TRUK Advice Column

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Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

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By using nine good motoring habits, truckers can continue to ride the highways in a safe manner. After all, no one wants to add the information of a truck accident to their financial records, even if they have easy-to-use, online truck expense management software.

9 Safety Tips for Truck Drivers

1. Get enough rest. If you feel drowsy, pull over and take a nap. Don’t risk driving while sleepy.
2. Slow down in work zones. Lanes are often moved or redirected during construction; adjust your speed so you can follow the provided signage without endangering yourself, other drivers, or the workers.
3. Be aware of your blind spots. Small cars can be easily missed. Signal your intention to change lanes or turn well in advance, so that cars have enough opportunity to get out of your blind spot. You might also invest in extra side mirrors to improve visibility.
4. Maintain a safe distance from the cars in front of you. It will take you much longer to stop than an average car.
5. Regularly check your brakes. There isn’t always a convenient runaway truck ramp nearby to catch you if your brakes go bad.
6. Follow suggested speed limits.
7. Avoid aggressive drivers. This will help you fulfill tip #6. Don’t get caught up in road rage scenarios; antagonizing aggressive drivers will only escalate the situation.
8. Always, always, always wear your seat belt.
9. Beware of the effects of prescription and OTC drugs; many medications make you drowsy.

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By making these suggestions habits, truckers can avoid getting personally acquainted with highway patrolmen, accident lawyers, insurance auditors and DOT representatives. Instead, these dedicated freight movers will enjoy the camaraderie of other truck drivers, rest stop acquaintances and happy freight companies

The best way to avoid becoming part of trucking industry statistics is to be alert, be aware and be conservative. Drivers have their hands full handling the tons of equipment and cargo they move. By adopting these nine safety tips for truck drivers, they can avoid becoming the 1 in 20 drivers with an accident on his or her record. 

If you need to concentrate on your business, why not contact us today to do your marketing professionally, or request a free quotation,  and take the worry off your shoulders.

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Tips to Keep Your Rig Running Great

bigrigAs a truck driver, you know you have to set aside time for truck maintenance and repair. But every minute you’re off the road you probably feel like you’re losing money. Aside from sticking with a routine maintenance schedule—which is the single most important thing you can do for your truck—the best way to avoid unscheduled repair stops and unnecessary downtime is to take care of your rig.

It really doesn’t take much to make a huge difference in how your truck performs, and often the smartest and safest habits are simply common sense. Here are 10 tips to keep your truck running great between service visits:

pressure check11.   Make sure your tyres are properly inflated. Every week (or more if you’re on a long trip), check your tyre pressure. Underinflated tyres can lower your fuel mileage and make steering difficult, and overinflated tyres are more prone to punctures and pothole damage. It’s also important to keep in mind that tyre pressure can fluctuate with weather changes and from driving at high speeds, so definitely monitor your tyres in these situations.

2.   Regularly check your fluid levels. Before a long haul, make sure to check all of your fluids, especially your oil. Big diesel engines need lots of oil to run well, and if you don’t check your oil often, you could eventually harm your engine, leading to high repair costs.

3.   Regularly check your radiator. Prior to long trips, it’s also important to check your radiator. Look at the radiator itself as well as the overflow bottle. If necessary, top off the fluid, and if you see any leaks (even if they’re small), deal with them quickly before they cause overheating and do any damage to your engine.

4.   Make sure to use the correct fluids. You may think this goes without saying, but it’s all too easy to use the wrong fluid when you’re in a hurry. Make sure to double-check container labels before you top off your fluids.

5.   Check your fuel vent if you’ve been sitting for a few days. After a few days off, check your fuel vent before getting back on the road. Insects, such as wasps, are known to build nests in truck fuel vents, creating blockages and causing trucks to appear to be out of fuel.

checkoil   brakes

 

6.   Check your brakes often. Do you hear squealing or feel vibration when you apply your brakes? If so, it’s probably time for a check-up. Dealing with the issue sooner rather than later will likely save you money and downtime in the long run.

7.   Drive properly. Drive at the posted speed limit and avoid slamming on the brakes. Simply following trucking regulations can save your truck a lot of wear and tear, prolong its life, and keep you out of the repair shop.

8.   Park properly. Avoid parking sideways on a hill and causing one side of your truck to be higher than the other. This can cause fuel from the higher tank to flow into the lower tank, and then when you start your truck, the uneven tanks will cause the fuel uptake system to draw in air instead of fuel.

9.   Allow your engine to cool before turning off your truck. Before you cut the key off, allow your engine to cool so that your exhaust gas temperature is below 300 degrees.

10.  Avoid harsh weather conditions. We know it’s an inconvenience to stop for inclement weather, but you can avoid significant damage to your truck by getting off the road when bad weather strikes.

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Happy 2020

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Wishing everyone a very Prosperous and Happy New Year.

Time to throw out the old and boring and bring in the new and exciting. May this New Year 2020 be the new chapter in your life and business.

Let this New Year be your year of success.

A new chapter in your business will unfold, may you have a new story to tell. Say goodbye to the old. Get your business on a new and exciting path.

Contact us today to discuss your marketing requirements to assist in obtaining the success you yearn for.

We will gladly assist you to make 2020 a memorable year for your business.

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We Wish You a Merry Christmas

trukWe would like to take this opportunity to wish all our clients a wonderful and very Blessed Christmas. We hope you have a relaxing and very happy time with family and friends.

If work worry is keeping you from your celebrations, why not ask a professional to take over your marketing to enable you to do the things that matter to your family.

We will gladly give you a free quotation, or discuss your requirements for your business.

Contact us today to set your mind at ease about your business.

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Truck Driving & Care Tips

1We appreciate the important role truck drivers and owner-operators play in sustaining the economy. We also know that trucking is a demanding occupation—financially, physically, and emotionally. We want you to be as safe and comfortable on the road as possible. Here are some tips for avoiding accidents and injuries, and ultimately enjoying a successful career.
    
Stay attentive

attentiveDo not allow anything or anyone to distract you while you’re driving. If driving becomes difficult for any reason (inclement weather, rough road conditions, family emergency…) slow down or stop if necessary. A safe driver maintains full awareness of his surroundings, and concentrates on the road.

Be extra attentive when turning

turning

A truck’s weight, length, and height make it nearly impossible for truck drivers to maneuver tight turns like regular vehicles. But drivers of smaller vehicles don’t always give you the room you need to make a turn. Signal well before starting a turn, and make sure you have the distance necessary to safely complete the turn.

Be extra attentive when backing

truckbackingBefore backing, walk to the rear of your truck and look all around for obstructions. Look all the way to the point you plan to stop—there could be something in your path—and walk to that point. Then turn around and visualize the backing maneuver. Don’t just rely on spotters. You are the sole person responsible for backing your truck safely.

Park smartly

parkingWhenever possible, back your trailer against a wall or fence to block easy access to your trailer doors. Something this simple can prevent theft, and if you set your trailer brake and put tension on the fifth wheel pin, a thief can’t pull the fifth wheel release.

Check your tyres before getting back on the road

checkingtyres1Pay special attention to your tyres before starting a job, whether you’re driving a long distance or making a short trip. When tread separates from a tyre, it creates a dangerous road hazard, and could cause an accident.

Stay in one lane

stayinginlaneIt’s in your best interest to stay in one lane of travel until you come to a stop. Even if you encounter an incident—such as slowed traffic, getting cut off by another driver, or being struck by an animal—you will likely do less harm to yourself and others and create less property damage if you stay in a single lane of travel.

Check and recheck your blind spots

3Many motorists are unaware of where your blind spots are located, and as a result, unintentionally put themselves in harm’s way. Make sure to check and recheck your blind spots before attempting any maneuver.   

Don’t let other drivers get under your skin

angryMotorists with whom you share the road often drive unpredictably—and sometimes downright irresponsibly. Their poor driving may display ignorance of your truck’s limitations, or simply their own disregard for safety. Recognize and accept their inexperience and use extra care. Don’t let yourself get angry.

Make sure your cargo is secured properly

insecureloadImproperly secured cargo can cause your truck to be unstable, and could result in falling debris that may injure you or any people or vehicles around you.

Follow hours-of-service rules to help prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue. Do not exceed these limits to try to make more money or meet delivery deadlines. It’s not worth it.

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Contact us today if you would like us to do your marketing for you while you take care of your business, or to request a free quotation.

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How to Clean Up Cloudy Headlight Lenses

A common issue that all vehicle owners face is that over time, the clear plastic lenses over the headlights can become foggy or cloudy, which degrades your night visibility.  The fogginess generally comes from a combination of sunlight damage and built-up grime. Many owners of older vehicles know that when the headlights get foggy, that can be a problem. The vehicle can become dangerous to drive at night, or may not pass important inspections that allow it to be used for a driving test or even to allow it to stay in the road.

Cloudy Headlight Lense

An example of a cloudy headlight lens in need of some TLC.
foggy

Headlight Cleaning Kit :

One of the most common ways is to buy a headlight restoration kit. These vary in quality and price. .

Pros:  Affordable, and probably the most effective cleaning method you can do at home.

Cons:  Takes time – an hour or more.  Better suited for someone more experienced with working with tools and DIY projects, as you have to be careful not to damage the lens when sanding or buffing.  Also, the headlight will begin clouding up again in a matter of months.  The above example headlight was thoroughly cleaned with a cleaning kit 14 months ago.

Vinegar :

When using vinegar to clear off headlights, fill a large bucket full of vinegar. Remove the plastic headlight cover from the vehicle and dip it into the bucket. Make sure that it is enough vinegar to cover the whole headlight as that will save time. The headlight should be left in the vinegar for at least an hour. I have never cleaned a headlight with this method so I cannot attest to the effectiveness.

Pros: Affordable.

Cons:  Labor intensive in some cases due to the fact that the headlight assembly has to be removed from the vehicle.

Sandpaper :

Unless the sandpaper is part of a packaged cleaning kit, I do not recommend this method.  The chance for permanent damage to the headlight lens is high if you use an overly course grit rating. If you’re determined, you can use sand paper to scrub off the film. Only apply as much pressure as absolutely necessary. There is no point in removing a film only to have the headlight scratched and damaged.

Pros: None.

Cons:  Very high chance of damage to the headlight lens.

Polish :

This is another method that is often used. Plastic or metal polish can be used. The polish will work best if the headlights are cloudy from being scratched and not when they are cloudy from grime.  Make sure to read the recommendations on the bottle, as some polishes will leave a thick layer over the lens.  This layer can attract even more dirt and grime, or at the least obscure the lens thus negating any benefit.  

Should you require professional marketing for your company, while you take care of business, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your requirements, or request a free quotation.

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Choose Us With Confidence

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Marketing methods continually change, and it is a challenge to keep up to date so that you can benefit from proper marketing.

That is where we come in.   We are true professionals who stay on top of all new developments in marketing.  Therefore, we can offer a professional, specialised marketing strategy to suit all your requirements.

You take care of your business while we take care of your marketing.

Contact us today to set up a meeting to discuss what is best suited for your Company.

http://www.truk.co.za/call-back.html

If you are ready to take your business to the next level, click below

http://www.truk.co.za/truk-application-form.html

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Using Insect Repellant For Cleaning Headlights

Using insect repellant to clear up cloudy lenses is one of the most popular DIY methods.

Pros:  Easy to do. Quick. Cost effective.

Cons: Only lasts a few months.

fogged   clean
Before   After

How to Clean Headlight Lenses with Insect Repellant:

Step 1

Insect Repellant with DEET

insect1

Get some bug spray that contains DEET. This can be bought at almost any store. I happen to have had this bottle in the garage for a few years.

Step 2

Spray on a clean cloth or paper towel

insect2

Spray the insect repellant on a dry paper towel or a cloth rag.

Step 3

Wipe off the grime.

insect3

Wipe the repellant on the lens until the lens becomes clear. How hard you need to scrub depends on the severity of the cloudiness. In this example, I was able to clean it up with little hard scrubbing and in just a few minutes.

Step 4

Restored Headlight Lense

insect4

The final step is simply to wipe any remaining repellant off the lens with a clean damp paper towel or cloth.

Warning: DO NOT spray the insect repellant directly on the headlight lens. Make sure you spray it on your cloth and wipe. In some cases, insect repellants can damage your paint.  Years ago, I sprayed OFF repellant on a vehicle to remove some ants that had found food inside of an equipment bin.  The insect repellant made the paint bubble and ate it right off of the vehicle. True story.

This method will clean the headlight and make it pretty clear – though not “like new” as a professional cleaning will get you. However, while this is great for clearing up the headlight if there is an inspection soon, it is not a good long term solution.  Your lenses will still cloud up after several months. 

For any queries, professional marketing or a free quotation for marketing, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

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Inspection tips: five things to look for when buying a used truck tractor

truk tractor

Truck tractor drivers depend heavily on their trucks. It€'s their livelihood and, for long-haul drivers, it can be their home away from home. This extremely interdependent relationship between drivers and their trucks quickly turns even the greenest of drivers into truck tractor experts.

It'€™s no wonder that most truck buyers at carry out their own preliminary inspections on truck tractors that interest them. Many people bring a trusted mechanic or colleague to do the inspection for them. An experienced truck owner or driver can recognize the signs of a well-maintained truck and one that has been driven long and hard without any proper maintenance.

If you'€™re a new driver thinking of becoming an owner/operator, a contractor needing to haul heavy equipment back and forth from job sites or a farmer wanting to haul livestock, you'€™ll most likely need to buy a truck tractor. Whether you're looking for Mack trucks for sale, Peterbilt trucks for sale, International trucks for sale or another truck tractor make, take some advice from the experts and inspect these five items before you bid:

1.    Axle configuration, horsepower and capacity

Check the truck€'s axle configuration and transportation regulations for your area. Make sure you are buying the right axle configuration (4x2, 4x4, 6x4, etc) for what you will be carrying. Consider the terrain and type of driving you will be doing. Will you be hauling loads over hilly terrain for long distances or making short trips within the city to deliver goods?

Select a truck tractor that has the right amount of horsepower for the type of tasks and trips you wi€™ll be doing. Ask yourself how much capacity you'€™ll need. If you'€™re buying a truck tractor to pull your excavator around town, check the weight of your trailer and your excavator to determine the right capacity for the job. Find a good source for that type of information.

heavy duty truck turbo diesel engine2.    Engine

The engine can give you a lot of information about a truck. Pull the hood and look for any signs of leaks. A leak means the engine may need some repair, perhaps not a costly repair, but a repair nonetheless. Start up the engine; let it run for a few minutes. As the engine gets warm, you should notice no smoke at all coming from the exhaust. If there is smoke and it is blue or white in colour, it could be a sign that the engine is burning oil.

Listen for any knocks coming from the engine. A knocking sound is a good indicator that the engine should be looked at more closely. While you a€™re inspecting the engine, check the engine sticker to find out if the engine meets the latest emission standards. Be aware that each jurisdiction within a country may have its own emission standards for tractor truck engines.

3.    Cab

Step inside the cab and look at the overall condition of the interior. Is the amount of wear reasonable for the truck tractor's age? Check the odometer and make a note of the mileage. For a car, anything approaching 300K might be a sign that it is time to think about a replacement, but for an over-the-road truck, mileage is not as important as the truck'€™s overall condition. If the odometer reads in the range of 400-500K, take a closer look at the engine. It might be time for an out-of-frame or less expensive in-frame overhaul to ensure the truck tractor continues to run for many more years.

4.    Maintenance Logs

If you suspect the engine has already undergone an overhaul, check the truck'€™s maintenance records. Look for any engine work that may have already been done and for other major repairs. The maintenance record should give you a good idea of how well the truck was looked after, in addition to letting you know if the oil was changed on a regular basis. Most mechanics and/or operators will mark the last mileage date of an oil change on the air filter. Check to see if this date coincides with the maintenance records.

5.    Brake Pads

Most trucks include Detailed Equipment Information. In this information, equipment inspectors try to include pictures of the brake pads. Look online to view brake pad pictures or check the brake pads on site to estimate the percentage of life remaining. A truck with worn brake pads may still be a good investment. Replacing brake pads is a relatively inexpensive repair, and something you should take care of as soon as possible. Safety comes first. 

Should you require someone to take the burden of advertising off your shoulders, and give you the best professional marketing possible for your business, please feel free contact us to discuss your requirements or request a free quotation.  

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Things to Look For when Buying a Used Semi Truck

Buying a used semi truck is not the same as buying a used car. Sure, they have some things in common, but commercial trucks are purpose-built machines that run for millions of miles. If you don’t know what to look for when you’re buying one, you could easily end up with a bad deal or a truck that doesn’t fit your needs.

semi

Whether you’re an owner-operator, a fleet driver or owner, or a farmer who needs to haul product around, you can benefit from knowing what to look for in a used truck for sale.

Truck Layout & Axles

By far the most important aspect of buying a truck is buying the right truck for your needs. 

You need to can choose whether you need box trucks, flatbeds or tandem-axle highway haulers. These trucks are not all created equal – deciding which one you should buy depends on what you’ll use it for.

For instance, if you’re a farmer looking for a way to move crops or livestock from the field to storage, or from storage to the market, you probably don’t want a large tandem-axle truck with a sleeper cab. These trucks may look great, but they’re mostly suited for long-distance highway cruising. On the other hand, if you’re an owner-operator who is hoping to make it big in the long-haul trucking scene, a single-axle short cab truck won’t be the best buy. It’ll certainly be less expensive than a larger truck, but it can’t haul as much weight and won’t be comfortable for long drives.

Engine

Another major factor in your choice of truck is the engine. You’ll want to choose a truck with the right amount of horsepower and towing capacity to move your loads around. Contractors towing small excavators or equipment won’t need as much power as drivers hauling 40-ton trailers for thousands of miles.

Your choice of engine also plays a big role in the fuel economy you can expect. While a tractor truck will never get the same kind of fuel mileage as a compact car, the numbers can still vary widely from truck to truck. Unless you’re buying your own diesel tank to fuel your truck at home, you’ll need to consider mileage and fuel capacity when you’re buying.

It’s also a good idea to inspect the engine itself when you’re buying the truck. You should try to familiarize yourself with the truck as much as possible, especially if you’re buying as a private owner. Make sure you’re comfortable with the engine and take a look at its condition before you buy.

Transmission

Most trucks in the are manuals, but automatic transmissions are becoming more popular in the trucking world. If you have a CDL, or if you’ve been driving for a long time, you’ll likely be comfortable driving a manual truck. Some drivers, though, prefer the ease and convenience of an automatic. You’ll want to know what kind of transmission the truck has before you buy so you can be sure you’ll be happy and comfortable driving it.

Mileage

In the old days, a truck that hit 500,000 miles on its original engine was ready for either a full rebuild or the parts bin. Today, many modern trucks can hit that number easily and still run for years. However, you should always know the mileage of a truck when you buy it. The total number miles a truck has driven indicates how much wear and tear the truck has seen and what condition you can expect the engine, transmission, and drivetrain to be in.

It’s also important to think about your own needs and how they relate to the truck’s mileage. If you’re planning on driving long-distance routes with your new used truck, you’ll probably want to shoot for one with lower mileage to start out. However, owners who only plan to use the truck occasionally or for short-distance hauls have a bit more freedom, since they won’t be racking up the miles as fast.

History and Maintenance

Sometimes it can be tough to know what the actual condition of a truck is before you put some miles into it yourself. However, if your truck has complete or recent maintenance records, those records can be an indicator of how the truck was treated by its previous owner. More complete or up-to-date records might show that a truck is well-cared-for. That, in turn, can let you feel better about buying it.

However, a truck lacking records isn’t necessarily a no-sale. Try to learn about the truck’s origin or past owners from the dealer or from vehicle history reports. At the least, you should be able to learn about accidents or major work the truck has received before buying it. If you do see anything that makes you think twice, have a mechanic look the truck over and give you his opinion.

In the end, buying a used semi truck doesn’t have to be a complicated process. You just need to think about what you want and what you’ll use the truck for. Once you know that, the right tractor should be easy to find.  

If you would like to spend more time running your business, and would like us to handle your marketing, please contact us today to discuss your requirements or request a free quotation.

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