More from: truck driver

3 Things You Should Never Do with Bungee Straps

Bungee straps have been compared to duct tape in terms of their versatility. Truck drivers use them for everything from securing tarps to replacing a broken curtain rod in the sleeper cab. Their extreme flexibility, resistance to weather, and ease of use, make bungee straps one of the most important tools in the flatbed trucking industry.

Here at Mytee Products, we are thrilled to be able to offer bungee straps in various lengths along with solid core rubber bungee rope. You can purchase straps or rope in bulk to save on our already reasonable prices. And don’t forget replacement hooks; we carry those as well.

Given the popularity and necessity of bungee straps in flatbed trucking, we thought it might be helpful to address some key aspects of using these versatile tools. Below are three things you should never do with bungee straps. Avoiding them will minimize the risks associated with bungee strap use.

1. Shortening Strap by Tying Knots

There are times when the amount of distance between hook points is so short that the average bungee strap is too long. You might think about getting around this by tying a knot or two before deploying a strap. Don’t do it. Tying knots in bungee straps increases the stress on them while at the same time decreasing usable life. It is better to stretch the cord to a different anchor point on the trailer or load.

Bungee straps are designed to evenly distribute tension from end-to-end. When you tie a knot in the middle, that portion involved in the knot is only subject to minimum tension. You can tell just by observing how the strap stretches. The part tied up in the knot barely stretches at all, signifying there is very little energy or tension in the material. The free material on either end stretches more as it absorbs more of the tension and energy.

2. Hooking More Than Two Straps Together

The other side of the knot-tying coin is hooking multiple bungee straps together to create a single chain long enough to span the gap between hook points. We recommend never hooking more than two straps together. Even under tension, the hooks on the ends of bungee straps constitute their weakest link.

Remember that metal ‘S’ hooks do not stretch. To make up for this, bungee straps usually have to be stretched a little further to prevent the sag that results from hooking too many together in a single chain. This creates a safety concern as well as reducing the usable life of all the straps in the chain. If you need length, use bungee rope.

3. Cutting an End and Making a New Hole

Bungee straps wear out and break over time. Sometimes, the hole into which the metal hook is inserted breaks clear through. Do not be tempted by the idea of cutting off the end and making a new hole. Doing so compromises the strength of the strap.

If you look at the average bungee strap, you will notice that the two ends are thicker. They are reinforced with extra rubber material to absorb the additional tension placed on the material by the hook. Cutting off a broken end and making a new hole for the hook results in too much tension on the rubber at the point where the hook is inserted. This is just asking for trouble. Bungee strap altered in this way can easily break without warning.

Bungee straps are an invaluable tool for the flatbed trucker. Used correctly, they offer a tremendous amount of functionality and flexibility.


10 Things (Other Than Tools) to Keep in Your Toolbox

Aluminum toolboxes are part and parcel to working in the trucking industry. They are especially important to flatbed truckers who are ultimately responsible for maintaining their trailers and protecting cargo. That’s why you see flatbed truckers having multiple toolboxes mounted on their tractors, headache racks, and even their trailers.

So what do they keep in those toolboxes? If you’re a veteran truck drive, you already know the contents of those boxes. However, If you are new to the industry, it may take you a while to assemble everything you want to have with you on board. In this post, we’ve put together a list of things to help get you started. Each of these items might miss your checklist until you actually need them.

1. Spare Headlamps

It is illegal for you to run your truck in the dark without both headlamps functioning properly. Driving down the road as a ‘one-eyed bandit’ is a good way to get yourself pulled over and subjected to a roadside inspection. You can minimize such risks by carrying one or two spare headlamps at all times. It only takes a few minutes to change one.

2. Assorted Bulbs

Along with your headlamps, you should have an adequate selection of miscellaneous bulbs on hand. That way you always have a replacement when any of your lights go out. Have whatever sizes you need to accommodate taillights, running lights, trailer lights, etc.

3. Spare Parts

Owner-operators tend to carry a larger selection spare parts to keep themselves rolling. Examples include a spare alternator, pulleys and belts, air boots, filters, and the like. Any parts that tend to have a need for frequent replacement and can be handled on the road would be candidates for your toolbox.

4. Extra Fluids

It goes without saying that the trucker should have extra fluids in his or her toolboxes. This includes motor oil, coolant, and hydraulic fluid.

5. Fuses and Circuit Breakers

Your truck’s electrical system is not going to function properly if there’s a failure in one of the fuses or circuit breakers. Not only should you carry an ample supply in your toolbox but you should learn how to quickly identify which fuses and circuit breakers match the various electrical systems on your rig. The faster you can change them, the faster you can get back on the road.

6. Flares or Emergency Flasher

Breaking down on the side of the road at night can be a dangerous situation. To increase your safety, carry flares or an electric flasher or to save up on space a flare and flashlight combo in your toolbox.

7. An Assortment of Fasteners

You know that old coffee can full of nuts and bolts your grandfather used to keep on his tool bench? You should keep a similar can in your toolbox. An assortment of fasteners – including zip ties – will prove to be a lifesaver many times over the course of your career.

8. Extra Bungee Cords

Every flatbed trucker uses bungee cords to tie down tarps. Most of the time, those cords are kept in a single location so they can be found easily. Keep a spare pack of 50 in the bottom of your toolbox to guarantee you will never run out. There’s nothing worse than falling a couple of bungee cords short of a load.

9. Heavy-Duty Flashlight

A flexible, plastic flashlight is good for most emergencies. Still, keep a heavy-duty flashlight in your toolbox just in case your cheap plastic model fails.

10. Tire Thumper

Last but not least is the trusty tire thumper. The tire thumper represents a quick and easy way to check tire inflation on the go.


How to Fix a Dented Aluminum Toolbox

A trucker’s investment in aluminum toolboxes can be pretty significant. High-quality aluminum trailer toolboxes can run you upwards of $500 or more. The last thing you want is an accident that leaves dents in one of your boxes. But things happen.

So, what do you do if a toolbox is dented? First, you don’t panic. There is a possibility you could remove that dent easily and without any further damage.

The following post provides a suggestion of how you could possibly fix a dented aluminum toolbox. Bear in mind that Mytee Products offers no guarantee that this procedure will work 100% effectively or that you will still be able to use your toolbox afterward. Also, please bear in mind that you need to be extremely careful when you are trying a quick fix to get a dent out and you have no other options. Otherwise, you might have to look for a suitable replacement.

 

 

All About Heat and Force
Aluminum is a very pliable metal that is easily dented. A wayward forklift or a poor backing job can easily dent a toolbox in seconds. The keys to getting the dent out are heat and force.

If you search online, you may come across recommendations that include pounding away on the tool box with a hammer. You do need the force of a hammer, but what you don’t need are brute force and to keep hammering away at the tool box to repair it. A few strokes of a hammer could do the job quickly if the dent isn’t deep.

However, if the dent is too deep for a hammer you could make your life a lot easier if you heat the metal with a blowtorch for as little as 2-3 minutes. Heating the aluminum will also reduce the chances of breaking welds or cracking the metal at the site of the dent.

Take a blowtorch and gradually heat up the metal at the site of the dent – and maybe a half inch all the way around. Once the metal is hot, begin gently tapping and with a hammer to see how it responds. Gradually increase the force of the hammer until you start pushing the dent out. You may or may not have to continue heating as you hit the metal. It all depends on how severe the dent is.

Before we proceed any further, we want to reiterate that you need to be extremely careful while following this method of fixing a dent. You do not want to damage your tool box.

What you absolutely want to avoid is continually heating and cooling the aluminum. This will cause unnecessary stress that could make the problem worse. It is better to keep a low flame going while you are pounding out the dent than having to reheat the metal numerous times.

Once the dent is out, you’ll need to inspect the metal for any cracks or broken welds. Depending on how serious a broken weld is, you may have to take the box to a welder for additional repairs. If the break is minor, you can use a brazing rod to repair it. Brazing rods also do wonders for cracks occurring at the site of the original dent.

Why Try to Fix a Dent?

Now that you’ve read our simple procedure for fixing dented tool boxes, you might have two questions at the back of your mind; a) as a supplier of tool boxes, why would we want to offer a solution and b) why a trucker would bother to fix a dent over just buying a new one. Well, it comes down to a few things; firstly, we want to offer our customers solutions to make their life on the road easier. Secondly, being on the road constantly doesn’t give truck drivers to option of just making a pit stop in the middle of the road and buying a new box that fits perfectly. Last but definitely not the least is space. The amount of storage on an 18-wheeler is limited to the number of available toolboxes installed on the rig.

Truck drivers have to fill their tool boxes with an endless supply of items ranging from bungee straps to tarps to hand tools and spare parts. Any experienced truck driver will tell you that there never seems to be enough storage space. Seeing that space is at a premium, truckers cannot afford dents in their toolboxes as it results in wasted space.

A small dent or wear over time may be fine, but larger dents that prevent the trucker from storing items they absolutely need to be there are no good.


The Real Value of Corner and Edge Protectors

Corner and edge protectors represent a rather insignificant investment on the part of the flatbed truck. They cost a lot less than tarps, winch straps, and just about all the other cargo control supplies you might purchase. They certainly cost less than paying for damaged cargo. However, the real value in corner edge protectors is not found in the retail price. It is found in what they do for the truck driver.

Just to be clear, corner and edge protectors are used to eliminate direct contact between cargo and tarps and, when necessary, other pieces of cargo. They can be made of steel, plastic, or rubber. Mytee Products carries 14 different options in a variety of styles, materials, and colors.

Edge Protectors Save You Money

The first thing corner and edge protectors do for the truck driver is save money. How so? Remember, truck drivers are responsible for the integrity of their loads from the moment of pick up until the time of unloading. If anything arrives damaged, the driver could be financially liable.

Flatbed truckers commonly carry cargo insurance for their own protection. But keep in mind that insurance rates stay low only if the driver does not make any claims. By investing a small amount in corner and edge protectors, drivers are reducing the likelihood of damaged cargo that could result in an insurance claim. They are keeping their insurance rates as low as possible at the same time. That saves money.

Corner Protectors Protect the Driver’s Reputation

As a flatbed trucker, you may not run into too many shippers willing to mandate the use of corner and edge protectors. Yet they still expect you to take good care of the cargo you are being entrusted with. Don’t you think shippers are paying attention to what you do? Of course they are.

When shippers and receivers know a truck driver voluntarily uses corner and edge protectors, they think more highly of that driver. It goes without saying that a driver’s reputation to protect cargo is improved with every effort taken to properly protect cargo. Furthermore, drivers with good reputations for cargo control get the most lucrative loads more often.

Edge Protectors Reduce Driver Anxiety

You can value your edge and corner protectors in dollars and cents simply by keeping track of how much money you spend on them. But those little pieces of plastic and metal can do something for you that cannot be valued in terms of money: they can greatly reduce or completely eliminate your anxiety.

Anxiety over protecting cargo is part and parcel with flatbed trucking. Preventing damage is always at the back of the trucker’s mind, as it should be. But why be more anxious than you need to be? Better yet, why be anxious at all? If you use corner and edge protectors the way they are supposed to be used, the risk of damage from contact with other surfaces is minimal. So is the risk of damage from road vibration.

Purchase Your Corner Protectors from Mytee

The amount of money you invest in an ample supply of corner and edge protectors is relatively minor compared to what you invest in other cargo control supplies. In light of that, there really is no valid reason to not have edge and corner protectors in your toolbox. We recommend a variety of options including steel protectors with chain slots, elongated v-board edge protectors, plastic tarp protectors, and rubber corner protectors.

Before you decide to purchase your next round of corner and edge protectors, browse our inventory. We have everything you need at very reasonable prices.