Winter can bring a lot of hassles and dangers to truck drivers. As you prepare for winter, there are a few essentials that you should be buying to make trucking in the snow easier and safer. Beyond just reading up on and committing to memory winter driving tips for truckers, you also should consider buying the following items.
Continue reading Winter Driving Essentials for Truck Drivers
Owner-operators, logistics company managers, drivers and other professionals instantly know the Minimizer name. This American family-owned company’s commitment to inimitable quality produces not only the best semi truck fenders in the industry but also long-lasting floor mats, mud flaps, lights, seats and other tools and accessories. Unparalleled performance and durability guaranteed by lifetime warranties are just a couple of reasons why you need to source Minimizer gear for your rig this season.
Continue reading Why Minimizer Products Should Be at the Top of Your List This Season
Changing out your lug nut covers is something you may do if you want to change the style or if you have broken or lost a lug nut. Your lug nut covers are a quick way to add some style to your rig, too. They are not too expensive, and they are easy to change. However, buying the right semi lug nut covers requires knowing how to measure leg nut size. A good fit is essential.
Continue reading How to Choose the Best Lug Nut Cover Style
You need the right trucker accessories to keep your rig in top shape, ensure your own comfort and handle unexpected situations. Before you hit the road again, make sure you stock up with these eight essential accessories.
Continue reading 8 Must-Have Accessories for Commercial Truck Drivers
Tired of tangled, kinked, leaking air lines? Upgrade your rig from nylon coiled air lines to Tectran 3-in-1 AirPower Lines. We promise you won’t regret it! Here are 18 reasons why you should make the switch:
- No tangling or snagging like you have with coiled air lines
- Improved appearance on the truck
- Tectran AirPower Lines last years longer than nylon air lines
- Flex Grip prevents inadvertent crimping of air lines at the glad-hand connection
- Spiral Wrap has beveled edge which protects lines from damage and abrasion
- Spoon-cut spiral wrap eliminate sharp ends than can damage hoses and cable
- Tectran LIFESwivel at the tractor connection eases installation and extends life
- Coiled air lines break down quickly due to UV light deterioration
- AirPower Lines remain more flexible in cold weather
- Easier and faster hookup saves time and money
- WeatherSeal sleeves on plugs provide superior corrosion protection
- Greater strength and flexibility than coiled lines
- APL Tec-Clamp makes installation fast and easy with No Tools Needed
- Designed for operating pressures up to 225 psi
- Available with red and blue hoses, as well as with black hoses
- Tractor-side bend restrictors are non-corrosive, and prevent kinking in turns
- Available in various lengths to meet the needs of your application
- Best of all, it’s made in the USA!
Zephyr has been helping truckers make metal mirrors for over 27 years now. From the beginner just starting out on their own rig, to the pro who does it every day as a career. For us here at Zephyr there is nothing more satisfying than seeing all of your metal transformations take shape with our Pro Series Products. We hang our hat on being able to provide you with the highest quality metal finishing products available today. The amount of pride in the trucking industry is second to none. Especially the pride in your rides. There is nothing like a freshly polished big rig pushing down the line. So, if you don’t find yourself near a polish shop and you don’t want the parking lot polisher touching your ride, we hope you can fall back on these easy steps to achieve a perfect shine every time.
FROM THIS TO THIS
Safety first. For this particular process we will be using airway buffing wheels which will require the use of safety flanges. These innovative flanges are molded from high-density composite nylon that are lightweight, yet strong as aluminum. These flanges need to be attached to each side of the buffing wheel and are mandatory when using airway buffing wheels. Next, is your personal protective gear which is just as important as flanges. This includes ear protection, hand protection, eye protection, and most of all respiratory protection. These items are all available at your local Zephyr distributor or at www.zephyrpro40.com they are definitely a must when machine polishing.
Now, on to the “tools of the trade”!! For these wheels we will be using a 3 step process; cut, color, and finish. We will be using some of the most popular products from Zephyr. These products are available at www.iowa80.com
The supplies you will be using today:
- Variable speed Sander/Grinder 0-6,000 rpm
- Safety flanges & Personal protective gear
- Airway buffing wheels – yellow, green, white
- Compound/Rouge – tripoli, moss green, blue moon
- Wheel Rake
- Zephyr Pro 40
- Microfiber Towels
- Pro 50 Eliminator
Primary Cutting – 3200rpm For the first step we will be using the 8” yellow mill treated buffing wheel and tripoli compound. First off, rake the new buffing wheel and fray the edges. This breaks the buffing wheel in and allows it to more easily accept the compound. Remember, the buffer spins counter clockwise. So, be careful when applying the compound. Hold the bar of rouge on the buffing wheel working it from edge to edge for about 3 seconds. First, break the wheel down into sections. Start with the face of the wheel and work your way out to the edge. Left to right, bottom to top with nice even passes. You don’t want to apply too much pressure, let the grinder spin freely. Take your time and make sure you make even passes. Overlapping each previous pass. Move up slowly and push your black line of compound steadily forward. When you notice the black line start to fade you will need to rake all of the old burnt-on compound off of the pad and then reapply more compound, then repeat. This is the most important step in the polishing process. If this is done correctly, then you will have really laid the ground work for a beautiful mirror finish. The rest is downhill.
Secondary Cutting – 3200rpm Now, you should have a very shiny surface with a light haze and what looks like hash marks. This is perfectly normal considering this was just the first step. Now, grab your green buffing wheel and green moss compound. Rake your wheel just like before and apply compound to the wheel. Again, start from the inside and work your way to the edge. The moss green rouge is a higher-end jewelers rouge which will provide you with that high luster, show quality shine. This should leave you with an almost perfect finish. During the coloring stage you will really see this mirror take shape. In between steps grab a microfiber towel and apply some of our Pro 50 Eliminator to the wheels. This will dissolve any leftover compound from around the holes. Leave the Pro 50 film on after the secondary stage, this will allow you to see exactly where your polishing line is as well as cleaning all of the green rouge off before moving on to the finishing step.
Pro 50 Wipe down Secondary Cut
Final Finish – 1600-1800rpm Last, grab your white untreated airway or flannel buffing wheel as well as the Blue Moon bar rouge. Again, start from the inside and work out to the edges. This will break down any buffing lines left and blend it all together leaving a flawless finish. If all three steps are done like this, the result should be a metal mirror. It takes a little getting used to, no doubt, but once you have a few wheels under your belt you will be ready to attack bigger jobs like fuel tanks and more! With Zephyr’s easy to use products, the beginner can achieve a professional finish.
Wipe Down aka “seal in that shine” – We are not quite finished yet. Now that we have successfully polished the wheel lets highlight that super shine and seal and protect it. That was a lot of work and gratifying as well, so you want to maximize your shine. Grab a microfiber towel and a bottle of the trucking industries #1 selling metal polish, Zephyr Pro 40. Fold the towel into quarters, that way your fingers don’t poke through and scratch the surface. Apply about a half-dollar size amount of Pro 40 on the towel and wipe the wheel down. Go with the grain and apply nice and even all over the wheel. Let it dry and use a fresh microfiber towel to remove it. This will repel water and road grime that you may catch along the way. Use the Pro 40 metal polish for maintenance thereafter.
Thanks for checking out Iowa80.com and if you have any more polishing questions ask the friendly folks at Iowa 80 or go to www.zephyrpro40.com and @zephyrpolishes on Instagram and Facebook. Special thanks to Kevin Clapp, owner of Texas Premier Polishing out of Lubbock, TX, for his input and the pictures of his quality work.
Be Safe & Shine On!
Personalize a New-To-You Rig
By John L. Hruska
Through the years, I have bought many new and used trucks. I always seem to want to personalize these trucks to fit not only our company, but the driver too. All it takes to show pride in your ride is some good looking chrome and creature comforts.
When I buy a used truck, sometimes the truck is in good overall condition, but maybe the interior is worn some along with the outside parts. Here are some ideas on how I look at refurbishing a used truck that’s in good working order but might need some TLC.
Let’s start with the interior. First, give it a really good deep cleaning, then assess what’s needed. The carpet or rubber flooring is typically worn, so I will pull out both seats and replace it with new pieces. If the seats are worn too, this is a good time to replace them as well because it’ll save you some labor later. New rug or floor mat and seats make a huge difference for the driver of the truck; more comfort, less road noise, and definitely a better look inside.
The next thing is something with the dash. I like to give the dash a little “bling” with some chrome or color that match the trucks color. You can get toggle switch covers, dash layovers, parking brake knobs, or even a gearshift knob handle with a chrome extension. If you do all (or even some) of these things, you start to get a cool look that all comes together with some color and chrome.
Next, get some air fresheners color matched to your interior in a scent that you like, and your interior starts feeling more like home and less like the generic used truck you just got off the lot. These small changes give your driver a good start to a pretty cool interior that you can be proud of. It’ll make the driver more productive and certainly helps him or her to feel more comfortable going down the highway.
Now for the exterior. After another really good deep cleaning, assess the outside and determine what you’d like. I typically will have a truck detailed or repainted and then I decide what’s going to make the truck pop and be a little different. First, I always trim all the wheels and all lug nuts with chrome covers and axle covers. Iowa 80 has great selection of these to choose from whatever is your preference or style.
Next is the mud flaps. New, matching flaps always look better and also shows the DOT that you care about what you’re doing. Make sure they’re nice and neat, not upside down and different lengths with scattered holes in them. Now you’re starting to pull the outside together. Maybe add some chrome flap weights, to bring out your new flaps with style.
I like to add some extra lights as well, but be careful – too much and the truck is junked up, not enough then it looks like a fleet truck. Try to find the balance of lights that you like, then use them in an equal series on each side and keep them symmetrical on front and back. Sometimes it helps to look at some other trucks and find what you like. I even take photos of trucks that I like so I can keep the ideas to do a truck later. LED lights are always a better alternative that incandescent lights, they have a longer life and usually a better warranty.
Next, add some more shine with a drop visor, if that’s your thing, or maybe some stainless half fenders. I always fill in behind the sleeper with at least one frame mounted aluminum step box. It is a great tool, very durable, and you’ll always have room for an extra gallon of oil or antifreeze. And I don’t have to worry about the drivers putting those items in the sleeper compartments to make a mess.
Ok, now you have a great start in making your newly purchased truck your own. Keep thinking of new ideas to keep your truck looking good and use accessories to set yourself apart from the crowd. Don’t forget! – The folks at Iowa 80 will always be there for you with phone support to help you find all those parts and accessories that you need to bring some pride and style to your truck.
Keep pride in your ride!!
John’s father started in the trucking business in 1947, John then joined the business in 1981. He owns and operates Hruska Trucking and Diesel Transport along with his business partner and brother-in-law, Clark D Hofecker, in Windber, PA.
Tips for Getting Your Truck Show Ready
By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm
Mid-America Trucking Show or MATS is the unofficial, yet very official kickoff to the truck show season. Yes, it IS a thing! If you want to take your truck and/or trailer to a show just pick a weekend, you should be able to find one someplace.
Iowa 80, of course, has the world famous Walcott Truckers Jamboree the weekend following the 4th of July every year, which includes the truck beauty contest, and it is one of the most exciting, fun filled events of the entire season, so all of you should definitely try to attend this year’s event. We are both planning on being there again, and the entire staff at Iowa 80 do everything they can to make it an event to remember since it is their gift to us, the drivers. The Moon family does this to thank us.
Getting your truck ready to be judged is a huge undertaking, but the rewards for driving a truck that sparkles and shines after a show are just as big! It’s like getting a new truck over and over again, only better, because showroom shine isn’t clean enough to win a competition these days. It’s got to be much cleaner than that to be serious. To get it show truck shiny requires serious work, every nook and cranny has to be touched, but because you are touching all these places, you are much more likely to find a potential problem BEFORE it becomes a problem, so all that hard work does have its rewards. Another advantage is more often than not when you are pulled in to a DOT checkpoint they will be awestruck by your equipment rather than looking for something to pick apart.
There are so many new products for cleaning and shining everything these days that it really is up to each individual and the look he/she wants to achieve. Do you want your tires finished with a shiny, wet look or a dry, clean finish? Paint pens have been used to letter tires for many years and can be purchased at lots of places and in lots of colors and brands. They work well, but tires need to be clean and free of dust, then lightly wiped with a small amount of paint thinner where the lettering will be applied. This will remove any oils and allow the paint to adhere to the rubber. When dry, apply a very light coat of spray-on clear acrylic sealer. After this entire process is complete, you can carefully stage your tires and use whatever tire protectant you choose and your lettering will look perfect.
Waxes and polishes are too numerous to count, again, personal preference will win out. Use whichever products you like best for a base, but on judging morning, a quick detail product works great so you can spray and wipe down the entire unit. If you have the chance beforehand to get all of your aluminum buffed out to a pristine finish, it helps greatly, but you still need a quick detail product so you’ll be able to wipe down everything, aluminum included, because water spots will be there from a wash or dew or something. It’s really a must have.
If you are entered in an interior class, the same applies, clean as if it were brand new. The more miles on the truck, the more points it gets, the dirtier it is, the more points you lose, so clean it up. Make sure you don’t overlook those hard to reach places, clean things you don’t generally think about, pull out your seat belt and wipe it down, it gets dusty. The seat bases get dirty too in everyday use, whether or not you have a skirt to cover them, make sure they are spotless. The pedals and the boot for your shifter; those two places gather a LOT of dirt and muck yet were most often overlooked when we were judging interiors, and those places are right out in the open! Don’t worry so much about scratches or wear, be concerned with DIRT, cleanliness, or lack thereof. Another thing to be aware of when entering an interior class is the smell inside your truck. You want it to smell inviting, not irritating. Add some air freshener or aftershave, a freshly baked item, something pleasant and not overpowering, just enough that’s hardly noticeable, that would be a winning move!
Under the hood a good degreaser and power wash is a must. If you want to add little things to your engine to dress it up you could start with a few nut covers and some colored wire loom on hoses that match your truck. Looming is sold in a variety of colors and sizes and can be complemented with ties of the same or contrasting colors. This is an inexpensive way to get started dressing up your engine if you don’t get too carried away. If you can afford it, then, go ahead, get carried away! You can also take your paint pens and paint your belts to match the loom and tires if you get really into it.
During the show, be sure to start up the truck from time to time, many a show truck have needed a jump at the end of a show because they’ve forgotten to do that. Take part in the light show whenever you can, they are SPECTACULAR!
Go out there and enjoy the compliments you get when you leave the show! The real fun of having a show worthy truck is driving it every day all across America, day and night!
Stay Safe out there and Keep It Shiny!
Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.