Category: trucking maintenance

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.

Steps to Become an Owner/Operator

steps-to-become-an-owner-operator

To buy a truck or work for a carrier as part of their fleet is an essential question most truck drivers ask themselves at some point in their careers.  Both options have pros and cons and either choice could be a good career choice.

Advantages to Working For a Carrier:

  • The truck belongs to the carrier, and associated costs and maintenance are their responsibility.
  • Benefits like group health insurance and paid vacation time.
  • There’s less financial risk.
  • Less worry.  Your job ends when you’re done driving.
  • No overhead.  The money you earn is the money you get.  No need to pay for repairs, maintenance, etc.
  • It’s easier to quit your job to find a more suitable company.
  • No start-up costs other than your CDL.  Just get in the truck and go. 

Advantages of Becoming an Owner/operator:

  • More flexible schedule.
  • While it’s not always the case, there is a potential to earn more money.
  • Built-up equity in your truck.
  • Not sharing a truck with other drivers.  Some companies do this and you may be left cleaning up after someone else.
  • You’re your own boss.
  • There could be tax advantages.
  • The truck is customized to your liking.
  • More choice of loads.

 There is no right answer to the question, only what is right for you.  Do you want to be your own boss with all of the responsibilities that go along with it or do you prefer the security of working for someone else?  

Becoming an Owner/Operator

Before taking the steps to become an owner/operator, take the time to examine the pros and cons of each.  It’s a huge financial step.  There’s nothing wrong with spending your career working for someone else.  Once you’re sure you want your own truck, you can begin taking steps to make it happen.

Obtain your CDL.  You need that for the operator part of becoming an Owner/Operator.  Some people pay for their CDL by taking advantage of programs that some carriers have where they pay for your CDL as long as you agree to work for them for a specified time period.  If you do this, you’ll have to meet those obligations before becoming your own boss. 

Get Money.  Any business needs start-up money and yours will mainly be for buying a truck.  If you don’t have the money, you can take out a loan or lease a truck.  

Get Licensed and Registered.  If you plan to operate as an interstate (across state lines) carrier you will need a USDOT number to transport cargo.  You can obtain  a USDOT number by registering online through the Unified Registration Program on FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) website.  You most likely will also be required to have an MC number which is your authority to operate, also found at FMCSA. There is a one-time filing fee of $300.  Depending on the weight of your truck, you may be responsible for paying the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax.  More details can be found here.   

Get Insured.  The FMCSA not only requires insurance, but it also requires different types of insurance depending on your load, i.e. hazardous, etc.  Of course, if you are planning on hauling hazardous materials, you must obtain a special endorsement for your CDL too.

Find Loads.  Once you’re legitimate and ready to roll, how do you get loads?  A good load board can help you find lucrative loads that will help your business get off the ground.  You can search by type of load and region, and because you’re in it to make money and not drive around an empty trailer, load boards can help you fill those deadhead miles to maximize your profits.  

Becoming an owner/operator isn’t for everybody.  It’s definitely something that you have to be in it for the long haul, so to speak.  If you have what it takes, owning and operating your own truck can be a profitable and rewarding career choice.  

If you’ve decided to become an owner/operator, Direct Freight Services is the only load board you’ll need.   Direct Freight is a full-service load board that allows truckers to find loads and companies to post their available loads. The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as a mobile app, credit reports and scores, mile calculators, fuel price data, weather conditions, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing, and more.  To see everything Direct Freight has to offer Owner/Operators, go to DirectFreight.com today!

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/get-mc-number-authority-operate

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/hvut/mod1/whatishvut.cfm