Last fall, we published a blog post encouraging drivers to do an inventory check of their cargo control supplies in anticipation of the pending winter season. Well, winter is long gone and spring is in the air. That makes now a great time to conduct a new inventory of your cargo control supplies.
Why inventory again? Because winter weather can do a number on everything from tarps to bungee cords. Between cold weather and road salt, cargo control supplies take a beating during the winter season. Conducting a spring inventory makes it clear what items need to be replaced, which ones can be repaired, and so on. Doing a spring inventory also gives truck drivers a good idea of what they will need to order before next winter season sets in.
Inspect Your Truck Tarps
A trucker’s supply of tarps represents perhaps the largest volume of cargo control supplies he or she carries on board. Ironically, tarps also tend to suffer the most damage during winter driving. So inspecting tarps is a good place to start. Drivers should pull all their tarps out of storage, unfold them, and inspect them for damage.
Small rips and tears in vinyl and poly tarps can be repaired with a standard tarp repair kit sold by Mytee Products. Larger areas of damage may need to be sewn before patches can be applied. As for canvas tarps, anyone handy with a needle and thread can fix most minor rips and tears.
Tarps should also be checked for mold and mildew, frayed seams, and loose grommets and D-rings. All these problems can be effectively addressed if they are caught early enough.
Bungee Cords and Webbing Straps
Bungee cords are designed to withstand temperature extremes throughout the year. However, they still wear out over time. If you have been through an especially brutal winter with very cold temperatures, check your bungee cords for excess wear. Bungees tend to get brittle in colder temperatures, so they are prone to cracking and splitting.
Straps made of webbing material tend to hold up a lot better under winter conditions. Still, each of your straps should be inspected for any signs of wear. This includes fraying on the edges. Also be sure to check where straps attach to hooks and buckles.
Corner and Edge Protectors
Corner and edge protectors made of metal usually do not require regular inspections. They are pretty tough. However, plastic protectors should be inspected every spring. Remember that plastic also gets brittle in cold conditions. It is not unusual for edge protectors to crack when it gets cold out.
Minor cracks can be repaired with super glue or something similar if you are so inclined. However, plastic corner and edge protectors are cheap enough that you might just want to discard cracked pieces and replace them entirely. It’s up to you.
The three categories listed above will constitute most of your inventory for cargo control supplies. If you are like most flatbed truckers though, there are other things in your toolbox that need a look. You will want to inspect your chains for signs of rust, stress, or any potentially broken links. Examine your binders to make sure they are still structurally sound. Take a look at all of you rigging supplies as well.
The point of the spring inventory is to better understand how your cargo control supplies held up over the winter. You are inspecting it in the hope of finding wear and tear or damage that could otherwise be a problem if ignored. The earlier you catch problems, the easier these are to address.