More from: truck driver

Tips for Using Loading Ramps Safely

Truck drivers with loading ramp experience know that it is all about physics. The laws of physics dictate that it’s easier to roll something up a ramp than lift it straight up. But the same physics that make loading ramps so efficient also constitute their greatest weakness. Therefore, it pays to know the physics in order to use loading ramps safely.

Loading ramps make moving objects to a higher point easier by distributing the weight of the load across a larger area. Furthermore, pushing or pulling an object up a set of ramps requires less work than lifting that same item. Thus, you can get some pretty heavy objects onto the back of an open deck trailer with a pair of inexpensive loading ramps from Mytee Products.

With all of that said, here are some tips for using loading ramps safely:

1. Work on a Level Surface

Whenever possible, you should work on a level surface. Your trailer deck should be parallel with the ground and the ends of the ramps touching the ground should not be lower than the trailer’s rear wheels. A level surface provides for maximum efficiency during the loading process. It also reduces the risks of the load tipping backward or falling off the side of the ramps.

2. Watch the Load Angle

As efficient as loading ramps are compared to direct lifting, they are not capable of working miracles. Loading can be terribly unsafe if the ramp angle is too high. Therefore, watch the load angle. Keep it as low as possible on every single job.

This might facilitate purchasing new loading ramps if your current set is too short. Also bear in mind that you will need longer ramps and a lower angle for heavier loads. Remember the physics. The key is to get your load up onto the deck with as little work as possible. Load angle influences the amount of required work more than any other factor.

3. Send the Drive Wheels First

It doesn’t matter which direction you load all-wheel drive vehicles in. But if you’re loading a vehicle with only two-wheel drive, send the drive wheels first. This means a front-wheel drive vehicle goes up the ramp forward; a rear-wheel drive vehicle goes up in reverse. Again, it is all about physics.

If the drive wheels are to the rear of the vehicle as it’s loaded, those wheels are pushing the load rather than pulling it. This creates a natural pivot point over the axle. Too steep an incline or too much power to the engine could flip the vehicle backward. On the other hand, it’s impossible to flip backward if the power wheels are in the front.

4. Make Sure Ramps Are Tightly Secured

Even keeping the drive wheels to the front of the load doesn’t eliminate all risk of tipping over. There is a point just after the drive wheels reach the deck where the entire setup is inherently unstable. If ramps are not securely fastened to the back of the trailer, they could slip away and send the load crashing to the ground.

Always make sure your loading ramps are properly secured before you begin loading. What’s more, don’t cut corners here. Loading ramps come with fittings and pins for this very reason – use them for their intended purpose.

Loading ramps are must-have tools for open deck drivers. If you own a pair, please do right by yourself and your shippers by always using them safely. If you need a pair, Mytee Products has what you’re looking for. We carry a complete line of loading ramps and accessories.


Good Truck Tires: More than Just a Brand

Your tractor is equipped with 10 of them. Every time you drive, you sit on a platform mounted directly over them, trusting they will get you where you need to go. We are obviously talking about tractor tires. What may seem insignificant to people who do not drive a truck for a living are objects that are incredibly important to you. Good truck tires can be lifesavers.

It is with that knowledge that a quick perusal of tire discussions on trucker forums becomes a fascinating endeavor in anthropology. It can be quite entertaining to read comments left by trucker’s arguing over who makes the best and worst tires. One guy will swear by Yokohama while another prefers Goodyear and so on.

Still other truck drivers argue over whether to buy cheap tires more often or expensive tires less often. At the end of the day, it all boils down to choosing the tire that gets the job done safely. Unfortunately, though, there is no black and white rule for saying one brand of tire is better than another.

It’s All about Traction

Peeling away the manufacturer claims and dealer promotions reveals that tire safety is really all about traction. Isn’t that why you put deep tread tires on your tractor anyway? Of course. You are depending on those treads to channel away water, snow and ice, and debris that could throw off the handling of your truck. You are expecting that tread to give you the traction you need to get going from a full stop on a slick road.

Manufacturers and dealers are fully aware of how important tread is to tire sales. As such, they make a lot of noise about tread depth and pattern. Deeper treads essentially mean longer-lasting tires while specific tread patterns are more advantageous under certain weather conditions. But note that traction and safety do not stop there.

There is television programs which¬† feature truck drivers who make their living on the icy roads of Alaska and northern Canada. If you’ve ever watched the show, you may have observed drivers reducing the air pressure in their tractor tires. They do this for a reason.

Lower air pressures increase the amount of tire surface that comes in contact with the road. Under icy conditions, this affords extra traction that could be a lifesaver in an emergency. Of course, you wouldn’t want to drive on dry pavement with low tire pressure but running a rig on an icy road is another matter.

Your Driving Habits Matter

Another thing that is frequently lost in the discussion over which tires are best is the reality that driving habits matter. How fast a trucker accelerates and brakes partly determines how quickly his tires wear. The same is true for cornering and backing. Tractor tires are under a tremendous amount of stress even when the driver drives perfectly. But how many drivers do that all the time? Very few.

How a driver drives also affects the rest of the rig in ways that indirectly affect tire wear. That previously mentioned TV program featured a driver in its first season who was extremely reckless with his equipment. The way this guy ran his rig had him spending more time in the repair shop than on the road. The damage he caused would have undoubtedly affected tire wear had it not been repaired.

Tractor tires are indeed lifesavers. When you choose new tires for your truck, consider more than just the brand. There is more to tire safety than a mere name emblazoned on the sidewall.


5 Practices for Maximizing Tire Life

Tractor and trailer tires are among the most expensive items truck drivers buy. Next to fuel, there may be nothing else in the trucking industry that consumes so much of a trucker’s financial resources. So it’s important that drivers do what they can to maximize tire life. Otherwise, it is like throwing money away.

Truck tires are subject to a lot of punishment capable of significantly reducing their useful life. Here at Mytee Products, we want our customers to get maximum life from every tire they purchase. To that end, we offer drivers five practices for doing so. Each of these practices should be held to religiously.

1. Maintain Proper Pressure

If you have heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: it is critical to maintain proper air pressure in both tractor and trailer tires. Air pressure is the single most important component in maximizing tire life.

Tire pressure is measured in terms of pounds per square inch (psi). The larger the tire, the lower the number. If you are a truck driver, do you know what the PSI reading for your tires is? You should. Furthermore, you should be checking tire pressure on a regular basis. At least once per week is the bare minimum.

Tires with incorrect air pressure will wear more quickly and use more fuel. They are also subject to blowouts. Furthermore, under-inflated tires can wear out in such a way as to make retreading nearly impossible. That means those used tires will be worth less in trade when a driver purchases a new set.

2. Use Stem Valve Caps

Stem valve caps were not designed for aesthetic purposes. They were designed to be the last line of defense against losing air. The reality is that a stem valve can never be 100% airtight, so the cap adds a little bit of extra protection to prevent air leaks. Make a point of replacing stem valve caps whenever you discover them missing.

3. Rotate Your Tires

Tire rotation is not just something car owner should do; truck drivers should be rotating their tires as well. The point of rotating tires is to make sure they wear more evenly. This extends life, maximizes control, saves fuel, and more. How often should tires be rotated? Whenever a truck is undergoing routine maintenance. A competent garage will know which tires to rotate and the positions to put them in.

4. Daily Tire Inspections

Federal law requires truck drivers to check their tires as part of their pre-trip inspections. The point should be obvious: they do not want trucks hitting the roads if their tires are unsafe. To the truck driver however, there is an added benefit of routine inspections. Checking tread and sidewall condition on a regular basis keeps drivers abreast of how their tires are holding up. Regular tire inspections make it more obvious when tires are under-inflated; they make it easier to identify small issues before they become big ones.

5. Check for the Unexpected

Lastly is checking tires for the unexpected. This goes hand-in-hand with daily tire inspections. What do we mean by the unexpected? The unexpected involves things like minor damage from running over road debris or maybe finding objects lodged between the wheels at the end of the day. Identifying the little unexpected things can mean the difference between tire failure and maximizing tire life.

Take care of your tires and they will take care of you. And when you get ready to buy new tires, remember that Mytee Products has what you need for both tractor and trailer.


The Incredibly Versatile Headache Rack

The headache rack is one of those pieces of equipment with a very descriptive name suggesting just how important it is. It protects the backside of a tractor cab against cargo that might shift forward on a flatbed trailer. Truck drivers do everything they can to prevent cargo shifting, including securing their loads with chains and straps, but sometimes things happen. The headache rack is there as an added layer of protection when something does go wrong.

Your standard headache rack is made of a premium, high-strength aluminum alloy. It can be as simple as a rectangular panel attached to two mounting arms that are then affixed to the frame of the tractor. Once in place, this seemingly simple piece of equipment can end up being a lifesaver. But here’s the thing: headache racks serve multiple purposes.

The beauty of headache racks is that they are versatile as well as being sturdy and protective. For example, just about every flatbed trucker in the country has used a headache rack to store chains, bungees, and straps. Some have built-in toolboxes because, as truckers know, you can never have enough storage space.

Personal Protection and More

One of the things we enjoy about working with the trucking industry is seeing how creative drivers are with their equipment. We see a lot of interesting things with headache racks. For example, we had a trucker stop by our Aurora, OH retail location to pick up some tarps and straps. On the back of his tractor was a typical headache rack you wouldn’t think much about under normal circumstances. But on this day, something was different.

On top of his headache rack was a custom-made bike rack. That’s right, this trucker mounted a bike rack on top of his headache rack so that he could take his bike with him. We assume he used the bike for exercise and leisure. Regardless, utilizing the headache rack to carry his bike was an ingenious use of a little bit of space that would otherwise go to waste.

Another ingenious use of the headache rack is storing a ladder or two. This is actually pretty common. Truck drivers can use foldable aluminum ladders to make it easier to work on their trucks, secure unusually high loads, and so forth. But if you are going to carry a ladder on board, where do you put it? Attaching a ladder frame to the headache rack is the perfect solution. The frame is attached to the aluminum plate; the ladder folds up and attaches to the frame during transport.

Built-In Toolboxes

One of the most common strategies for headache rack modification is adding toolboxes. Mytee Products carries three models with toolboxes already built in, but we know there are truckers who prefer to purchase a basic headache rack and build their own toolboxes to go with them.

Toolboxes are like gold to truck drivers. They can never have too many. As for the headache rack, most flatbed drivers are never going to have an incident requiring it to save their lives. They invest in the headache wrack just in case they need it. Assuming the need will never arise, truck drivers might just as well utilize the extra space the headache rack affords. That’s where built-in toolboxes come into play.

The utilitarian headache rack provides extra protection against shifting cargo. It is foolish to not have one. But a good rack is a lot more versatile. The most creative truck drivers do some pretty interesting things with their headache racks. We have seen just about everything here at Mytee Products.


What Does a Good Trailer Loading Ramp Kit Look Like?

Trailer loading ramps are yet another tool that flatbed truck drivers use to get cargo in place. But loading ramps for tractor-trailers are far different from the DIY ramps you might use on a small home utility trailer. They are much larger, much longer, and a lot stronger.

Mytee Products sells trailer loading ramps along with all the accessories truck drivers need to utilize them. If you are new to flatbed trucking, you might need an entire kit to start from scratch. Please note that our kits come with absolutely everything you need for loading ramp deployment. Other kits may not be as extensive as ours.

So what does a good trailer loading ramp kit look like? It contains the following:

Single Ramps

Obviously, every loading ramp kit will come with at least two single ramps; one for the left side and one for the right. Our kits come with two sets of 18″ x 96″ ramps with a capacity of 23,500 pounds. These ramps are sturdy enough to be used as load levelers for timber loads as well.

Adjustable Stands

Ramp stands provide the support underneath while loads are driven up the ramps. They are also sold in pairs; one for the left side and another for the right. Our ramp stands are adjustable from 18 to 24 inches to account for different trailer heights.

Aluminum Skid Seats

Skid seats are mounted on the back of a trailer to provide an anchor for locking ramps in place. Once locked, ramps cannot pull away from the trailer. They are also sold in pairs; one pair for the bottom deck and another for the upper deck.

Ramp Hangers

Ramp hangers make it possible to carry trailer loading ramps from one job to the next without taking up valuable space on the flatbed. They are mounted to the main trailer frame using heavy-duty bolts. The ramp hangers in our kit are double hangers, meaning there are slots for two ramps. Two sets of hangers would allow for carrying a total of four ramps; two on each side.

Ramps Stand Hangers

If you are going to carry loading ramps on the trailer, you’re going to have to carry ramp stands as well. A good trailer loading ramp kit includes one hanger for each stand. Again, these hangers are mounted on the main truck frame, either in front of or behind the ramp hangers.

Ramp Wedges

Finally, ramp wedges are fixed to the lower ends of ramps to provide a smooth transition between the ground and the ramp. This allows for smoother loading while also reducing the risk of ramp movement during loading. Most loading ramps require the use of a wedge.

Mytee Products offers flatbed truck drivers a trailer loading ramp master kit that contains all the above components along with a few extras. For example, we also include a lightweight dolly that makes moving ramps around nearly effortless. Using a dolly is a lot less strenuous than trying to carry unwieldy ramps without assistance.

Please feel free to check out our ramp kit at your earliest convenience. Our website details everything that comes in the ramp kit for your convenience. If you do not need the entire kit, we do sell individual pieces as well. Rest assured that all our loading ramps and accessories are made right here in the USA to the highest possible standards.

If you’re unsure about anything included in our ramp kit, please don’t hesitate to ask. We want you to be fully informed and completely comfortable with your purchase before you buy.