A wheel chock is an important tool because a parking brake alone often isn’t enough to keep a vehicle from rolling during a towing job. It’s also important to stabilize tires and vehicles when they’re being transported so they don’t come loose and cause injury.
What are Wheel Chocks?
Wheel chocks are small wedges made of rubber, plastic, or wood, which are designed to stop a vehicle (or isolated tire) from rolling or moving accidentally. They are also called wheel blocks, tire chocks, trailer chocks, or wheel stops.
Types of Wheel Chocks:
Tire chocks vary in four key components. Let’s walk through how these varieties impact the use and effectiveness of a given wheel chock.
1. Material Wise Types of Wheel Chocks
Wheel blocks can be made out of the following materials.
i. Rubber Wheel Chocks:
Rubber is the most common wheel chock material because it’s incredibly durable and inexpensive. However, rubber isn’t very resistant to damage from outdoor elements like wind and water. That’s why rubber wheel chocks are mainly used indoors, like in storage warehouses or garages.
ii. Polyurethane Plastic Wheel Chocks:
Polyurethane plastic is the second most common material for a wheel chock. They’re better at resisting cuts, blunt damage, water damage, and wind damage than rubber chocks, and they’re lighter-weight than rubber or aluminum. But, plastic wheel chocks are not as high-strength as aluminum or steel alloy chocks.
iii. Aluminum Wheel Chocks:
Aluminum chocks are heavy-duty, and can be used with cars and trucks with a high gross vehicle operating weight. Some aluminum wheel chocks are specifically designed for long-term storage and can be part of a unit designed to mount a motorcycle or car.
iv. Steel Alloy Wheel Chocks:
It is the strongest material and can be used with the heaviest vehicles. However, steel alloy chocks can be on the expensive side. Also, steel can be prone to rust, so it’s important to invest in steel alloy chocks that have been treated or plated for corrosion resistance.
2. Surface Texture Wise Types of Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks have the following surface textures.
i. Aluminum Teeth:
These teeth, on the bottom of a tire chock, are great for establishing traction in muddy or gravelly surfaces.
ii. Diamond Plating:
A diamond-plated surface texture increases the friction and “grip” the chock has on the wheel and is designed to mesh well with a tire’s tread.
iii. Serrated Rubber or Plastic:
These textured tire chocks are sometimes called “pyramid-style” chocks because they look like small pyramids with “steps” running up the sides. This makes them easy to use on either side. They also require less force that contoured chocks to get traction against a wheel and hold it in place.
iv. Low-Relief Plastic or Rubber Texture:
Typically used with contoured (curved, wheel-conforming) chocks, a low-relief texture provides a bit of additional traction. It doesn’t provide as much grip as other surface textures, though.
v. Smooth Cradle Wheel Chocks with Stand:
A smooth surface on a “cradle” – style wheel chock is only used for vehicle storage. It won’t be used during a lifting or towing job.
3. Sizes of Wheel Chocks
There are common four size dimensions to keep in mind.
i. Steepness of a Chock’s Incline (or curve):
A steeper chock can be wedged in more firmly and use gravity to its advantage, but it can also be more challenging to place–especially if the ground itself is a steep incline.
ii. Working Load Limit:
Do not exceed a wheel block’s working load limit.
iii. Height and Diameter:
Height and diameter of the curve (if applicable). This one’s straightforward: taller chocks work with taller tires, and shorter chocks work with shorter tires.
4. Extra Features Wise Wheel Chocks
Some chocks come with handles. A low-clearance handle is useful if you’re on a relatively flat surface and the car you’re working on is close to the ground.
ii. Loop Handle:
A wheel chocks with a loop handle is good for a typical tow job because it lets you grab and move the chock easily.
iii. Eye Bolt:
An eye-bolt wheel chock can be used to connect different chocks together for a compound effect or to work with a vehicle that has dual tires on a single side of an axle.
Main Usage of Wheel Chocks
- For towing a vehicle.
- Auto-hauling / transporting a car or tires.
- Repairing a vehicle.
- Storing tire or vehicle.
- Keeping airplane stationary while it’s on the airport apron.
How to Use Wheel Chocks Safely
Step 1: Get the Right Chocks for the Right Hob
Don’t try to improvise a chock using random materials you have on hand. Get the chocks that are suited for the job you need to do. Make sure you have enough chocks to secure all potentially-unstable wheels.
Step 2: Put the Car, Truck, or Motorcycle into the Park
If at all possible, parking on a flat surface is best. If you’re on a loading dock, park as close to the dock as possible.
Step 3: Observe
Which way the wheels of the vehicle on the axle you are not lifting are likely to roll, once you lift the other axle.
Step 4: Wedge the Chocks Under the Backs of the Wheels
That is furthest from the side you’re lifting. Kick or use a tool to push the chock firmly under the wheel.
Step 5: Place Additional Chocks on the FRONTS of the Wheels
Place the additional chocks on the axle you won’t be lifting, for maximum security.
How to Choose the Right Wheel Chocks
There are three things to know about choosing the right wheel chocks.
1. Know your Job:
Are you lifting a vehicle to tow it? or hauling a vehicle on a flatbed? or storing a motorcycle? Different jobs require different kinds of chocks.
2. Know your Surface:
Whether a surface is flat or steeply inclined, gravelly or smooth, soft mud or hard concrete, there are chocks that you can use to stabilize a vehicle. Make sure you choose the chocks that suit the environment of the job.
3. Know the Vehicle Stats:
If you know how heavy a vehicle is and the size of its tires, you will avoid accidentally damaging tire chocks by surpassing their WLL or overloading a small chock with a big tire.
Ultimately, wheel chocks are an important safety tool. At Mytee Products, you can get a wide variety of high-quality tire chocks for less. Stocking up on affordable wheel chocks is just another way to haul safe and earn more.