Category: truck driver

A Guide to Truck Wheel Polishing

a-guide-to-wheel-polishing

As a truck driver you are proud of your big rig and you have every right to be. You spend most of your days and nights in it like it is your home. Just like your home, you want your truck to look spectacular with the latest gadgets and for it to outshine all the others. However, you may find it hard to find a time to have a professional clean it up after it has been on the road for a while. It may take days or weeks before someone else could do it, and with your schedule, you may not know the next time you will be home. Therefore, you may want to think about purchasing your own equipment to make your truck look shiny and presentable.

One area of your truck that may need more attention than other areas are the wheels. Your wheels go through a lot out on the road. They encounter rocks, mud, water, snow, ice, etc., all of which can cause them to become dirty with scratches. Zephyr is a well-known company that sells custom polishing products. They have been around for 30 years and are the leading, globally trusted brand name in the Heavy Duty truck market. Zephyr has all the tools you will need to keep your truck’s wheels up to par. Visit them at www.zephyrpro40.com to check out all of the products you will need.

Here is a go-to guide on how to polish your wheels when they need some tender loving care.

Safety First

– The first thing you will want to do is make sure you have all of the protective equipment and gear. You will be using airway buffing wheels which requires the use of safety flanges. These flanges are molded from high-density composite nylon and are lightweight but as strong as aluminum. They must be secured to each side of the buffing wheel and are mandatory when using airway buffing wheels.

– Your personal protective gear needs to consist of ear protection, hand protection, eye protection, and most importantly, respiratory protection.

Supplies Needed

  • Variable speed sander/grinder 0-6,000 rpm
  • Safety flanges and personal protective gear
  • Airway buffing wheels: yellow, green, and white
  • Compound/Rouge: tripoli, moss green, and blue moon
  • Zephyr Pro 40
  • Microfiber towels
  • Zephyr Pro 50 Eliminator

 Primary Cutting: 3200rpm

First you will use the 8” yellow mill treated buffing wheel and tripoli compound. To begin, you will need to break in the buffing wheel by raking it and fraying the edges. This also allows it to more easily take the compound. Don’t forget, the buffer spins counter clockwise so be careful when applying the compound. Next, hold the bar of rouge on the buffing wheel working it from one edge to the other for about 3 seconds. Now, break your wheel down into sections. Begin with the face of the wheel and work your way out to the edge. Go left to right, bottom to top, with nice even passes. Don’t apply too much pressure. Instead, let the grinder spin freely and take your time, making sure you make even passes and overlapping each previous pass. Move up slowly and push your black line of compound gradually forward. Once the black line starts to fade, you will need to take all of the old burnt-on compound off of the pad and reapply more, then repeat. This is the most important step in the polishing process. If done right, you will have laid the groundwork for a striking mirror finish and the rest is easy.

Secondary Cutting: 3200rpm

You should now have a shiny surface with a light haze and what looks like hash marks. Don’t worry, this is normal. Now it is time to get the green buffing wheel and green moss compound. Rake your wheel just like before and apply compound to the wheel. Once again, start from the inside and work your way to the edge. The green moss rouge will give your wheels that high luster, show quality shine. In between steps, take a microfiber towel and apply some Pro 50 Eliminator on to the wheels. This will take away any leftover compound from around the holes. Leave the Pro 50 Eliminator on after the secondary stage. This will let you see exactly where your polishing line is as well as cleaning all of the green rouge off before moving on to the final step.

Final Finish: 1600-1800rpm

Finally, grab the white buffing wheel and the blue moon compound. Just like before, start from the inside and work your way out to the edges. This will break down any buffing lines left and blend it all together. If you do all three steps just like this, then the result should be a metal, flawless mirror.

Sealing in the Shine

Now it’s time to highlight that super shine you just created by sealing and protecting it. Using a microfiber towel and the Zephyr Pro 40, fold the towel into quarters and apply about a half-dollar size amount on it. Wipe down the wheel by going with the grain, applying it nice and evenly over the entire wheel. Let it dry and use a fresh microfiber towel to remove it. This repels water and road grime that your wheels may catch out on the road. Use the Pro 40 metal polish for maintenance thereafter.

It may not always be easy for you to find time to polish your own wheels or other parts of your truck, so running through a truck wash may be a good idea to hold you over until you can find time. Direct Freight Services provides helpful trucking links, including truck washes, that you can checkout under the more services tab.

The Best Top Stacks for Your Exhaust

the-best-top-stacks-for-your-exhaust

Making your truck look good sometimes means you will have to add on aftermarket parts. A lot of trucks do not come with all of the nice chrome accessories or high-quality parts. Replacing existing parts and customizing your truck can make it look and operate better. Choosing the best accessories for your truck should be something you take into serious consideration. You want the best so you do not have to continuously replace them. You want high-quality products from a manufacturer that you can trust and come back to time and time again. One of those accessories that you should spend time researching in order to pick the right one for your needs is a top stack. According to sales and reviews, there are two companies that consumers believe carry the best truck exhaust stacks and who are known for their high-quality products-Dynaflex and Lincoln Chrome. Before doing any type of research or shopping, you need to measure your exhaust so you can properly fit the top stacks. Then it will be time to choose your stack.

Measuring Your Exhaust

You will need to measure the internal and external diameter of your exhaust. The internal diameter is the inside of the pipe, which gives you the measurement for the other pipe you would fit into it. The external diameter gives you the measurement for another pipe that you would fit around it and measures the pipe itself. Here is a simple how-to guide.

  • Internal: measure the pipe opening from edge to edge, not including the pipe, just the hole.
  • External: measure the pipe opening from edge to edge, including the pipe.

Choosing Top Stacks

Choosing a top stack may be more overwhelming and difficult than you think. There are so many options and variances between each one. Make sure you think about the overall look you are wanting along with the current look of your truck. For instance, if you are gradually adding new parts, then you will want some unity between old and new so your truck still looks good throughout the process.

Company #1: Dynaflex

Dynaflex manufactures products that are made in the USA. They are also known for being the manufacturers of the Original Monster Stacks and have been in business since 1972. Their focus is to produce exhaust systems for heavy duty vehicles. Dynaflex is known for having a deluxe, unique line up of products featuring nine styles and being of very high-quality. Customers believe that Dynaflex produces consistent products, is top in innovation, and agree that by using a Dynaflex part, you will grab attention and turn heads. The only downside to Dynaflex is that their products are some of the most expensive on the market. However, sometimes you get what you pay for, and if lasting, high-quality products are what you want, then Dynaflex may be the brand for you.

Company #2: Lincoln Chrome

Lincoln Chrome is known for their high-quality chrome exhaust systems and accessories. They have been in business since 1952 and consider chrome to be their specialty. Lincoln Chrome also focuses on the heavy duty truck market and makes seven different styles of part. They are known as a premium product brand who makes high quality products and produces long-lasting durable products that look good. All of their products are made in Nebraska and are slightly less expensive than Dynaflex, many are a plus for many consumers.

Choosing the right top stack for your truck may be overwhelming but it should also be a fun time for you. Afterall, your truck is like your home, spending many hours driving in it, so you want it to reflect who you are. You really can’t go wrong with either brand. It’s all about finding the right part that suits your needs and your truck. Once you have your truck the way you want it and are ready to get out on the road, contact Direct Freight Services so we can help you find the next load to haul.

Celebrating Women in Trucking

celebrating-women-in-trucking

 

When it comes to driving big semi-trucks, what do you think of? Many people automatically think of blue jeans, flannel shirts, ball caps and beards. All trademarks of a trucker, right? Not hardly. There is more to being a truck driver than those things, and women today are making 

headway in the trucking industry! Women truck drivers are becoming the future of big rig truck driving. 

As of April 2019, there were 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States, and of those, 7.89% were women. This may be a low percentage due to a variety of factors, one being the fact that many women have a family to raise and would therefore be sacrificing their time away from them. However, that does not mean that truck driving is a men only profession. Not only are some companies encouraging and recruiting women to become truck drivers, but women themselves want to get behind the big wheel. 

Benefits 

Women make contributions to the trucking industry, including being 20% less likely than men to be involved in a crash. According to Ellen Voie, the CEO and founder of the nonprofit Women

in Trucking Association (WIT), carriers often tell her that women take better care of their equipment, are easier to train, and have outstanding customer service and paperwork skills. Women are also statistically 45% less likely to participate in logbook violations and 60% less likely to commit hours of service violations. There are many positive benefits for women truckers. One major benefit is equal pay. Trucking companies do not pay their employees based on their gender, age, or ethnicity, but rather on mileage or the load of the percentage. Therefore, women receive competitive pay and benefits that trucking companies offer to their male counterparts. The mean wage for a commercial truck driver is $42,500 and women have more opportunity for advancement into management positions in the trucking industry than others. Female truckers also have a community of other women who are in the trucking industry to connect with. Besides WIT, which encourages the employment of women in trucking, promotes their accomplishments, and decreases obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry, REAL Women in Trucking is also a huge advocate. This organization provides their community of readers with information and support to educate women who want to have a career in trucking and to improve the lives of those who are already truckers. Family passes are also becoming popular among trucking companies. These family passes allow truckers to bring their spouses, children, or pets on the road with them. 

Challenges 

Being a truck driver isn’t easy for women. They have to face hardships such as leaving their family behind at home, sexism, lack of female accommodated truck stops, and safety issues. Safety concerns are one of the most common issues, and not just for women. Some of these 

concerns include poorly lit loading docks and being pushed to drive in inclement weather. Organizations such as WIT are working with truck stops to improve safety and recommending changes such as improved lighting and additional security guards. WIT also hosts self-defense classes and works with truck manufacturers to install safety alarms and ergonomic additions for female truck drivers in their cabs. Many trucks are designed and built for someone of a larger stature than the average woman. This can make for an uncomfortable drive which can prove to be a challenge when you are on the road for 10 hours or more. It is also likely that women truck drivers may encounter harassment due to this being a male-dominated field. To help with this, truck driving schools are providing female-led training for women who are new to the profession. 

Other Titles 

Not all women who are in the trucking industry are drivers. There are many women who are behind the scenes that work to make sure female drivers are being advocated for and who make sure their female drivers are safe out on the road. Women who work behind the scenes have careers in management and are trainers and advocates. There are even women who own their own trucking companies. No matter what type of career a female has in the trucking industry, it is an important one in order to encourage women to become truck drivers. 

The staff here at Direct Freight Services knows the importance of having women drivers and the things they can offer the trucking industry. Even though there is a shortage of female truck

drivers and it is a male-dominated field, that doesn’t mean women shouldn’t be celebrated. Whether it is driving a big rig across the country or working behind the scenes, women who work in the trucking industry care deeply about their job. They work hard, encounter many hardships, and sacrifice their time away from their family. Now that’s something worth celebrating!

Great Trucker Movies

great-trucker-movies

The movie industry has long had a love affair with the trucking industry and why not?  The idea of freedom that comes with life on the road lends itself well to storytelling, whether it’s adventure, horror, comedy, or even romantic comedies.  It can be dangerous, the scenery beautiful, and you never know what’s coming around the bend.

Trucking movies became hugely popular in the 1970s when truck drivers were seen as cowboy heroes and the use of CB radios became popular but by the late ‘80s, trucking culture began to fade, and a new form of trucker movie was ushered in:  trucker horror movies.  In these, the drivers or the trucks themselves were the bad guys, usually ruthless killers with an ax to grind, so to speak, with some unsuspecting motorist.  

Being a truck driver in real life may not have chases or serial killers, but trucker movies are always a good time! 

Convoy (1978)

When you think of trucker movies, often the one that first comes to mind, at least for the older generation, is Convoy.  It was inspired by the country song of the same name by C.W. McCall.  It didn’t fare well at the box office but became a cult classic for truckers everywhere.  

Every Which Way But Loose (1978)

Another classic from the ‘70s.  Clint Eastwood stars as Philo Beddoe in this comedy as a truck driver and his buddy who always steals the show, an orangutan named Clyde.  Beddoe is a former trucker-turned-prize-fighter who falls for a country singer played by Sondra Locke.  When she feels he’s getting too serious, she flees, making it a romantic comedy/trucker/pursuit movie.

Flatbed Annie and Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers (1979)

The abundance of trucker movies in the ‘70s didn’t forget female drivers.  This one stars Annie Potts and Kim Darby as friends who take up the driving reigns after Sweetiepie’s husband is injured.  Between a repo man and hijackers, the two have their hands full.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

This is one of the most popular trucker movies to date.  Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed star as drivers who have to make a strict deadline across the south.  Sally Field joins them as a hitchhiker who left her groom at the altar and they’re pursued across the country by the father of the groom, Sheriff Buford T. Justice, played by Jackie Gleason.

White Line Fever (1975)

Jan Michael Vincent plays a man who returns home from the Air Force to try and make it as a long-haul produce driver.  He finds the business rife with corruption and must fight it to survive.

Joy Ride (2001)

Paul Walker and Steve Zahn star as brothers in this cross-country thriller.  The two play brothers on a road trip when one taunts a mysterious truck driver known only as Rusty Nail who turns out to be a psychotic murderer seeking revenge.  Two sequels followed in 2008 and 2014.  

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

In this fun Stephen King thriller, the machines come to life after Earth passes near a mysterious comet and all the machines begin killing people.  The story centers around a group of people who are trapped at a truck stop and are being hunted by murderous trucks.

Trucker (2008)

This drama stars Michelle Monaghan as a truck driver whose 11-year-old son who she had abandoned years ago is left on her doorstep by his cancer-stricken father.  She does the only thing she can, takes him out on the road.  It also stars Nathan Fillion. 

Real-life driving is more professional than the average trucker movie but you can join in on the fun and enjoy some of these movies while you’re on the road.

At Direct Freight Services, our load board is one of the most comprehensive in the industry.  We provide a thorough, easy-to-use and up-to-date load board for shippers to post loads and for drivers to find them. Sign up today at Directfreight.com and see if Direct Freight can work for you!

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