More from: Flatbed

Auto Hauling: A Very Different Kind of Trucking

What is the most lucrative form of trucking? Is it dry goods or reefers? Or maybe it’s flatbed trucking. Perhaps the most lucrative way to make a living as a truck driver is hauling flammable or hazardous materials. The point here is that the definition of ‘lucrative’ has more to do with preference than anything else. Having said that, auto hauling deserves some consideration. If not the most lucrative, it is certainly a very different kind of trucking.

hauling

Auto haulers come in all shapes and sizes, as it were. There are employed truck drivers working for companies that specialize in carrying cars from distribution centers to local dealerships. There are independent operators who carry used cars from wholesalers in the South to small dealers in the North. There are even truck drivers who specialize in moving luxury and classic cars.

Auto hauling is very different for a number of reasons. From the equipment to the necessary skills, it is a career a lot of drivers aspire to but never attain. Here’s what makes auto hauling so different:

The Equipment

First and foremost is the equipment necessary for this kind of work. The owner-operator starts with a custom rig. Believe it or not, trucks and trailers for auto hauling have to be matched. You cannot just use any auto trailer on the back of any tractor. As a result, auto hauling rigs are significantly more expensive.

Next, owner-operators have to have a pretty significant supply of auto hauling equipment including hooks, shackles, rope clips, straps, and chains. There may not be any other form of trucking that requires so many pieces of equipment for a single run.

The Skill

Auto hauling is very different in terms of the skills a driver needs. What so many do not realize is that cars have to be loaded and secured in a certain way in order to prevent damage on the road. But loading and securing is not necessarily a cookie-cutter operation. Auto haulers have to account for different makes and models, different weights, potential weather conditions, and more.

Skill also comes into play on the actual journey. Drivers need to take a little bit of extra care due to the precious value of their cargo, especially when they are hauling expensive luxury or classic cars. They should be careful about accelerating and braking; they have to be careful about cornering; they need to be extremely cautious in bad weather.

The Experience

Just about every sector of the truck driving industry is affected by the conundrum of companies only wanting experienced drivers but new drivers not being able to get experience because they can’t find a job. Nowhere is this conundrum more prevalent than in auto hauling. Because auto hauling is so much more involved than simply applying some hooks and shackles, haulers almost always insist their new drivers have at least a couple of years under their belts – even if that time was spent hauling something else.

Drivers with extensive flatbed experience typically have an easier time breaking into auto hauling because they are already experienced with securing loads. They have used things such as hooks, chains and straps for cargo control. Suffice it to say that owner-operators who want to get into auto hauling have to work for it.

Here at Mytee Products, we are acutely aware of what it takes to be a successful auto hauler. We want to do our part by maintaining a solid inventory of auto hauling supplies for America’s owner-operators. From shackles and rope clips to auto hauling straps, we have everything the owner-operator needs.


5 Things to Know Before Purchasing Canvas Tarps

Vinyl tends to be the material of choice for truckers in need of new tarps. It is an ideal material for flatbed truck tarps because it is lightweight, rugged, and extremely flexible. However, there are times when vinyl might not be the tarp of choice. These are times when truckers need canvas tarps. The good news is that Mytee Products carries a selection of canvas tarps to suit every driver’s needs.

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Canvas tarps are ideal for certain kinds of loads because they are breathable and less abrasive. Experienced flatbed truckers will keep at least a few on board at all times. The objective of this post is to familiarize you with some of the key aspects of canvas tarps so that you are better informed when it comes time to buy.

Here are five things you need to know:

1. There Are Different Grades

Like vinyl flatbed truck tarps, canvas tarps come in various grades from light to heavy duty. Heavy-duty canvas tarps are ideal for industrial environments where loads can be exposed to harsh conditions, including certain kinds of chemicals and extremes of either hot or cold. Heavy-duty canvas is usually not something the average trucker needs, but it is out there for those who want it.

2. Waterproof Versus Water-Resistant: There Is a Difference

When you look at the canvas tarps in our inventory, you will notice that they are water-resistant. After manufacture, the material is coated with wax to help repel moisture. However, the material is not 100% waterproof. This is by design. The whole point of using canvas is that it is a breathable material. If it’s made waterproof, it loses much of that breathability. If you absolutely do need a waterproof canvas tarp, they can be specially ordered.

3. Canvas Is Complementary to Vinyl

This third point may be the most important of the five: canvas is intended to complement vinyl, not replace it. In simple terms, the average flatbed trucker needs a complete selection of vinyl flatbed truck tarps to be able to cover just about any kind of load. Canvas is a material that is not suitable in all situations. So it’s a good idea to have a few canvas tarps on board for when you need them, but maintain a larger selection of vinyl tarps for most work.

4. Canvas Requires a Bit More Care

Canvas is not the primary material choice for truck tarps because it requires a bit more care than vinyl. Let’s face it; every flatbed truck driver knows he or she doesn’t have to pamper his/her vinyl tarps to keep them in good condition. Vinyl can withstand a lot of punishment. Canvas, though, is another matter. Canvas tarps are easier to tear and are more prone to mold growth. So while you don’t have to handle them with white gloves, you do have to be more deliberate about applying a canvas tarp and be very careful to make sure it’s completely dry prior to folding.

5. Canvas Is Excellent for Equipment Loads

The most common load hauled with a canvas tarp is an equipment load. Canvas is an ideal material for hauling construction and farm equipment, industrial equipment, and the like. Canvas is also flame-retardant. This makes it a safer option in some environments where combustible materials are in proximity.

Every independent trucker should have at least a few canvas flatbed truck tarps in the toolbox. You never know when a load calling for canvas will come up. Having a few on board means that the trucker will always be ready to go when any such loads are available.

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How To Tarp the Most Common Flatbed Loads

Flatbed trailers are used to haul loads that do not fit well in dry goods vans. Consequently, cargo on the back of a flatbed trailer does not enjoy the same protection offered by four walls and a roof. Drivers have to take the responsibility of protecting cargo themselves, using truck tarps and other cargo control supplies to protect what they are hauling.

 

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The most common flatbed loads in the industry are:

  • Construction equipment
  • Finished machinery
  • Lumber and construction materials
  • Steel coil and tubing
  • Mining and drilling equipment
  • Auto parts.

Construction equipment generally needs no protection as long as you consider machinery that is built to be out in the weather. Backhoes, loaders, and the like can simply be secured to the trailer and taken where they need to go. The same is true for most pieces of mining and drilling equipment. However, just about everything else needs to be covered and protected in some way.

Finished Machinery

Finished machinery loads which include  CNC machines, boilers, and industrial air conditioning units, must be covered to prevent damage from road debris and the elements. The best way to do this is with rectangular machinery tarps that provide full coverage across the top and all sides. As an added bonus, machinery tarps tend to be the most versatile. They can be used with the widest range of loads.

Lumber and Construction Materials

Finished lumber and construction materials usually have to be covered with tarps even if shippers have covered them in plastic. Lumber tarps are the perfect tool as they are designed with flaps so as to cover the entire load – even in the rear. The only thing to watch out for with lumber tarps is that applying them can take longer so it would be best to have another set hands to help cover the lumber load.

Steel Coil and Tubing

Flatbed truckers know that steel coil and tubing comes in many different sizes and configurations. A trucker might haul four or six spools of steel coil on one run, then turn around and carry industrial-grade tubing laid flat across the length of the trailer for the next job.

Steel tarps are the best option for these kinds of loads. They come in multiple sizes, and their rectangular shape makes it easier to cover loads regardless of the configuration. Tarps can go over the top of chains and winch straps or be secured underneath.

Auto Parts

Deciding whether or not auto parts have to be covered depends on the shipper. New and used parts intended for installation will have to be protected from road debris and the elements; old parts destined for the scrap heap can usually make the journey uncovered. It has been our experience that standard machinery or steel tarps are the best choices for auto parts.

The Occasional Odd Load

Another thing flatbed truckers know is that there are those occasional odd loads that do not fit standards. For example, a trucker might have a trailer loaded with a combination of mining equipment and a vehicle for mine operations. The vehicle does not have to be covered, but the mining equipment does.

Odd loads require a bit of creativity from the drivers who carry them. It is up to the driver to figure out the best way to protect the cargo with tarps, straps, and other cargo control supplies. Drivers are always required to protect their loads no matter how odd these tend to be.

Mytee Products has everything flatbed truckers need to protect their cargo. Whether it’s steel, lumber or something completely out of the ordinary, we have the cargo control supplies you need to protect it.


5 Things Truckers Should Know about Moving Blankets

A lot of what we write about in our blog deals with flatbed truckers and various types of cargo control equipment such as, tarps, winches and straps, bungees. This post is a little different. We know that a considerable number of our customers haul dry goods vans instead of, or in addition to, flatbed trailers. As such, they come to us for moving blankets and other related cargo control supplies better suited for dry vans.

moving-blanket

Mytee Products carries two different kinds of moving blankets as well as filler pads. We want to make it clear that the quality of a driver’s moving blankets is just as important as the quality of his/her straps and winches. A low-quality product is not going to perform as well or last as long as a high-quality product.

If you are a dry van trucker who uses moving blankets, here are five things you need to know about them:

1. The Difference Between Woven and Non-Woven Blankets

When you look through our inventory of moving blankets, you will see that we sell both woven and non-woven products. What’s the difference? It is how the fabric used to create the blankets is manufactured. A woven fabric utilizes long threads that are actually woven together on a mechanical loom. Non-woven fabrics are made of fibers that are bonded together through some sort of heat, chemical, or mechanical process. There is no weaving or knitting involved in creating them.

Woven moving blankets are more expensive. They are more durable and longer lasting than their non-woven counterparts, and they tend to hold up much better under tremendous stress. Non-woven blankets are designed for more routine use and are less expensive.

2. Moving Pads Are Not the Same

In addition to moving blankets, we also sell moving pads. Drivers should note that pads and blankets are not the same things. Pads are meant to fill empty space between objects to protect them from damage that might be incurred during travel. Some truckers simply buy pads and use them both for filling space and doing the job of the moving blanket. This isn’t a better choice when hauling fragile loads.

3. Moving Blankets Are Not Weather-Resistant

There are legitimate uses for moving blankets on flatbed trailers. For example, you might cover fragile cargo so that it’s not damaged by straps winched down tightly. But moving blankets are not weather-resistant. When using them on flatbed trailers, the entire load must be covered with tarps to provide protection against the elements.

4. Buying in Bulk Is Cheaper

Truck drivers can save money by purchasing their moving blankets in bulk. Companies like ours receive inventory directly from manufacturers in preset packages. Rather than break up a package of blankets, we prefer to sell them intact and at a lower price. It is better for our customers and easier on us for inventory purposes.

5. It’s Best to Have a Variety

As with truck tarps, it’s best to have a variety of moving blankets on hand in order to accommodate any kind of load. The average trucker will probably have mostly economy blankets with a smaller number of premium blankets and moving pads. Variety gives a driver the most possible options for any given job.

Truck drivers who haul dry goods vans need to secure their cargo every bit as much as flatbed drivers. When the job calls for it, moving blankets can be invaluable for cargo control. We invite you to shop with Mytee Products for your cargo control equipment , for both flatbed trailers and dry goods vans.


When To Use Smoke Tarps

It is fascinating to dig around in trucker forums to see what flatbed drivers say about smoke tarps. This is one area with lots of differing opinions, that’s for sure. Truckers generally agree that smoke tarps are easy to use and cheap to buy. What they do not tend to agree on is whether or not to use smoke tarps for particular kinds of loads. From our perspective, it comes down to this: use smoke tarps when your customers want and or need them.

A good case in point is a load of PCV pipe. Most receivers are incredibly picky about the condition of the pipe when it arrives in the freight yard. The last thing your customer wants is a load of pipe covered in soot from your exhaust stacks. If it gets inside the pipes, that’s even worse. This is why PVC pipe almost always requires the use of some kind of smoke tarp, be it a flat tarp or a fitted one.

smoke-tarp

‘Must Tarp’ Loads Not Always a Must

Nearly every flatbed trucker has been dispatched to pick up a load deemed a ‘must tarp’ load, only to see the receiver take the load and leave it out in the yard fully exposed. In such cases, it is not uncommon for drivers to blame receivers for unnecessarily requiring smoke tarps. Yet often, the problem lies with dispatchers or the trucking companies themselves.

It is easy for a trucking company sales associate to promise to tarp every load, whether it needs it or not, at no additional charge. This is a sales tactic to gain new customers. Experienced truckers know enough to check with the shipper and receiver prior to accepting a ‘must tarp’ load to see if it really does need to be tarped. If it does, the driver should tarp it without question. If not, it is up to the preferences of the driver.

Fitted and Flat Tarps

Smoke tarps come in two basic styles: fitted and flat. Fitted smoke tarps are often known as nose tarps because they fit over the front nose of the load to guarantee all of the necessary surface area is covered. Unfortunately, fitted smoke tarps do not always work well with loads that are not perfectly rectangular, square, or circular. Irregular loads tend to be better protected with flat tarps secured with bungee cords or straps.

A typical flat smoke tarp is a 10 x 12 or 12 x 12 piece of vinyl. Some truck drivers recommend going to your local big box store and purchasing one or two cheap blue tarps for use as smoke tarps; we do not recommend this practice at all. Why? Because blue tarps are not meant to withstand the punishment of the open road. They fall apart very quickly and, in the end, cost more money by having to be replaced so often.

Mytee Products carries a 10 x 12 heavy-duty smoke tarp made with 18-ounce vinyl. It is rugged enough to withstand a good deal of punishment and sufficiently durable to last for years. If you regularly transport loads requiring smoke tarps, we highly recommend this product.

In the end, drivers use smoke tarps because the load they are driving requires it and that’s what their customers want. If that’s what it takes to keep the customer happy, that is what you do. Happy customers mean repeat trips and additional business. It is just that simple.