quick swing of the arms, a good parachute tarp will generally unfold without issue.

• Low Permeability – Permeability is the characteristic of allowing liquids and gases to pass through a substance. Parachute fabric has low permeability, which is good for truck drivers. Tarps are intended to keep moisture and debris away. Parachute tarps do an excellent job.

We are thrilled to have been able to add parachute/airbag tarps to our inventory. Doing so was yet another way for us to serve our customers with the latest and greatest products in the industry. We invite you to take a serious look at parachute tarps as you prepare to restock your truck this winter. Give them a try. Who knows, you may decide to never go back to vinyl or canvas after using a parachute tarp just once.


Acknowledging Tow Operators Who Know Their Business

Not too long ago we published a post detailing the adventures of two people who didn’t know how to use their truck loading ramps correctly. We have also published other posts which discussed tow truck fails brought on by inadequate understanding of standard operating procedures. Those kinds of stories are always a reminder of how much we appreciate tow operators who really understand their profession and work hard to be good at it.

Towing isn’t as simple as attaching a hook to a car and driving away. There is so much more to it than that. Tow operators have to consider everything from the vehicle being recovered to the kind of recovery being undertaken. They must decide whether to use webbing straps or towing chains; whether to make use of a hook truck or a flatbed; and whether it is really safe to secure a recovery vehicle using just tire nets.

None of what we just described even touches the most complex recovery jobs. As an example, consider a recovery this past summer (2018) out of Phillipsburg, New Jersey. It required not only savvy tow operators with knowledge and experience, it also required the right tools and equipment.

Sinking Heavy Equipment

June 22 was the day a local Phillipsburg towing company was called to Heckman and Marshall streets around early in the morning. Apparently, a Case digger was preparing the site for future utility work. While the operator was busy digging a trench for utility workers, the pavement under the left side of the machine gave way. The digger fell into the resulting hole. Half of it ended up in the hole while the other half remained outside, perched at roughly a 30° angle.

Making matters worse was the fact that the digger was resting right on top of a gas line. Tow operators called to the scene had to figure out how to get the machine out of the hole without allowing it to slip. One slip could have severed the gas line and caused a major problem.

An Hour of Touch-and-Go

As you can imagine, it was impossible for the tow truck operators to just hook up a chain and drag the digger to safety. First of all, the machine was too heavy for that sort of thing. Second, it had to be lifted straight up in order to protect the gas line underneath. Trying to drag the digger would have probably ruptured the line and further weakened the surrounding pavement.

It took a team of two tow operators about an hour to come up with a plan and then successfully execute it. It was an hour of touch-and-go. In the end, they used a combination of two boom trucks equipped with heavy towing chains to slowly lift the digger out of the hole.

The two trucks were positioned on the opposite side of the street, front to back. Their booms were extended out over the digger so as to transfer all its weight to the stronger pavement. Then the two operators used remote control devices to slowly pick the machine up. They had to synchronize their movements to keep everything steady.

It is fortunate that the operators were very experienced, had good judgement and also had the right tools at their disposal to handle what was a very dangerous job. We are guessing they weren’t using cheap towing chains and hooks on something so heavy. Incidents of this kind are a reminder of how important is it be a good tow operator.


Can Autonomous Trucks Understand Cargo Control

It seems as though the heavy trucking industry is working harder than ever to enter the realm of autonomous trucking. Every time an equipment manufacturer announces even the slightest bit of progress in the arena of automotive autonomy, dozens of news articles and blog posts begin speculating a future where trucks rumble down the highway without drivers sitting in their seats. We would like to suggest a bit of cautious skepticism.

Set aside heavy trucking for one minute and just consider all the hurdles that have to be overcome to make passenger vehicles autonomous. There is a reason we have been working on this for more than a decade and are might still have while towards achieving driverless driving. Autonomous technology must overcome the imperfections of humanity in order to succeed, and that is no easy task. Things are even more complicated when attempting to apply automotive autonomy to heavy trucking.

One of the biggest problems of autonomous trucking is based in cargo control. Both federal and state laws require truck drivers to properly secure their cargo prior to transit, then ensure it remains properly secured until delivery. Such mandates pose a big problem for autonomy. If you are going to truly automate trucking, you must also find a way to automate cargo control.

Loading and Securing Cargo

The first hurdle to overcome is automating cargo loading and securing. This is easier to do with dry vans, refrigerated vans, and other enclosed trailers. It is not so easy with open-deck trailers. In fact, it’s a lot harder in the open-deck environment.

A dry van is really just a box on wheels. It would be fairly simple to automate loading by utilizing a robotic conveyor system and stacking mechanism. Just create uniform pallets and the robots to handle them and you’re all set. We already have the technology to do it. As for flatbeds, it is an entirely different ballgame.

A flatbed, or open-deck trailer, is used primarily to transport cargo that cannot be moved safely or efficiently in an enclosed trailer. That automatically means non-standard loads that cannot be loaded and stacked by robots. It also means manual cargo control that requires the use of chains, straps, blocks, bungees, and truck tarps. Everything you would normally get in a box trailer scenario has to be implemented manually on an open deck.

We may someday have robots capable of inserting blocks and tying down concrete tubes. We might have drones that can deploy truck tarps much more quickly and efficiently than human beings. We may eventually reach a point at which loading lumber is an entirely automated process. However, we are not there yet.

Maintaining Cargo Control

It is a Herculean task just to automate loading and securing cargo. But for trucking to be completely autonomous, there has to be a way to maintain cargo control throughout an entire journey. Now you are talking about computer and robotic systems capable of monitoring chains, straps, etc. while a truck is in transit. And if anything is amiss, the system has to be able to self-correct.

Given the ever-changing environment of cargo control, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to automate the process at any point in the relatively near future. If true trucking autonomy is ever realized, we are likely looking at decades before workable prototypes are even available.

As wonderful as the idea is, autonomous trucking is more fantasy than reality. Cargo control is just one of the many hurdles that science is not close to overcoming at this point.