Author: Bob

Oil: The Life Blood of your Rig

Oil and grease can be one of the Owner Operators biggest headaches. There are many brands and they all say they are the best; that’s what marketing people do. There are standards that an oil must meet to get API certification, and as long as the oil has that, one’s probably as good as the next. I will say the major oil companies have more resources to put into research to help oil do a better job. Additives that clean, reduce acids, and other things that you don’t even think about, are part of what’s called the Additive Package....

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Incandescent or LED?

The incandescent lamp is still the most common light source for all lighting on a vehicle. Thinking back, I believe I spent about 60% of my time replacing lamps and lights that had failed. Changing from an oil lantern for nighttime driving to electric lamps was a major improvement to the way we lit our way down the road. As speeds increased, the need for better and brighter headlights became an absolute must. Night driving safety was improved as lighting Improved, and incandescent bulbs were the best choice at the time. The incandescent lamp is still the most common...

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APU heating and cooling the cab

We spend a lot of time out here on the road, not always driving. When we are stopped waiting for that next great run we need to be comfortable… …warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Either running the truck engine or having an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) can achieve this. An APU is the best choice because it uses the least amount of fuel, most about third of a gallon per hour. The APU will run an A/C in the summer and provide heat in the winter, also monitoring the battery condition keeping them charged when...

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Five Things You Need to Know in Winter

Winter…. cold, wet, snow, sleet, freezing fog, and even some nice days. We are always ready for the nice days but what about the others? Winter…. cold, wet, snow, sleet, freezing fog, and even some nice days. We are always ready for the nice days but what about the others? There are things we do to get ready for winter driving and there are things we must have in the truck, just in case. Cold weather gear. Common sense tells us we will need to keep warm, so my number one item is a collection of cold weather gear. A good jacket (not a coat). I use a jacket because it is not needed very often and it doesn’t take up as much room to store as a heavy coat. Long johns. For those unfamiliar with the term, insulated underwear. There are some very good, very thin sets available at the outdoor outfitter stores like Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain or Cabela’s. Years ago one may have needed a larger size pants, as the long johns were thick and bulky, and not as warm. You will only need these if you are going to be out for extended period of time, but you never know when that will be. A beanie hat that will cover your ears at least if not a ski mask that will cover your face...

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Our truck speaks volumes about our business…

What does our truck say about our business? When a customer watches us pull on to their property, do they unconsciously get a mental picture of how their freight will be handled? ***image3***What does our truck say about our business? When a customer watches us pull on to their property, do they unconsciously get a mental picture of how their freight will be handled? We often see the owner of the business as well as the people involved with loading our truck and handling the paperwork. When we open the back doors and back into the dock if they have one or we open our doors and lower our lift gate what are they thinking? We often do not know the customer or how big a business will be when we accept a load offer. We have made it our policy to treat every customer the same regardless if they are shipping a box of flat washers, a mainframe computer loaded with priceless data, or explosives; all freight is treated as irreplaceable. ***image2***We had a lot to learn when we first started in expedite world as in the past we had mainly dealt with warehouses and distribution centers in the truck load carrier arena and the only person that saw the outside of our truck was the gate guard. The trailer was always swept out and clean for the...

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Tire Maintenance

Tire maintenance? What's that? Just a walk by and, yup they are still black, or are they still there? Or maybe take that mini bat and give them a good whack? That is how some drivers do it, but for a truck owner, tires are a very important part of keeping your truck in service and a large expense. Tire maintenance? What’s that? Just a walk by and, yup they are still black, or are they still there? Or maybe take that mini bat and give them a good whack? That is how some drivers do it, but for...

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Truck Tires – Are You Confused Yet?

How do you read a tire sidewall and what does it mean? Of course all manufacturers are going to put their name on it, and they will also put the model, be it numbers or letters. Tires… are you confused yet? How do you read a tire sidewall and what does it mean? Of course all manufacturers are going to put their name on it, and they will also put the model, be it numbers or letters. Now let’s look at the size: we’ll use 295 80 R 22.5. The 295 is the tread width in millimeters, 80 is the aspect ratio of the tread vs sidewall or sidewall height is 80% of the tread width, R means this is a radial tire, and 22.5 is the wheel size, a 22 1/2″ wheel. Next is the DOT code. This is required by law, and is usually 12 characters after the letters DOT. The first four are the manufacturer and plant code, next four are at the discretion of the manufacturer, and the last four are the date code in the format of wwyy. So 2309 means the tire was made the 23rd week of 2009. The DOT code is required, but not on both sides of the tire, so if you look and don’t see it, it should be on the other sidewall. You can tell how old the...

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Lights Out! Nine Wiring Hazards and How to Avoid Them

You don’t have to behind the wheel to long to realize that truck wiring is one of the most critical items on your “must maintain list”. When working on any electrical problem, I start with the affected circuit. Let’s say you have a marker lamp out; all the rest of them work… You don’t have to behind the wheel to long to realize that truck wiring is one of the most critical items on your “must maintain list” When working on any electrical problem, I start with the affected circuit. Let’s say you have a marker lamp out; all the rest of them work – it’s just one. So the first thing is to check the affected lamp, swap it for a like lamp or a new spare that you carry. Now what, it still doesn’t work, we know the new one is good because it works in another location. We must now move on to the wiring harness. All circuits must have a positive (+, or battery) and a negative (-, or ground), the battery will always be through a wire of some type. The ground may have a wire but may also be through the body of the lamp or the final user of the power (such as a blower motor). Tools for wiring repairs vary but basic tools include wiring pliers (designed to strip insulation and...

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