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New Owner-Operator Trucking Business? Time Management Is Essential

Posted by on 10:06 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on New Owner-Operator Trucking Business? Time Management Is Essential

As the owner-operator for your new trucking business, you will learn that time isn’t always on your side. For you to be successful at trucking, it’s crucial that you have time-management skills so you can get your work done as efficiently as possible at every opportunity. Obviously, traffic often dictates how much time it takes to travel from one destination to the next and, therefore, isn’t very controllable. Since it’s best to expect delays while you are on the road, working efficiently while unloading and loading is essential. Here are a few things you can do to successfully manage your time.  Develop Standard Operating-Procedure Checklists Without checklists, you can accidentally forget to perform necessary tasks, such as forgetting to release the rear-tensioning mechanism of a rolling tarp system. This would cause you to have to backtrack, and that would waste precious time. Organizing your checklists will largely depend on the type of systems you have for straps and tarps. Check the operator’s manuals for your systems and combine the instructions into one checklist for loading cargo and another checklist for unloading cargo. While your setup may be unique, it’s important to include the following items in your checklist for loading:  load cargo for even distribution of weight secure cargo using straps and chains tighten the winches of straps and chains  engage and secure the tarp system do final inspection of your control equipment Consider including the following types of safety issues in your unloading checklist:  do visual inspection of the tarp to look for damage release the tarp system loosen the winches to remove the straps and chains unload the cargo thoroughly inspect each system after unloading The reason you’ll want to thoroughly inspect each part of the cargo-control system and tarp system immediately after unloading cargo is so you’ll have time to find replacements or get repairs done before you pick up your next load. The last thing you’ll need for your reputation is to arrive to pick up cargo with faulty and unsafe equipment.  After developing a standard operating procedure, you should have the procedure checklist printed out so you can check off each item as you go through the list. Over time, the checklist will be committed to memory and become second nature. However, it’s still a good idea to continue using printed checklists, as they can help keep you from accidentally missing important steps due to being in a hurry or having too much on your mind.  Immediately Confirm Your Itinerary  After unloading cargo and before leaving to pick up your next load, it’s a good idea to confirm your itinerary. First, check the address of your next client. Confirm the address with a phone call to their office or to your main contact. Check the Federal Highway Administration‘s website to make sure no construction has started along the route and that there are no detours in process or scheduled. If you have found items in your cargo control and tarping systems that need to be repaired or replaced, check your GPS for a supplier location near the route or call the manufacturer for assistance.  Also, ask your next client to confirm their operating hours and your scheduled arrival. If, by chance, you expect to arrive at the next destination after hours, ask your client...

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Getting Your Car Ready for a Roadtrip

Posted by on 12:55 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Getting Your Car Ready for a Roadtrip

If you are planning a long road trip or you commute long distances on a regular basis, there’s little doubt that you’ve made sure to top off all the fluid levels and make sure the tires are properly inflated. But what about your field of vision? Being able to see while driving is crucial to safety. Fortunately, there’s more you can do than simply replacing the windshield wipers and filling up the windshield wiper fluid reservoir. Here are a few ideas to prepare your vehicle, and yourself, for long distance driving. Apply Auto Glass Coating to a Prevent Dirty Windshield Problem: Dirt, pollen, and road salt can build up on windshields, which can create streaks and spots when you try to whisk them away with your windshield wipers. The streaks and spots can make it difficult to see, especially when driving in the direction of the sun. At night, the condition of the windshield can make it difficult to see when oncoming headlights glare off of them.  Solution: Apply a glaze to the auto glass. This is a type of coating that is designed to make rain and washer fluid form larger droplets, which helps the windshield wipers to remove dirt, pollen, road salt, and other debris from the glass. This reduces the amount of streaks and spots, which makes it easier to see through the glass when driving in direct sunlight during the day and when driving against oncoming traffic at night. You can purchase this product at any auto accessories store. However, it’s a good idea to hire a professional to apply the auto glass coating since it needs to be applied evenly for the best results.  Keep Chalk & a Chalkboard Eraser Inside Car to Prevent Foggy Windows Problem: Moisture inside your vehicle can cause your windshield and windows to fog up, which can make it difficult to see. Even though you can use your defrost or air conditioning to clear away the fog, those options can take precious time. Since foggy windows on busy roadways can be dangerous, many people use their sleeves, hands, or anything they can find to wipe the fog away while driving. This, of course, causes streaks inside the windshield, which can make the problem of being able to see worse the next time the glass fogs up.  Solution: Keep a few pieces of chalk and a chalkboard eraser inside your vehicle. Chalk absorbs moisture, which can effectively keep moisture from building up on the inside of your vehicle. Be sure, however, to replace the chalk occasionally when you notice it has become damp because, at that point, it will no longer be effective in absorbing moisture. And if you do find that your windshield or windows needs an immediate wipe-down, use a clean chalkboard eraser.  Drink Water to Prevent Dry Eyes & Blurry Vision  Problem: Your vision can become blurry if you are dehydrated, which can easily happen when you avoid drinking water and other beverages as a way to avoid making pit-stops while driving long distances. Dry eye from dehydration can make it difficult to see and focus, which can lead to eye strain.  Solution: In addition to topping off your vehicle’s fluids, you’ll need to top off your own fluid levels by staying hydrated so you can see...

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Understanding Your Suspension Lift Options For Your New Four-Wheel-Drive

Posted by on 3:27 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Understanding Your Suspension Lift Options For Your New Four-Wheel-Drive

If you’ve just bought a new four-wheel-drive, you may be thinking about customizing it to give it a new look and feel. For example, you might be thinking about a body or suspension lift. Not only do lifts like these help to increase the height of the truck body, full suspension lifts also increase the height of the vehicle’s actual suspension. If you’re thinking about lifting your truck, here’s what you need to know about your options. Body Leveling Body leveling kits are designed to do just what the name suggests level the body of the truck. If you’ve ever looked at a stock pickup truck and noticed that the back end of the truck sits higher than the front, it’s because of the weight of the engine on the front of the truck. A leveling kit raises the front end by an inch or two to even out the appearance of the truck. Although there are several different options, there are a few that are most common. A coil-spring suspension is likely to use use either a set of coil spring spacers or strut spacers. For torsion-bar suspensions, the leveling kit will come with a set of torsion bar keys to replace the existing ones. Finally, if the truck has a solid front axle, you’ll get an add-a-leaf kit for the leaf spring or a set of blocks to install on the end of the spring. Most leveling kits are fairly simple to install on your own, but if your truck has a coil suspension, you’re going to need a coil spring compressor to get the springs back in place. In that case, it may be best to work with a mechanic to help you install it. Body Lifts While a body leveling kit only balances out the existing truck body, a body lift kit raises the position of the truck body slightly above the frame. You can usually add a few inches, sometimes up to three, when you install a body lift. These are a great way to alter the appearance of the truck without having to make substantial changes to the suspension. Most of the body lift kits are made from polyurethane blocks. The blocks are placed onto the body mounts of the truck and then the body is connected to the mounts using longer bolts and hardware. These kits are usually simple and straightforward to install, requiring no special tools to do. If you’re handy with tools and comfortable with the type of work, you can probably install it in your garage in a weekend. However, if you don’t have the mechanical skills, you might find it easier to have your local mechanic do the installation for you. Suspension Lifts If you want more height from your truck, including increased ground clearance to fit larger tires, you’ll want to look for a suspension lift instead. The suspension lift is a more complex installation, because it involves replacing a set of suspension components to increase the ride height of the truck. For trucks with a leaf spring suspension, these kits typically come with new leaf packs, though small suspension lifts may just include an additional leaf that you need to put into your existing leaf springs. Coil spring suspensions include new springs. In either case,...

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How To Change Your Car’s Automatic Transmission Fluid

Posted by on 2:26 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Change Your Car’s Automatic Transmission Fluid

Changing your car’s automatic transmission fluid is just as important as changing the engine oil. Keeping old, dirty fluid in circulation could harm the inner workings of the transmission, shortening its lifespan and putting it at great risk of a premature breakdown. While you can leave transmission fluid changes in the capable hands of your mechanic, most fluid changes are simple enough to be done in your own driveway. The following shows how you can successfully change your own transmission fluid. The Tools You’ll Need Changing the transmission fluid requires a few relatively straightforward tools, although there are plenty of optional ones available if you need them. The basic tools you’ll need for this job include: A catch pan for capturing the transmission fluid A socket wrench set for loosening the transmission pan A funnel for adding the transmission fluid A replacement transmission fluid filter Ramps or jack stands for keeping your vehicle elevated Wheel chocks to keep your vehicle from rolling Of course, you’ll also need the right automatic transmission fluid. It’s very important that you use automatic transmission fluid that’s compatible with or specifically formulated for your car’s transmission. Using the wrong fluid could result in catastrophic damage and a whopping bill for a transmission repair or replacement. Fortunately, your vehicle owner’s manual should have the exact type and amount of transmission fluid your vehicle needs. Draining the Transmission Fluid Find a perfectly level spot in your driveway or garage to perform the transmission fluid change. Next, you’ll want to roll the front of your vehicle up on the ramps or lift the front with a floor jack and place the jack stand underneath. Place wheel chocks in front of the rear wheels to keep the vehicle from moving. Next, prepare the work space by placing newspaper underneath where the transmission fluid pan is located. This will keep your driveway from getting stained with transmission fluid. Now you can start changing the transmission fluid: Locate the transmission fluid pan and place the catch pan underneath. If the pan has a drain plug, remove the plug and let the fluid drain into the catch pan. Otherwise, you’ll have to loosen the bolts on the pan one by one until the fluid begins to pour out. Keep loosening the bolts until the fluid has completely drained out of the pan. At this point, you should be able to remove the pan completely without making a mess. Take a look inside the pan. Take note of any serious sediment buildup, as it could indicate a problem with your transmission. If the pan features a magnet, check it for any metallic particle or clutch material buildup. You can use a clean cloth and some cleaning solvent to clean the pan and magnet. Locate the transmission fluid filter and replace it with a new, clean filter. Check the transmission fluid pan’s gasket before reinstalling the pan. Some pans use a reusable gasket while others require a brand-new gasket or an application of RTV silicone on the lip of the pan prior to reinstallation. Reinstall the pan and make sure each bolt is properly tightened to prevent leaks. If you used the drain plug, make sure it’s been reinserted and tightened properly. Adding New Transmission Fluid Open the hood and locate the transmission...

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