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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.


Could a Modified Headache Rack Make Trucks Safer?

We are always trying to stay one step ahead in terms of safety here at Mytee Products. In light of that, there was a news article published on an Australian website late in 2017 that warrants further investigation. The article is causing some people to wonder if a modified headache rack could make U.S. trucks safer.

The article in question was published by Wildfire Today. This is a website dedicated to those brave Australian firefighters who battle wildfires down under. Like their American counterparts, these men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect the rest of their country’s citizens.

The point of the article was to highlight a brand-new firefighting vehicle introduced by the Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning. One look at the vehicle clearly shows how much effort designers put into safety. It features a modified headache rack along with a roll bar cage to protect the cab of the truck from collapse in the event of a rollover or a tree falling on it.

The Headache Rack

Previous models of Australia’s firefighting trucks were built with a standard headache rack to protect the cab from horizontal penetration. The new model has been extended to include vertical protection as well. Attached to the top of the rack is a frame with a large plate that covers the top of the truck cab. The frame extends rearward over the front portion of the bed as well, thus offering extra protection for what appears to be a toolbox.

In testing, the modified headache rack did very well. When combined with the internal roll bar cage, it proved itself more than capable of preventing a complete cap collapse. The Australian government is so pleased with the design that they are now thinking of other ways they can implement it.

U.S. Tractor Trailers

Looking at the design of the Australian truck leads some to wonder whether we can do something similar with U.S. tractor trailers. We obviously can build modified headache racks that include an extra plate over the top of the cab. The question is, how effective would such a plate be? Moreover, is the extra protection necessary?

Headache racks on U.S. tractor trailers are designed to provide the same protection against horizontal penetration. When used in concert with a bulkhead, the chances of a tractor trailer cab being impaled by moving freight is slim to none. And yet cab roofs are left unprotected against vertical penetration and rollovers.

Photographs of trucks damaged in rollover accidents tend to make it to the front page of newspapers for many to view. Tractor trailer cabs are just as vulnerable to collapse as smaller trucks and even passenger cars. It would seem as though a modified headache rack coupled with a roll bar cage would be more than adequate for most accidents of this type.

Let the Market Decide

At this point, there doesn’t seem to be much demand among truck drivers for a modified headache rack or an internal roll bar cage. Perhaps they’ve never thought of it before, or perhaps the number of serious accidents involving cab collapse is so low that the extra reinforcement really isn’t warranted.

In the end, the market will ultimately determine whether headache racks are ever modified in the future. Manufacturers will make what their customers want. We know that here at Mytee Products. Among all the headache racks we could stock, we have chosen those models most in demand by our customers. If demand is ever there for modified headache racks with overhead plates, we will have to consider them.

 


Canvas Tarps: To Treat or Not to Treat

One of the main advantages of canvas tarps is that they are made with natural fibers tightly woven together to create a strong, breathable material suitable for a variety of uses. Truckers sometimes use canvas tarps for certain kinds of loads that demand breathable tarp protection.

The question for truck drivers purchasing new canvas tarps is whether to get treated or untreated material. Canvas is an excellent material for truck tarps by itself, but manufacturers do offer tarps that have been treated for water resistance, UV protection, and even fire retardation. So, which is better; treated or untreated canvas?

There is no right or wrong answer here. Both materials have their strong and weak points. For the trucker, it is a matter of understanding those points and then determining which choice is better most of the time. Some truckers carry tarps of both types in order to be prepared for anything.

Water Resistance
Untreated canvas is naturally water resistant thanks to the extremely tight weave of the fibers. But water resistance does not mean waterproof. Treating canvas for water resistance also does not make it waterproof. Rather, the chemical treatment is a wax-like material that causes water to bead up and roll off rather easily. A canvas tarp treated for water resistance is less likely to allow water to pool.
On the positive side, a water-resistant treatment also reduces the risk of mold and mildew. As long as a treated tarp is properly dried before being folded and stored away, mold and mildew should never be a problem. On the downside, treated canvas is somewhat less breathable. If breathability is a concern, untreated canvas may be a better option.

Fire Retardation
It would be unusual to find a canvas tarp treated for fire retardation but not water and UV resistance. This dictates that fire retardation involves an extra treatment above and beyond a water-resistant coating. This extra protection is probably not needed except in cases where a canvas tarp may be accidentally exposed to open flame or sparks.

UV Resistance
The third kind of treatment also applied to canvas tarps is an anti-UV treatment. Because canvas is made of natural fibers, it is subject to break down as a result of UV exposure. Natural UV breakdown can lead to rot if a canvas material is also exposed to mold and mildew.

The reality is that all canvas materials break down over time. It is unavoidable for natural materials. But treating canvas for both water and UV resistance slows down the process of wear and tear. A properly treated material is less likely to fall victim to rot. In addition, retreating canvas every few years can extend its life.

Treating Tarps Yourself
The truck driver who has chosen treated canvas tarps would do well to apply a new treatment on a regular schedule, according to the manufacturers recommendations. A premium finish coat product specifically designed for canvas is the best option. Finishing products can be found at boating and RV centers, trucking supply centers, and even sporting goods outlets that carry canvas tarps and tents.

Our selection of canvas tarps is limited to just two. Furthermore, both products have been treated for water resistance. Our canvas tarps are very good general-purpose tarps that you could use for a variety of purposes. Canvas is an excellent choice for fruit and vegetable loads, exterior building products, highly sensitive machinery, and virtually any other kind of cargo that requires breathable tarp.

To treat or not to treat? That’s entirely up to you. Either way, canvas is great tarp material.


Mesh Tarps: Perfect for Dump Trucks and Trailers

Flatbed truck drivers are not the only ones requiring an ample supply of tarps. Dump truck drivers need tarps to secure their loads too. We recommend mesh tarps for dump truck and trailer loads rather than solid poly or canvas tarps. Why? We will explain the reason in this post.

Our heavy-duty PVC mesh tarps have been specifically designed for dump trucks and trailers. They are your best bet for securing loads whether you apply tarps manually or use a mechanical tarping system.

Federal and State Regulations

The first question to ask is why dump truck drivers use mesh tarps. The answer is simple: federal and state regulations require that all loads being carried by commercial vehicles be properly secured en route. Even though a dump truck might be carrying gravel, stone, or in aggregate material, that material must be kept secure.

Federal regulations require that all dump truck loads be kept in place so as to prevent debris from flying off and striking another vehicle. However, please note that federal regulations only apply to vehicles involved in interstate travel. That’s why the states have their own regulations for cargo control. In many cases, state regulations are either identical or very close to their federal counterparts.

In the simplest possible terms, any load being transported in a dump truck or trailer has to be prevented from causing damage to other vehicles. The easiest way to do this is to simply cover the load with a tarp. Mesh tarps are the perfect choice because these provide adequate load control without the need for keeping the elements out.

Durable and Reliable

PVC mesh tarps specifically made for dump trucks and trailers are durable and reliable enough for even the toughest jobs. Our mesh tarps are made with the heavy-duty PVC-coated vinyl for maximum durability. Tarps include 6-inch vinyl pockets, tough brass grommets installed at 2 foot intervals, and webbing-reinforced seams.

While some dump truck operators use generic blue poly tarps purchased at the hardware store, we still recommend purpose built mesh tarps. These are going to last much longer. PVC mesh tarps are also less likely to develop mold and mildew because they are highly breathable, unlike generic blue tarps.

Lightweight and Flexible

Another great benefit of PVC mesh tarps is that they are lightweight and flexible. Their lighter weight makes it easier to affix them to tarping systems as compared to solid poly tarps. They are easier to handle even if you tarp your loads by hand.

As far as flexibility is concerned, a PVC mesh tarp rolls and unrolls easily. Mesh tarps are flexible enough that they do not tend to bunch up or get tangled in tarping systems either. They roll out and back up again with very little effort.

Usable with Tarping Systems

Last but not least is the fact that PVC mesh tarps for dump trucks are made to be used with most standard tarping systems. That’s why we market these tarps as purpose built for dump trucks and trailers. Why does this matter? Just try fitting a generic blue tarp to your tarping system and you will quickly figure it out.

Tarping a dump truck load is supposed to be as effortless as possible. Fitting your tarping system with a purpose-built tarp designed specifically for that use ensures easy and reliable operation. You will not be fighting your tarp with every load.

Mesh tarps are the perfect solution for dump trucks and trailers. If you are not using them on your rig, now is a good time to change that.


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.