More from: flatbed trailers

Tips for Installing Trailer Tool boxes

Few things are as valuable to the flatbed trucker as the tools in his or her toolbox. It is that collection of tools that keeps the trucker on the road even when minor problems occur. But the safety and security of one’s tools is only as good as the toolboxes used to store them. So when you are installing new toolboxes, you want to make sure they are mounted correctly.

There are different kinds of toolboxes that truckers use. Some are mounted on flatbed trailers, others on the back of a cab, and still others on the sides of a tractor. Trailer tool boxes might be the hardest to install as they are usually mounted on the underside of the bed. Their weight and size make under bed boxes a bit more difficult to manage.


A box that is properly installed provides years of valuable service for the trucker. If you are planning to install new boxes on your trailer, here are some tips you might find helpful:

Tip #1 – Choosing Box Size

Installing new boxes to replace old models is easier if you stick with the same size. Toolboxes come in a number of standard sizes, so it shouldn’t be hard to find what you are looking for. By sticking with the same size, you should be able to use the same mounting brackets and hardware.

Installing new boxes where there previously were none leaves you with a few more options. Consider what you will be carrying and how much storage space you will need. Also, determine before you purchase where you want your toolboxes mounted. Then take careful measurements so you end up with the right size.

Tip #2 – Choosing Mounting Brackets

Very few trailer toolboxes come with mounting brackets included. You will have to buy them separately. There are universal brackets that fit just about every toolbox on the market, as well as specialized brackets for custom boxes. That said, do not just assume brackets will work with your box. Check with manufacturers or sellers to ensure you get the right combination.

Tip #3 – Test Before Mounting

The location of hinges and access panels will determine exactly where on your trailer your toolbox will be mounted. Keep in mind you will need some clearance. It’s always best to test the location for a new toolbox before you mount it. Use a hydraulic jack to lift your toolbox into place, then test it by opening and closing the access panel and checking the box’s position against the bed and any other trailer structures.

Tip #4 – Heavy Duty Hardware

Your trailer tool boxes end up carrying a lot of weight over their lifetimes. Furthermore, they will be subject to constant road vibrations as well as the shock of every bump and pothole you hit. Therefore, do not skimp on mounting hardware. This is one instance in which investing in top-of-the-line parts is always a good idea. Purchase heavy-duty mounting hardware you know will stand up to years of abuse and punishment.

Tip #5 – Ease of Access

Lastly, choosing mounting locations for your trailer toolboxes is as much about convenience as it is utility. Only you know what would be the most convenient locations based on how you do things. Try to locate your boxes where they make the most sense, according to the kinds of work you normally take. You want to spend as little time as possible getting to the tools you need at the times you need them most.

Machinery Tarps: Great for Machinery and Irregular Loads

A flatbed trucker’s choice of tarps is important decision for every load he or she needs to transport. Nowhere is this more evident than when a trucker is hauling expensive machinery that could easily be damaged by the elements, road debris, or even the chosen tarp itself. It is a good thing manufacturers make machinery tarps designed specifically for these kinds of loads. Machinery tarps are an excellent choice for both machinery and irregular loads not easily covered with steel or lumber tarps.

For purposes of definition, a machinery tarp is usually a heavy-duty vinyl product manufactured with reinforced webbing and double stitching, evenly spaced grommets around the perimeter, and a series of strategically placed D-rings for more load securement options. What make these relatively different to steel and lumber tarps are the size and shape.


Machinery tarps can be purchased as either squares or rectangles. Rectangular tarps are different from their steel tarp counterparts in that, they aren’t as long. For instance, the rectangular machinery tarps sold by Mytee Products are 4 to 6 inches longer than they are wide. This design makes it easier to cover irregular loads without having to use multiple tarps. Because steel tarps are so much longer, they do not work as well for irregular loads.

Typical Uses for Machinery Tarps

Machinery tarps are used for all kinds of loads on either flatbed trailers or step decks. You will find that, they are most frequently used on the following types of loads:

  • Farm Equipment – Transporting farm equipment from manufacturer to customer requires load protection to ensure a non-damaged product is delivered. Machinery tarps are used to cover things such as combines, milking machines, harvesting equipment, etc.
  • Manufacturing Equipment – The equipment used in a manufacturing environment can be very expensive and sensitive to environmental conditions. A CNC lathe is one good example. Machinery tarps are ideal for this kind of load because they can be easily draped over machinery without damaging it.
  • Mining and Energy – The mining and energy industries are well known for needing all sorts of equipment and supplies of irregular shapes and sizes. A single flatbed load might include a piece of new drilling equipment along with a utility trailer and a load of concrete block. Putting so many different objects on a single trailer can create a challenge for load securement; machinery tarps fit the bill nicely.

Purchasing Machinery Tarps

Mytee Products recommends truck drivers be choosy about the tarps they purchase. We believe it is more important where machinery tarps are concerned, given the fact that the loads they cover are often rather fragile. We reckon it is worth spending the extra money to purchase high-quality tarps that the trucker can rely on load after load.

What makes a high-quality machinery tarp? For starters, 18-ounce vinyl should be the absolute minimum. Anything lighter may not offer the kind of protection the trucker needs. Next, seams should be double-stitched for extra strength around the entire perimeter and where two pieces of vinyl meet. Webbing and D-rings should also be double stitched.

Lastly, grommets should be made of solid brass for maximum strength and durability. The last thing a trucker needs is a tarp with grommets that starts to fail after just a few loads. Failing grommets can result in a torn tarp that begins flapping in the wind as the trailer moves down the road, offering a quick way to damage the cargo a trucker is supposed to be protecting.

Machinery tarps are great for all kinds of machinery and irregular loads. Mytee Products has a good selection of machinery tarps for truckers to choose from.

Why Steel Tarps Are Important for Safety

Truck drivers use flatbed steel tarps of all sizes to secure and protect their loads. Given the time-consuming nature of tarping loads, a nonprofessional may wonder why flatbed trailers are used at all. It comes down to the fact that some loads just cannot be put into enclosed box trailers very easily. Steel coils are but one example. Flatbed trailers make for easier loading and unloading using forklifts and other heavy lifting equipment.

Tarps are used to protect a load against the elements as well as road debris and animals. However, tarps are also about improving highway safety. A high-quality truck tarp enhances safety by improving the profile of a load and helping to keep that load securely in place.

Load Profile

The vast majority of loads hauled on flatbed trailers have unusually shaped profiles. In fact, an unusual profile is one of the reasons a given load might be transported on a flatbed rather than an enclosed trailer. Left untarped, these loads also present a certain amount of danger by way of road debris.

For example, consider a load of steel coils. A flatbed trailer might be carrying six spools of steel coil, loaded consecutively with each spool securely against the others beside it. Nevertheless, no matter how tightly the spools are packed on the trailer, there is always empty space between them. That empty space could catch road debris and hold it temporarily. A few miles down the road, the debris could be dislodged, flying through the air and striking a car.


A heavy-duty steel tarp reduces that risk by providing a more uniform profile. What’s more, it eliminates the dead space where road debris can collect. Any debris flying through the air as the truck goes down the highway will be deflected off in most cases. Although cars and other vehicles could still be negatively impacted, the risk is greatly reduced.

Load Securing

A truck driver would never use tarps alone to secure a load. However, a heavy-duty tarp does add an extra layer of protection in case one of the other systems fails. Again, let us talk about steel coils as an example.

A load of steel coil will be braced on either end with timbers designed to keep the spools from rolling. Each individual spool will be secured to the flatbed using a chain; larger loads might also be secured by tying each spool to the one next to it using a heavy-duty chain.

With a strong, properly secured tarp in place, a load would remain relatively safe even if one of the chains holding a center spool broke. The tarp would keep the spool secure long enough for the driver to get to a safe place where he or she could re-secure it with a new chain.

As you can see, steel tarps are important for highway safety as well as protecting a load. For the trucker, that means choosing tarps wisely. Tough fabrics combined with high quality construction offer maximum load protection and increased safety.