More from: trailer parts

How a Grille guard Helps Protect Your Truck

The laws of probability dictate that professional truck drivers have a greater chance of being involved in collisions than your typical driver. More miles increase your chances of being in an accident. It is just that simple. As such, a grille guard is a nice piece of kit you can install on the front of your truck to protect it in the event of a low-speed collision with an animal, another car, etc.

Suffice it to say that grille guards are not merely cosmetic accents. They serve a functional purpose as well. The goal of this post is to introduce you to that functional purpose by way of physics. In short, let’s discuss how a grille guard actually helps protect the front of your truck.

Uni-Body Versus Frame-on-Body

There are two ways to construct the frame of a vehicle. Uni-body construction combines both car body and frame in a single package that is often compared to the exoskeleton of a lobster. Frame-on-body construction creates two separate components: a strong steel frame and a body that goes on top.

Your truck was manufactured according to the frame-non-body concept. Its heavy-duty frame is much tougher than the softer body panels that make up the exterior of your rig. The idea behind the grille guard is to protect those softer body panels by taking advantage of the strength of the frame. It works based on the physics of energy transfer.

Transferring Energy to the Frame

In the absence of a grille guard, the energy involved in a collision with a deer would be transferred directly to the softer body panels. Those body panels would crumple as the energy of the impact is transferred from the animal to them. Putting a grille guard between the animal and the body panels changes the game.

Grille guards are attached directly to truck frames in order to facilitate the proper transfer of energy. In the event of a collision, the energy of that collision travels through the grille guard and down into the frame by way of the connection points. The frame is better able to withstand the impact as energy dissipates throughout its entire surface.

Successful energy transfer is key here. Why? Because one of the fundamental rules of physics dictates that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be transferred. You see, it is the transfer of energy that causes the damage sustained during a collision. Transferring energy away from softer panels and to stronger frame components dissipates the energy and reduces impact damage.

Proper Fit is Crucial

The grille guards we sell are specific to different truck makes and models. There is a reason for this. It’s not just because truck bodies come in different shapes and sizes. It is because frames are different. If you want maximum energy transfer during a collision, your grille guard has to be fitted properly to the frame. It has to be designed with the truck’s frame in mind. This is why a one-size-fits-all grille guard is not a good idea.

It is also crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a grille guard. While it might be easier to cut corners, you may not get maximum energy transfer if you do things your own way. On the other hand, installing a grille guard according to its instructions results in the best protection.

Do you have a grille guard on your truck? If not, you are one accident away from an expensive repair bill. We hope you’ll take to heart what you’ve learned here about physics and invest in one.


Grille Guards: Is Chrome or Black Better?

As grille guards are becoming more popular on big rigs, truckers are asking for advice on the best guard to buy. We frequently hear questions about finishes. Drivers want to know if a chrome-plated grille guard is better than one plated with black oxide. That depends on what you are after.

Grille guards are functional pieces of equipment first. They are intended to prevent damage to the front end of a truck in the event of contact with an animal, another vehicle, a guard rail, etc. Beyond function is aesthetic value. Some truckers install grille guards just because they look awesome. That’s okay.

The Chrome Grille Guard

A chrome grille guard will not perform measurably better than a black oxide guard for the most part. Black oxide finishes are a bit more ductile as compared to more brittle chrome, but the average trucker isn’t going to notice the difference. So why go with chrome? Aesthetics.

There is no denying that polished chrome is stunning. That’s why truckers whose rigs are mainly showpieces include as much chrome as they can fit on the body. You have chrome toolboxes, headache racks, exhaust, bumpers, and grille guards.

Although black oxide looks pretty slick in its own right, it doesn’t quite shine – literally or figuratively. That makes it an unpopular choice among showpiece owners. A possible exception are those owners hoping to achieve a different kind of look.

The Black Oxide Grille Guard

Black oxide is not as common an option for big rig grille guards as compared to those made for pickup trucks and jeeps. Nonetheless, you can still find them if you know where to look. Black oxide compliments trucks with dark colors like black, navy blue, and so forth. It doesn’t look so good on lighter colored trucks.

Just like chrome plating, black oxide is applied through a process that creates an electrical charge on the surface of the metal. The black oxide powder adheres to that surface due to an opposite charge. The two charges create a bond that is nearly impossible to break.

Black oxide is more resistant to chips and scratches than chrome, so that is something to think about. If the grille guard you choose is all about utility and nothing less, you cannot go wrong with either plating choice.

The Brushed Steel Grille Guard

We mentioned in the introduction of this post that deciding to go with chrome or black oxide is really a matter of determining what you are after. As such, it might be that neither one is your best choice. The best grille guard for you might be made of polished stainless steel.

Polished stainless steel is as durable and functional as chrome and black oxide plating. It looks darn good too. The best part is that it doesn’t require nearly the same level of maintenance as chrome. And it is even better than black oxide in terms of scratch and chip resistance.

The thing with polished stainless steel is that there is no exterior coating. That means it is not going to show chips a few minutes after installation. It is not going to tarnish as quickly or easily, either. So while you might be constantly polishing chrome to keep it looking good, there is significantly less work involved with polished stainless steel.

At the end of the day, there is no functional advantage to either of the three options. Whether you choose chrome, black oxide, or polished stainless steel really boils down to your aesthetic standards and how much effort you want to put into keeping your grille guard looking good.


The Differences Between a Bull Bar and Grille Guard

You may run across bull bars in your search for a good grille guard for your truck. Note that bull bars and grille guards are not the same thing. Furthermore, bull bars are hard to find for big rigs because they really aren’t appropriate for large, commercial vehicles.

We want you to be familiar with the differences between bull bars and grille guards so that you don’t buy the wrong thing for your truck. If you are in the market for grille guard, we have several models for you to choose from. Please take a few minutes and check out our inventory.

The Basics of Bull Bars

We are not quite sure where the name of ‘bull bar’ came from, but it really doesn’t matter in the context of this discussion. A bull bar is generally an A-shaped guard the affixes to a vehicle via the front of the frame. It has an outer frame, a single crossbar, and a skid plate at the bottom.

Bull bars are relatively small in comparison to the vehicles they are fitted to. They are intended only to protect the immediate front and center of the vehicle during a collision with an animal. A bull bar will protect the radiator, grille, and front bumper, but little else.

The biggest difference between a bull bar and grille guard is the fact that the former does very little to protect beyond the immediate center of the front end. There is no protection for headlights or turn signals. In the event of an off-center collision, a bull bar is rendered practically useless.

Their small size and lack of full protection makes a bull bar inappropriate for commercial vehicles. They are fine for pickup trucks and SUVs where owners are looking for minimal protection against damage from animal collisions.

The Basics of Grille Guards

Where bull bars are normally found only on SUVs and pickups, grille guards are found on trucks of all sizes. Big rigs fitted with grille guards are more readily seen these days, thanks to growing popularity within the trucking industry.

A good grille guard provides full coverage across the lower half of a truck’s grille area. The smallest of guards fully protects the front bumper and the truck’s grille and radiator. Larger guards extend fully upward to protect lights as well.

Made from tough, tubular stainless steel, a grille guard is intended to provide maximum protection during collisions with either animals or other vehicles. A good grille guard can leave a truck virtually unscathed following an accident.

Protecting Your Truck

Any desire to protect the front end of your truck should be met with a grille guard rather than a bull bar. Even if you can find a cheaper bull bar for your rig, it is not worth the investment. Bull bars might be great for pickups and SUVs, but they are a waste of money for big rigs.

Buy a grille guard and get maximum protection at the same time. Note that grille guards and trucks do have compatibility issues, so you need to make sure that the guard you buy will fit your truck. Also note that you should be able to purchase a guard that doesn’t require any drilling or welding. It should attach to the front of your truck very easily with the appropriate brackets.

Mytee Products carries several different models of grille guards at this time. If you don’t see what you need, please give us a call anyway. We still might be able to help you find and acquire the right grille guard for your truck.


5 Things To Remember When Loading Ramps

We’ve all seen those epic fail videos online; videos showing people doing some pretty silly things. You don’t want to be included in that group when you are using trailer loading ramps. So learn how to use your ramps correctly. Otherwise, you could find yourself appearing in a viral video.

For the record, trailer loading ramps take advantage of a few key laws of physics that make it possible to get heavy loads up onto a trailer without having to use a lift boom. Those laws can be just as much your enemy as your friend. It pays to know how physics relates to the ramps you are using and the load they will carry.

Securing Ramps

The trailer ramps we sell are designed to be used with an aluminum skid seat and a locking rod. The reason here should be obvious: ramps need to be secured in place before any loading begins. Insecure ramps are almost guaranteed to fall away from the back of a trailer.

Before securing ramps, check to make sure the skid seat and locking rod are in good working condition. Any abnormalities that even look like they might compromise skid seat integrity should be dealt with before loading begins.

Loading at too Steep an Angle

The laws of physics dictate that less force is needed to move a load the lower the angle of ascent. As such, avoid the temptation of trying to load at too steep an angle. If the angle of load is too high for a particular job, either use longer ramps or find a higher surface you can use as an intermediate step in the loading process. If neither are possible, another method of loading will have to be considered.

Check Clearance

Clearance is a big issue when loading heavy equipment onto flatbed trailers. The clearance we are talking about is the clearance that exists between the bottom of the load and the top edge of the flatbed. A lack of sufficient clearance could mean a load gets stuck half-way on to the trailer, creating a potentially dangerous situation.

The way around clearance issues is to use ramps with arches built in. The arches lift the back of the load as it approaches the trailer, solving the problem of limited clearance.

Control Speed

Moving a load up a set of ramps too quickly is a dangerous proposition. Uncontrolled speed could cause a piece of heavy equipment to veer out of control once it reaches the flatbed. It could cause the equipment to jump, subsequently leading to damage on impact with the trailer.

There are just so many things that could go wrong here. So, whatever you do, make sure to control your speed when you’re using loading ramps to load heavy equipment. It is better to go too slow than too fast.

Always Ask for Loading Assistance

It is better to load ramps with assistance versus going solo. Flatbed drivers should always have the help of at least two other people who can keep an eye on the ramps from either side. If you can get two more to watch the trailer as well, that’s a bonus.

Trailer loading ramps are great tools for getting loads onto flatbeds. But they have to be used with caution and according to the laws of physics.


How to Easily Enhance a Headache Rack

If you are a flatbed trucker working without a headache rack, you really need to rethink your strategy. You are but one accident away from a load coming through your cab in a hard-braking scenario that exceeds the tensile strength of your straps or chains. Having said that, truckers with headache racks can enhance those racks with a quick and dirty trick that is easy and inexpensive.

Get more out of your headache rack by securing stacked railroad ties at the front of your trailer with 5/16 chain and a break-over binder. Railroad ties are pretty easy to come by, and in some cases, you can get them for free if you know where to look. You can use 4 x 4 timbers if you don’t have access to railroad ties.

Truckers who haul freshly harvested timber use this trick all the time. Why? Because logs are among the most unruly pieces of cargo you can put on the back of a flatbed trailer. Being careful to stack timbers securely helps to some degree, but you never know when a log is going to shift forward. Adding the bulkhead just makes a driver safer.

How and Why It Works

At first glance, it might seem like building a bulkhead to enhance a headache rack is a waste of time and effort. After all, the whole point of the headache rack is to provide a tough barrier between tractor and load. But here’s the problem: cargo shifting forward on a trailer has to cross that open space between trailer and cab in order to do damage. Any cargo that does manage to traverse that empty space unimpeded has momentum behind it. Momentum is the killer.

A log with enough momentum can severely damage a headache rack to the point of requiring replacement. In a worst-case scenario, a log can send pieces of the rack through the cab. Building a bulkhead on the front of the trailer prevents deadly momentum.

The laws of physics dictate that stacking a load flush with a wooden bulkhead greatly reduces the risk of cargo striking the back of a tractor because the bulkhead provides a surface area capable of absorbing and dispersing the energy of moving cargo. Thus, a bulkhead prevents cargo from getting the momentum it needs to do damage to the tractor.

Easy to Remove

The suggestion to use railroad ties and chain to build a bulkhead is not coincidental. The design is intended to create a bulkhead that is easily removable when it is not needed or it might be in the way. It’s a lot easier to remove chains and railroad ties than to break the welds of a permanently affixed bulkhead system.

If you know you have a month’s worth of loads that do not involve any timber, you can quickly remove your bulkhead and go on your way. The same goes if you have to take an oversized load that needs a few extra inches off the trailer. It only takes a few minutes to reinstall the bulkhead when you need it again.

Here at Mytee Products, we sell a variety of headache racks in different sizes and configurations. Headache racks are great tools for protecting your truck and providing a bit of extra storage at the same time. For those loads when your headache rack may not be enough to protect you, consider building a quick and dirty bulkhead using railroad ties and chains. This simple but effective fix could make a difference in protecting both you and your truck.