TRUK Advice Column

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Things To Check Before Buying Used Trucks

for saleIn the present economic climate in South Africa, buying a new vehicle is virtually out of reach for some owner operators, so buying a used vehicle is the only option, and may be the answer to their needs.

Before you buy a used vehicle make sure it has been well maintained and has the engine and drive line specs suitable for your needs.

Make sure the vehicle is suited to the type of work you will be doing with it.  Proper specs are very important.  

Don't buy just because you feel it is a good deal. 

An underpowered truck for heavy hauling loads will be a VERY COSTLY MISTAKE, one which you cannot afford to make.  

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When Buying A Used Heavy Duty Vehicle

inspection2 There are things you need to know when buying a used heavy duty vehicle

If you do your research it is possible to get a good deal on a used truck, instead of just taking a gamble.

Do you feel lucky?

It is always great if you know the original owner and know how the vehicle performed and how it has been maintained, and whether it had any problems and what they are.  It does help if you know the owner/driver, but it doesn't totally eliminate any possible risks.   You can take steps to avoid having to rely on luck only.

You need to know that the vehicle is mechanically sound, so a thorough inspection is always necessary.  Remember, buying a used vehicle is not necessarily a bad thing, and it is possible to get a great vehicle that will be reliable and give you great service.

The time you take to thoroughly inspect the vehicle and see if it is sound, is always well worth the time and effort. 

If you would like us to professionally market your business or would like a free quotation, please do not hesitate to contact us today.


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Stopping and Parking

stopping2Definitions of Stopping and Parking

Stopping is when you stop for just long enough to offload goods or passengers with a view to move further. Parking is when you stop for longer than necessary to offload goods or passengers.

Introduction to Parking

Some areas of the road are restricted for parking. This is because parking in that area could endanger roader users. If a vehicle is parked illegally, it can result in a fine for the owner or the vehicle may be impounded with the vehicle owner liable for the costs of removal and impounding.

Maintenance workers, emergency crews, construction workers and officials in the course of duty are exempted from these restrictions.

Parking Signs and Road Markings

You must obey all parking signs. Any parking sign that has a red border around the outside means that you cannot stop there at any time
In addition, in areas with a solid yellow no-parking line you may not park. In areas with a dotted yellow no-parking line you may park there at times indicated on signs next to the roadway.

NoParking   roadmarking   pic1


How to Park Safely

It's not only moving vehicles that are potential hazards on the road. Parked vehicles can be hazards too. That's why it's important to follow the safe parking rules and guidelines shown in this section.You should follow these rules when parking: 

1.    Indicate for at least three seconds before slowing down to park
2.    Move as far off the road as possible when stopping or parking on a road with fast-moving traffic
3.    Park parallel to the road and as close to the left as possible, unless you are parking in an area where angle parking is permitted
4.    Always park within a demarcated parking bay and not on the sidewalk or verge
5.    There will be lines on the road to show where you can angle park
6.    You may park on the right hand side of a one-way road provided the traffic signs and rules allow it and the outer edge of your kerb side wheels are not more than 450 mm into the roadway
7.    Always check for overtaking vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians before opening your door
8.    Be careful when pulling out of a parking space. Don't forget to:

a) check for vehicles
b) signal for at least three seconds before pulling out

hillyroadParking in Hills

1.    When parking uphill on a steep road turn the front wheels away from the kerb and leave your car in first gear if it's manual or in park if it's automatic.
2.    When parking downhill on a steep road, put the car in reverse gear if it's manual or in park if it's automatic, and turn the front wheels into the curve.

scania1Did you find this article helpful?   Do you have any tips to share with other truckers?
Please feel free to leave a comment below 

If you need professional marketing for your company, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your requirements, or 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.

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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Ways To Make Your Brakes Last Longer

semitruckdrivingYou have a choice.  Make your brakes last longer, or wear them out quickly.   

If you wisely follow these money-saving driving techniques, which won't clog the trafiic, and few other drivers will notice, you will greatly improve your driving experience.

These tips should help you extend the life of your brakes, if not then the problem is either with your vehicle, your mechanic or poorly chosen or installed brake parts.  On the other hand, the problem could be geographic, if you happen to live in mountains or drive through mountains frequently

1. Speed Kills.

The mortal enemy of brakes are stops from high speed, and a little more speed hurts more than you can ever imagine. For example, stopping from 100 kph rather than 80 kph forces the brakes to dissipate about a third more energy. The car's motion is called kinetic energy. It's calculated by multiplying half the car's weight by the square of its speed. (For the math-challenged, "the square" means speed is multiplied times itself.) By turning energy into heat, brakes sacrifice their lives.  A little less speed means a lot less kinetic energy — and brake material — needs to be transformed into heat.

2. No Lefties.

Use only your right foot on the brake pedal. I often see cars cruising at a constant speed — or accelerating away from me — with brake lights either constantly illuminated or glowing like lonely lightning bugs. By braking with only your right foot, you'll avoid simultaneously pushing both pedals. Also, it'll be easier to resist unnecessary brake taps: That left foot wants in on the action.

3. Be a Coaster.

Coasting is a surprisingly easy way to get rid of a lot of brake-killing speed.  If you know you'll have to stop at the end of a freeway off-ramp, coasting from 100 down to 80 before you brake will significantly reduce brake wear. Time lost will be little or, if cars are queued ahead, none.

4. Memory Factor.

Memorize places where other drivers inappropriately slow down. Examples include hills which come as a shock to people who have been driving that same road for 10 years, and gentle freeway bends that many mistake for hairpin turns. Often, you'll have to coast down to their pace. Plan ahead and you might be able to change lanes around them. They'll re-pass you on the next downhill or straightaway, but you will have used less brakes and fuel

5. Look Up and Save.

Look far enough ahead and you'll be able to correctly time traffic lights, notice traffic backing up or see cars slowing on an incline that's just become visible. Look beyond the next traffic signal; check out the one after that and, in urban situations, the next and the next. To test how far ahead you look, draw a thin line at eye level on your windshield with a dry erase marker. On level roads, keep your focus above that line and use peripheral vision to position the car within your lane. Then erase the line before a cop asks you why it's there.

6. Don't Join In.

Many drivers brake just because the guy in front did. And the first driver touched his brake for no good reason. It'll take a bit of practice to learn to coast when others brake inappropriately, especially if you weren't looking far enough ahead.

7. Lose Some Weight.

Saying "Lose some weight" we mean don't carry unnecessary stuff. Some aftermarket parts — especially tyres and wheels — can add a lot of weight. More significantly, consider vehicle weight before your next purchase. A heavier vehicle is harder on brakes. And tyres. And fuel.

8. Flush It.

Brake fluid needs to be changed periodically .  It's called bleeding and flushing. Renew your brake fluid, especially if you have an older vehicle or you purchased used one.  You gain nothing if you save brake material but the insides of the system rot away. Flushing the brake fluid will make the internal components last longer and the brakes work better. Brake fluid naturally attracts water. In an emergency stop or after repeated brake applications, this moisture boils and severely reduces braking effectiveness. Moisture also promotes internal corrosion, which ruins critical rubber seals. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend renewing brake fluid every couple of years. While some mechanics challenge its cost-effectiveness, brake bleeding is an inexpensive, easy task for a do-it-yourselfer.

9. Upgrade and Specialize.

Don't complain if cheap bargain brakes wear out quickly, but, on the other hand, don't expect the most expensive pads to last forever. Today's brake pads are extremely complex. They may contain a dozen or more components, and are designed for specific uses. Brake material that best survives heavy-use, high-heat situations may perform poorly for drivers who emphasize economy. A good mechanic or auto parts store should be able to match your desires with the right brakes.

10. Be Frugal, Not Foolish.

Trying to extend brake life too long will cost big money. If metal touches metal, frugality becomes foolish. A good time to inspect brake material thickness is when you have your tyes rotated. Beginner do-it-yourselfers: With a wheel removed, it's easy to check disc brake pad thickness, as they're open for viewing. It's more difficult with drum brakes because the drum has to be removed. Other foolishness: downshifting to save brakes. Transmissions (and clutches) cost a lot more than brakes.

Did you notice that many of these tips will also save fuel and make you a safer, smoother driver? I hope so. 

If you would like us to assist with marketing your business, please do not hesitate to contact us today to discuss your requirements, or request a free quotation.


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Maintenance Tips To Improve Fuel Efficiency

commercial vehiclesThe fuel efficiency of a heavy duty truck is no simple matter, and there are many factors to consider.  Weather, traffic or required routes are factors out of a fleet manager's control, but many factors can be controlled, like powertrain specifications, vehicle aerodynamics and driver training. Proper maintenance can also positively impact a vehicle's fuel economy.

Proper maintenance of your truck and engine can constribute significantly to improved fuel economy.    Regular maintenance can increase fuel mileage by up to 5%.   Properly maintained fuel, air intake and lubrication systems, and also properly inflated tyres, correctly aligned wheels and brakes that are properly adjusted all contribute to good fuel economy
Each vehicle and engine manufacturer has specific maintenance requirements, so it is imperative to have the proper maintenance information available.

Here are some factors that affect fuel economy and also examples of service information that can help you keep your vehicles operating at peak efficiency.

Climate control: Air conditioning compressor usage accounts for approximately half of total engine cooling fan engagement time.  Using the air conditioning increases fuel consumption because engine power is required to operate both the air conditioning compressor and the engine cooling fan.

Tyre Inflation:  Underinflated tyres adversely affect fuel mileage.  Aside from fuel saving benefits, properly inflated tyres are safer and result in extended tyre life.

Lubricants:  Engine, transmission and axle oils with the proper viscosity also contribute to fuel economy. Using oils with too-high viscosity can increase the energy required to pump the oil through the lubricating system and result in internal viscous friction loss.

Wheel Alignment:  Tyre life is extended by assuring that axles are properly aligned, which also reduces fuel consumption.

Charge Air Cooler:  Turbocharger boost is lost if there are any leaks in the charge air cooler, as it reduces engine operating efficiency, which causes increased fuel consumption.

Engine Maintenance:  Engine valves in proper adjustment and properly operating engine control systems contribute to good fuel economy. Performing overhead adjustments at proper, regular intervals is part of essential engine maintenance.   Troubleshooting and repairing any causes of any illuminated indicator lights is vital.  

We hope this information will be beneficial to all truck or fleet owners.

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Heavy Duty Truck Repair1 fuelpump trucksworkshop
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Safety Tips for Heavy Duty Truck Drivers

working as a driverWhen dealing with heavy duty vehicles, safety of the employees is the number one priority.  Make sure that all vehicles comply with the strictest safety regulations.  No matter how secure your vehicle is, working with large trucks can be a trying job, especially when dealing with long hours and intense distances.

With the top tips below, you can make sure you stay safe while driving your heavy duty or dump truck.

Take regular breaks

Every couple of hours, pull over and make a pit stop. You will be amazed at how refreshed you feel after stretching your legs and drinking some coffee!

Get to know your vehicle

Make sure you know your vehicle inside out in case of a breakdown, especially if you break down while on the road. 

Keep your distance

Driving a heavy duty vehicle means a slower speed, but also a reduced stopping distance. Make sure you always keep a space of 4-5 cars in between you and the vehicle in front so you have enough time to brake suddenly if need be.

Watch the blind spot

One of the main reasons for truck accidents on the road is the lack of vision when another vehicle is in the truck’s blind spot. Make sure you are always checking the spots you cannot see in your mirrors, especially before changing lanes or turning.

Watch your amount of Extra Time

Even though working overtime may help you pay the bills, it is not advisable as the longer you work, the more tired you become. No matter how much experience you have as a heavy duty truck driver, driving while even slightly tired should be avoided at all costs.

Follow these tips for safe driving and it could save your life

If you have any tips to share with other truckers, please feel free to comment below

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That's some body you have

truckbodyThe type of body and vehicle application will dictate what maintenance needs to be performed and how often.

While service/utility truck owners usually keep up on the chassis’ preventive maintenance, they often aren’t as diligent about the body and its components, such as cranes and air compressors.

The type of body and vehicle application will dictate what maintenance needs to be performed and how often.

While service/utility truck owners usually keep up on the chassis’ preventive maintenance, they often aren’t as diligent about the body and its components, such as cranes and air compressors.

Taking care of a truck also means performing proper routine maintenance on its body. If a truck is side-lined because of costly unexpected problems with its body, uptime is diminished, operational expenses go up and customers are inconvenienced.

Consequently, preventive maintenance ought to be as much a priority for truck bodies and its equipment as it is for power units.  ”It is worth the investment.”

The type of body and vehicle application will dictate what maintenance needs to be performed and how often.
Consider service/utility trucks, by way of example. A well-run equipment fleet needs well-maintained service/utility trucks in order to keep its equipment up and running earning money.

inspectingtruckAll too often, because there are very few obvious moving parts and systems on the average service/utility body, maintenance tends to get overlooked.  A good inspection program is the key to keeping these bodies and their equipment clean, safe and available.

Inspecting a service/utility body should be part of the regular vehicle service program, they say, as “overall appearance and condition can tell you a lot. Is the body sitting squarely on the chassis? Does it sit higher in the front or rear? Are any of the doors sagging or not fitting properly? How does the finished paint look? Are all of the required lights on the unit and working?”

In maintaining service/utility trucks, the truck body and its components (crane, air compressor, liftgates, lubrication systems, reels, etc.) must be inspected and serviced on a regular basis.  Each of these has its own checklist of items requiring routine inspection and service.


It is recommended that service bodies be given a walk-around inspection at least weekly, if not daily, keeping an eye out for any hydraulic leaks, broken transportation/safety lights and cracks in the body’s structure.

If a hydraulic leak goes unnoticed, it could potentially cause a catastrophic failure and dump all the system oil.  If a leak is spotted, it should be corrected as soon as possible..

In addition, it is recommended to take time to check under the body to ensure there isn’t any hydraulic plumbing or electrical wiring hanging low or dragging, and inspecting electrical components and wiring. Any issues discovered need to be immediately corrected.

The underside of the body should also be cleaned and checked for loose mounting bolts, cracked members, rust and structural deformation.  If the unit is equipped with a crane or lifting device, particular attention should be paid to the mounting structure.


Not keeping the service body clean can lead to unsafe working conditions and prevent technicians and operators from noticing potential maintenance problems.  The dirtier the truck, the less likely you are to see any problems.

If you keep it clean and routinely monitor the truck, typically you can get any problems with the body rectified quickly and prevent future problems. 

If you need to advertise and concentrate on your business, why not contact us for a free quotation.  It will be the best business decision you will ever make.



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Truck Buying Options: New or Used

manandtruck   puzzledman

What’ll it be, buddy? New or used?  A salesperson could throw those questions at a prospective buyer and get a combination of answers, and none of them would be absolutely wrong. Because like everything in trucking, “it depends.”


The choice has become more critical since the cost of a new over-the-road tractor or midrange truck has climbed.. Manufacturers blame the price increases on government safety and exhaust-emissions requirements, and on inflation of the costs of materials used in building the complex vehicles.

New or used?

Why buy a new truck?  Low maintenance and less downtime.

Downtime – that’s number one. A half a million-mile used truck might still be OK, but you get to 600,000, 700,000, 800,000 miles, and that’s when things start costing you.

The cost of purchasing is higher, but your maintenance cost is much lower with a new truck.. New trucks have the latest technology that can save on fuel and other operating costs and help avoid accidents, as well as clean up the environment. The selective catalytic reduction now used by all heavy-duty diesel engine makers deals with nitrogen oxide in the exhaust and takes stress out of the engine.

But choosing new or used?  Depends on the customer and on the application.  For instance, someone who doesn’t want to deal with diesel exhaust fluid will have to buy used. A key factor is mileage.

  • Good used trucks cost substantially less than new and can perform well.
  • But research their reputations before buying

“If the customer is contemplating new or used, and he runs a lot of miles and has the means to go new, I’m putting him in a new truck. If a customer is putting 2,000 miles a year on thewhitetrucks truck hauling crops out of his 180 acres, and then he parks it for 10 months of the year, he should buy used.”

You can’t beat used trucks on price. “You can get two for one – that’s probably the biggest advantage. If you’re buying used trucks, your overheads is not near what it is when you buy new.”

Just be sure you have the trucks in the proper application – primarily, that your operation is the same or close to what the truck was originally built for.
There have been some discouraging times with some of the emissions things we’ve had to contend with.    But things have begun to turn around. The air coming out of the exhaust is as clean as can be. It just takes a lot of sensors to make it.  New engines with EPA-2010 emissions get better fuel economy than the EPA-2007 engines.

However,  There’s certainly a risk involved in buying equipment from ’07 and later. It’s viable, but you have to go in with your eyes open, you have to do your homework. Just because a vehicle has low mileage doesn’t mean it’s a creampuff. It might be low mileage because it’s been troublesome.

In deciding which used models might be the best buy, talking to the people who service and repair them for a living is a good option. And talk to customers who use them.

The Internet is also a good tool.  Not everything is true, but there’s a lot of data out there that’s in the public domain. 

If you would like more information on how to advertise and market your business, or would like a free quotation, please contact us today.


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Best Business Decision You Will Ever Make

Making decisions regarding your business is an everyday occurrence, and no decision is unimportant.   Choosing Truk to manage your marketing, will be the best decision you will ever make regarding your business.

Truk have the knowledge and knowhow to get your business visible and become a household name in the Trucking and Vehicle business

Contact us today for more information on what we have to offer your Company


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