Category Archives: Interior

Spring Cleaning

Top Tips to Refresh Your Truck

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Winter takes a toll on everything, including, or maybe especially on your truck. The chemicals they put down on the roads to melt the ice and snow and make them safer are hard on all things truck, from the paint to the wiring, the stainless to the aluminum.

Keeping it all clean during these winter months becomes a full time job depending on where you are based and where you run. No matter your lane, the chemicals and salt are murderous to your equipment and it is vital you get it washed as often as possible to keep these contaminants from eating your truck alive. It always feels great to drive a clean truck, even if it only lasts a short time.

Top Tips to Refresh Your Truck- Winter takes a toll on everything, including, or maybe especially on your truck. The chemicals they put down on the roads to melt the ice and snow and make them safer are hard on all things truck, from the paint to the wiring, the stainless to the aluminum.When the warm weather finally comes around take the opportunity to roll down the windows and let in that fresh air. Open up the doors while cleaning your interior and start at the top of the cab and work your way down. You’ll first need to rid the interior of any build up of dust or dirty particles that have accumulated in the corners and seams of your ceiling with a stiff brush. A blow gun attached to the air lines under the seat work well here, or even a vacuum cleaner if you are able to get one with the right attachments.

Once you have cleaned the ceiling you can do the seats themselves, then concentrate on the dash. Here, you may need to have a cotton swab or toothbrush to get into all the little crevices and vents. I am assuming you have removed all of the litter and trash that may have accumulated on the dash and floor itself over the long winter months? Y’all do realize that the little peeper window in the door on the right side is NOT a garbage level indicator, right??? Your truck IS your home on the road, so hopefully you don’t have trash piled high everywhere. If your dash is full of trash it could be an invitation to a nice DOT officer to take a closer look at you, at your truck, at your paperwork. Just sayin’.

There are a multitude of cleaners on the market today, everyone has their favorites. If you don’t know what to use, ask other drivers what works for them and check out their results before you spend money on products you know nothing about. I have a compact carpet shampooer that I break out a couple times a year to clean up my interior, especially in the springtime. It leaves everything smelling fresh and clean. It was a small investment many years ago and has paid for itself a hundred times over since I can not only do the floors, I can do the upholstery, walls and ceilings of every truck we’ve driven since I bought it, whether we owned it or not.

Springtime is also the time to clean out the cabinets and cubbies, get rid of those items and supplies you carried specifically for winter. Clean out your closet, put away the heaviest coats and boots and scarves and gloves and clothing, make way for lighter things. Organize your cupboards and once again, get rid of out of date items. It’s springtime! Get out your cameras and brighten up the colors!

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.


 

Best Tips for Personalizing Your Cab Interior

Personalizing Your Cab | Trucker TipsBy Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Most drivers spend more time in their trucks than they do at their house, so it’s very important that every time you open that door it welcomes YOU home. This is your personal space, your office, your headquarters for operations. It is a reflection of your taste, the pride you have in your job, your industry and the things you like. It can make you a happier driver when you crawl into the cab.

Trucking is a lifestyle, not just a job and the view that comes with it is often times better than corporate America’s CEOs get to enjoy. Although our view is outstanding, space is limited, so it is to a drivers benefit to maximize space wherever possible, creativity here can be your best friend. Lots of things can, and should, do double duty, keeping the things you use most often at your fingertips. One of the first and most important things about the cab interior is the scent, ALWAYS keep it smelling fresh, choose something you like and keep it well supplied!

Over the seat organizers can hold everything from pens, scissors, maps, CAT scale and truck stop directories, stapler, calculator, back scratcher, notebook, miscellaneous bookkeeping supplies, dash duster, etc. They also keep things neatly stowed in colorful organization. It is also helpful to have a good LED flashlight on a strap so that you can hang it from a hook or elsewhere for ease of use in the dark when you need to grab it in a hurry for inside or outside use.

We all have our favorite colors, the ones we use to brighten up the interior and maybe co-ordinate with the exterior of our trucks. We use them to complement other colors and generally just personalize our space. One of the quickest, easiest ways to start is to get some rugs. Bathroom rugs work really well, the ones with the rubber backing as they don’t slip and slide all over on any type of flooring your truck may have and as a bonus, they keep your feet warm! The contour rugs, those made to fit around the base of a toilet fit perfectly around the base of most air ride seats. They also fit nicely around the boot of a transmission. If you have 2 full sets of these you can have a spare for spills or wet and salty, muddy conditions. They also keep your floors (whatever surface you have) clean and easier to maintain. There are many styles of floor mats also readily available, in case you don’t want or like the idea of rugs.

Best Tips for Personalizing Your Cab Interior- Most drivers spend more time in their trucks than they do at their house, so it’s very important that every time you open that door it welcomes YOU home. This is your personal space, your office, your headquarters for operations.
Shawn Swanson, Prophetstown, IL – 2002 Kenworth & 2010 Reitnouer Trailer – Pure Attitude – 2016 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

Speaking of floors, there are many different surfaces you can install in your truck if you own it, from carpet to laminate, wood to tile. These are available in a plethora of colors and styles as well, to meet your needs and taste. Some of them are quite durable as well and can be kept clean very easily. Getting a ‘blow gun’ and having it installed beneath the driver’s seat is a great, time saving tip that works really well, much better, in fact, than a whisk broom or vacuum, as it reaches spaces the others can’t. Usually, even if you drive a company truck, when you buy one of these the company will allow their own shop to install it for you since it is such a handy tool, as long as you are willing to leave it in the truck when you switch out.

The seats in your truck are yet another area that can be customized, either the seats themselves, if you are an owner operator, or with seat covers you can purchase in many styles and fabrics for company drivers. Even owner operators who like the seats in their trucks can change it up inside the cab by simply buying a set of seat covers in a fun and comfortable fabric. We’ve been told that sheepskin covers are highly recommended for comfort in both winter and summer. You don’t have to break the bank to be cool or comfortable.

Keeping a place specifically for your glasses is a good idea as well, having one spot to hang them, always, will help keep them from getting broken. Same can be said for your headset and cellphone charger, those removable hooks are a fantastic option for those items. You can mount them to the surface inside your cab somewhere and hang these things in the same place every time. This way, you will instinctively know exactly where it is when you need it and reach for it in just the right spot. I have always been the night driver and I found this part of setting up our truck especially important.

Using brightly colored towels or throw pillows inside the cab area will complete the setting, bringing your own personality to the space. These can have a team or color or branch of military service, whatever is important to you. Doing this personalizes an otherwise impersonal space and makes it your own, turns that truck into your home!

Stay safe out there and Keep It Shiny!


hogeland_grimm_149x149 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.


 

Show It Off:

Tips for Getting Your Truck Show Ready

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Getting Your Truck Show Ready | Trucker Tips

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.

Tips for Getting Your Truck Show Ready- 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!
2016 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

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!


hogeland_grimm_149x149 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.


 

5 Top Ways to Dress Up Your Dash

5 Ways to Dress Up Your Dash | Trucker Tips
By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

We all have an office with a view and that view is constantly changing. The scenery below that view can be changed by dressing it up a bit. There are many things you can do to customize your dash, beginning with switching out the stock yellow and red brake knobs with anything from carved wood to engraved colored to molded plastic ones that have your branch of military emblazoned on them.

There are many choices, many price ranges and many options for company drivers as well as owner operators, small changes that can be made without damaging the truck so that when you get a new truck, provided you keep the original parts, you can put it back in the same condition you received it in and take your pieces with you into the next truck.

5 Top Ways to Dress Up Your Dash- We all have an office with a view and that view is constantly changing. The scenery below that view can be changed by dressing it up a bit. There are many things you can do to customize your dash, beginning with switching out the stock yellow and red brake knobs with anything from carved wood to engraved colored to molded plastic ones that have your branch of military emblazoned on them.
Shawn Swanson, Prophetstown, IL – 2002 Kenworth & 2010 Reitnouer trailer – Pure Attitude, 2016 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

1.  There are a huge variety of bezels (rings of different shapes and sizes formed and molded to fit around existing pieces) to choose from, for everything, from the gauges to the turn signals. They come in chromed out plastic or metal, flat or visored, shiny or colored. There are also name plates available, colored and engraved in different fonts that fit inside the bezels and cover a small portion of the gauge, if you so desire, that dress it up and identify them giving the entire space added personality.

2.  You can add switch extensions to all those toggles along the dash, ones that even have jeweled ends on them if that suits your taste, or just an anodized finish if you prefer, the choices are, once again, almost endless. If you have a newer model truck, one that doesn’t have those types of switches, but has rocker switches instead, there are a number of options for those as well. There are covers designed specifically for the switches on each particular model truck, you just need to ask.

3.  There are a variety of custom wood, stainless and plastic pieces available for the glove box and other areas of your dash that you can get and install without doing ANY damage to the truck, so all of you company drivers CAN do some customization without putting your job in jeopardy. It’s entirely possible for any driver to make that dash shine, and on any budget!

4.  You can also purchase, and have installed, beautiful steering wheels that are available in many different materials. They come in wood, aluminum, plastic, and again, there are many options, limited only by imagination, style and budget. You can buy a steering wheel cover and install it on any steering wheel, possibly with a few modifications. But a steering wheel change is also not a permanent change, so it can be done to a company truck, with permission, of course, and then returned to stock condition before you leave that truck. The covers are a great option for all you drivers who are unable to change the wheel itself, they too come in all kinds of fabrics, materials, colors, prints, even furry finishes if that’s what you enjoy.

The possibilities are truly endless for customizing your dash, it all is up to you. It makes no difference if you own the truck or drive it for someone else, it is your office, the place you spend most of your waking hours on any given day so it only makes sense that you would want to personalize it a bit, put your own stamp on it.

5.  If you own your truck you can actually paint the dash pieces that are black or wood-look from the factory to match the exterior of your ride. If you don’t own it a good option for you would be to install a removable shelf paper to the surface, much like you would apply wallpaper to walls in a house. This has a sticky back, but not a permanent application so that it will peel off easily when you get ready to switch trucks. You need to always keep that in mind when you are driving someone else’s equipment.

Remember, when you are dressing up your truck, whether you own it or someone else does, do not damage it when doing the customizing, it isn’t necessary. If you are replacing parts either keep the original ones so you can put them back before trading or expect, up front, to let your investment in the new parts go with the truck. If you are a company driver, make sure to respect the truck you are assigned, don’t make any changes that involve cutting, drilling or gluing things that cannot be easily removed without damaging the vehicle.

Stay safe out there & Keep It Shiny!


hogeland_grimm_149x149 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.


 

The Bunk

Making the Most of Your Home Away From Home

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Sleepers today come in all shapes and sizes, lots of companies are taking driver comfort into account when they order trucks. There are many choices when it comes to the bunk itself, you may have one equipped with anything from a classic flat top, to a company stand up, to a full on custom show stopper. Whatever the size, it’s all about making the most of the space that you have.

The number one job of your bunk is to be a comfortable place for you to get good rest during your 10 off, but they can also be used as a kitchen, dining room, office and living room. For this post we are going to focus on the sleeping aspect, but we will be addressing other uses in future posts.

Mattresses are available these days in many venues, and in various configurations from foam to spring to combinations. A good mattress is a sound investment whether you own the truck or not because your sleep is an invaluable commodity, it’s actually priceless, in my book. You can buy them at truck stops where they are either kept in stock (at the largest truck stops) or ordered for you, custom sized for your particular truck. If you cannot get a new mattress a good alternative is to get yourself a thick memory foam topper, these can really make a difference in how well you sleep, especially if you run team and your rest must be taken while traveling down the road.

Most standard bunks will take a twin size sheet or an extra long twin, but if you are lucky enough to have a thicker or wider bed, you may need to get full sheets and tuck under the extra fabric. You also can get sheets, custom sized at truck stops, specifically made for sleeper mattresses. You can go with plain white or get a wild print, get a coordinated blanket and comforter, add a couple of pillows and you have a beautiful, welcoming, inviting bed. Cotton sheets are a good choice in the summer, but during the colder months flannel sheets or the new fleece ones are a better choice. There are also heated blankets and bunk warmers that plug into your 12 volt outlets you can pre set to your desired temperature, let them warm up, then snuggle in!

The whole idea of creating a home like atmosphere is meant to bring a tranquility and peacefulness to your environment so that when you park for the night, or you switch out with your co-driver, you can shut out the world and relax your body and your mind so that you are able to get the sleep you need in order to start anew the next day. Another way to achieve this ‘homeyness’ is to add a rug, match the rugs you use in the cab only in a bigger size. The floor of the bunk can be very cold, even if there is carpet from the factory. Adding rugs will help your feet stay warmer as well as help keep the floor cleaner, catching things you may drop or spill. You can easily pick up a rug and throw it in the wash, or shake it out whenever need be, much easier than vacuuming two or three times a day!

Making the Most of Your Home Away From Home- Sleepers today come in all shapes and sizes, lots of companies are taking driver comfort into account when they order trucks. There are many choices when it comes to the bunk itself, you may have one equipped with anything from a classic flat top, to a company stand up, to a full on custom show stopper. Whatever the size, it’s all about making the most of the space that you have.
Shawn Swanson, Prophetstown, IL – 2002 Kenworth & 2010 Reitnouer trailer – Pure Attitude – 2016 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

Keeping a small wastebasket around is necessary and doesn’t take long to fill, so every time you fuel or make a rest stop get into the habit of taking out the garbage at that time, doing so helps keep the bunk clean and fresh and makes it stay a place you want to sleep. As with the cab interior, it’s very important that you choose a fragrance system you like, then make sure you keep it supplied. You want to be sure your bunk ALWAYS smells fresh and clean and inviting, like a place you want to spend time.

There are so many closet organizing solutions available these days that no matter your truck, you will be able to find something that works for you. A little bit of trial and error at first when you get in a new truck, whether to fold or hang up shirts and pants depends on your available storage area, the configuration of cubbies and closets, but with such an assortment of plastic and canvas containers and drawers you should be able to find things that will fit in the spaces you have to work with. Getting things put away and knowing where they are when it’s time to get them together when you need them can be a real time saver.

Use removable products (so you can leave the truck in good condition when it’s time to switch trucks) that are designed to attach securely, without damage to the surface you’re attaching to, to hang family photos and mementos so that you can feel close to those you love. Decorate the inside of the bunk to mimic your home as closely as you can without doing any damage, in order to feel connected to them no matter how far from home you may be.

If you are really creative, you can make your little bedroom as picture perfect as some of the ones in a magazine, then crawl into bed and get some good sleep so you will be ready to go out there and take on the day! (or night, depending on when it’s your turn to drive!)

Stay safe out there, and Keep It Shiny!


hogeland_grimm_149x149 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.