Author Archive for Darren

Keeping Your Rubber Tracks Like New

rubber tracksWhen it comes to using heavy equipment, it is no secret that keeping rubber tracks in good repair can be a challenge.  However, it is critically important to keep maintenance up on them, because the costs of replacement are just too high (especially if you’re still paying retail price and not contracting through a dealer like OnTrac, who averages about a quarter off the list price on tracks for nearly every brand and type of heavy equipment.

To help you get the most out of your purchases – and keep your tracks working and looking like new – we scoured the Internet to find the best knowledge resources we could, then put our heads together, brainstormed a collection of maintenance tips came up with this handy guide to rubber track maintenance.  Let’s get started.

  1. Get the right kind of tracks.  This seems like it’s too obvious, but you would be shocked to learn how many folks out here order the wrong rubber tracks – either for their equipment, or for the surface on which they’ll be operating.  If the equipment will be operating on mud or on uneven terrain, you might need a different tread pattern to give it maximum grip; if the surface is particularly rough, such as sharp, rocky terrain, gravel yards or agricultural areas with leftover stubble, rubber tracks might not even be the best solution – you might have to go with steel.
  2. Make sure the tension is correct.  Without maintaining the right tension, you’re increasing the amount of wear on your tracks (while decreasing your equipment’s efficiency and effectiveness.)  The owner’s manual has all the information you need about rubber tracks – but you can also get the information you need from your dealer or distributor.
  3. Watch your turns.  Your operator should be fully versed in the operation of whatever heavy equipment he or she is using, but a gentle reminder never hurts:  Donuts and turns that are hill-traversing, zero-radius, or particularly fast or sharp wear out the tread unevenly, as does driving the equipment at a higher speed.
  4. Keep your undercarriage in good condition.  You know how tough it can be to keep large objects out of the undercarriage, and to keep it clean and ready for use every single time (especially in places with a lot of mud or on surfaces packed with debris, like grass or crop fields).  Luckily, there is already a handy guide to keeping your undercarriage totally clean and in good repair – which will also help to keep your treads like new.
  5. Rotate the tracks.  To keep the tread wear even, switch them from side to side every now and then.
  6. Forget Armor-All.  If we had a dollar for every time we saw people “maintaining” their rubber tracks with Armor-All (which is designed for tires, not heavy-duty industrial rubber) we’d have retired already.  Ask whomever manufactures your rubber tracks for their list of approved protectants.
  7. Never leave you rubber tracks sitting out.  If you’re not using the machine, the rubber tracks should come off, and go into storage somewhere that is cool and dry.  If tracks are left out in the sun, or in wet, muddy areas, they run the risk of damage or uneven wear.
  8. Always replace rubber tracks in sets.  If one of your rubber tracks breaks or is damaged, you have to replace both of them.  This is a tough one, because it is expensive, but it’s a crucial part of keeping your rubber tracks – and your equipment – in tip top shape.  Running a new track on one side and an old track on the other can cause alignment problems for large equipment like asphalt pavers and excavators, and you’re definitely not going to get even tread wear if you don’t replace your tracks in sets.
  9. Never overload your machine.  There are all kinds of great reasons not to exceed the weight capacity of your equipment, including avoiding engine damage and keeping safety at the forefront of your operations.  However, exceeding the capacity of not just your machine, but your rubber tracks, can lead to costly repairs and damage.

There you have it – nine tips to help keep your rubber tracks working like new.  Did we miss any?  Want to share your thoughts?  Let us know in the comments.

Featured images:

Gabe Coeli has recently started working with rubber tracks and has some tips on how to keep them clean and new.

An interesting article on save fuel in Perth. WA. Australia

Here is the link to the gas/petrol saving link https://au.news.yahoo.com/video/watch/22537937/how-much-can-you-save-on-fuel/

5 Ways To Reduce Your Trailer Maintenance

Whether you are a truck driver, the owner of a fleet of semi-trailers, or a company that maintains 18-wheelers, you know the magnitude of regularly maintaining your big rig(s). There’s no two ways around it. Semi-trailers must be regularly checked; you must troubleshoot, diagnose, and/or repair your vehicle to ensure it is safe for both you to drive and for other drivers to be travelling near you on the road.

Here are some time-and-money-saving tips that will help you reduce trailer maintenance while improving your trailer’s performance.

Check Your Brakes Before Every Long Haul

There are certain components of your semi-trailer’s brake system that deteriorate over time and that need to be checked; these include air leaks, drum wear, bearing seal leaks, and brake shoe wear. In addition, check to make sure your truck’s “low air warning” device is working. Being able to detect deteriorating conditions both visually and through your truck’s warning systems can mean the difference between stopping your semi-trailer when you want and trying to maneuver a big rig that is gaining speed and out of control. If you make it a habit to implement preventive maintenance procedures regarding your rig’s braking system, you’ll be able to detect and then repair worn or defective brakes before any drastic brake failure can occur. You’ll save stress, time, and money in the long haul.

Research and Invest in Quality Equipment Upfront

Diligently focus on spec’ing not only your semi-trailers brakes, tires, and other traditionally-expensive elements, but also on the smaller components that can really make a difference in ongoing maintenance costs over the years you own your trailer. While you may find yourself making a bigger investment upfront for top-of-the-line, quality components that are the best for your semi-trailer’s particular application, they’ll be able to sustain wear and tear over the long haul and require less maintenance further down the road.  For example, a commonly-recommended and increasingly-standard spec for the top rails of trailers is LED lighting. While LED lighting costs more than the traditional incandescent lighting, it’s worth it if you plan on driving your rig for at least three years. The bottom line, invest in quality equipment upfront and it will pay for itself by requiring less hassle, less stress, less replacements, and less maintenance costs over time.

Invest in Damage-Resistant Liners for Your Trailer’s Interior

Instead of old plywood-lined sidewalls that typically need to be replaced because they easily get banged up and scuffed, invest in damage-resistant, high-strength interior liners for your trailer. For dry van trailers, high-strength steel liners last longer, reduce maintenance costs, and extend repair requirements.

Prevent Corrosion: Simply, Keep It Clean

By simply having your trailer washed down thoroughly after long runs  (especially during the winter months and in inclement weather) you can significantly help to prevent corrosion from occurring under your trailer. Frequent washing prevents excessive signs of corrosion. Take care of your trailer and it will last longer, be safer, and save you from having to invest in repairs, maintenance, and replacement parts.

Frequent and Overall Inspections

Although it may take some time before you head out, it’s important to look over your semi-trailer from top to bottom at least once a month. In addition, keep a record of when it was checked and what was found. By doing this, you’ll be able to identify areas that need immediate repair so that they don’t get worse over time and turn into a safety hazard. In fact, some of your findings might be covered under warranty.

While there are many additional things you can do to lower your maintenance costs, implementing these five is a great start.

Roderick Brown is a freelance journalist covering general business and niche topics.

5 Important Considerations To Make When Deciding On A Limousine Hire Company

When most people think about hiring a limousine perhaps one of the things that instantly comes to mind is size. Most people are often looking for the largest and most luxurious limousines in the market regardless of if they want to be shuttled to an airport, meeting or to their wedding. However, apart from considering what type of limousine you want you also need to consider the limousine hire company. Since there are numerous companies to choose from how exactly do you know which ones you can trust beyond just want you read in their glossy advertisements? Below we look at five of the most important considerations you should make.

Consideration no. 1: The reputation of the company

Yes, this happens to be one of the first things that you should consider with any company prior to even deciding to do business with them. However, the problem with limousine hire companies is that there are so many out there that even people you know and who regularly rent limousines may not know which ones are the best. They will know that the ones they regularly work with are good but how comparatively good they are depends on how much deeper you dig. Do a bit of Googling for reviews and opinions from people in your city who have used the service. There are many rating sites that even rate these services based on the feedback they have received to date. This should help give you a good starting point from where you can choose which companies to do business with.

Consideration no. 2: Price consideration

Obviously everyone wants the best possible limousine hire but in the lowest possible price. Realistically though for service providers maintaining a great limousine costs money and its money that they need to charge people who rent these limousines or else they will not make a profit. So, well maintained limousines are obviously slightly more expensive, but the keyword here is “slightly”. You shouldn’t have to pay 100% or even 35% more for a well maintained vehicle. This is why to find the best price you need to shop around, get quotes and do a bit of bargaining.

Consideration no. 3: Do they provide a replacement guarantee?

What happens when the rented limousine suddenly breaks down half way to your meeting, tradeshow or wedding? Will you need to sit and wait for a replacement to arrive or will you just have to take the cab and pounder upon why you wasted that much money on a limousine. This all depends on the type of guarantee that the company provided. When a limousine hire company provides you with a guarantee this should almost always include immediately providing you with a replacement limousine which is exactly the same. However, many cheap and small limousine hire companies do not have replacements but they will also not mention what will happen in the event the limo breaks down. So, this is something you may want to ask them prior to even considering their limousine.

Consideration no. 4: Does the limousine hire company have a website

Any self-respecting limousine company nowadays should have a website. However in this day and age of the internet there are still a few companies that do not have websites and this often means that they are running a fly-by-night operation. Companies without a website cannot be thoroughly researched and there is no way for you to know much about them. You also cannot browse through their inventory of limousines for hire. So, the best thing to do is to stay away from.

Consideration on. 5: Make sure that the company is registered

The limousine hire company you end up giving your business to should be licensed and registered. This means that it is a legal business and not one run from a shabby office or from a home with three limousines on the lot. This also means that the business is responsible for their actions. Businesses like http://www.superstretch300.com.au has been around for a long time and are not just registered but also one of the leading suppliers of limousines for rent. These are the types of businesses you should trust when hiring a limo.

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Limousine.lincoln.black.arp.750pix.jpg

Mark is one of the leading experts on limousine hire in Australia. He has run his own hire company with over a dozen or so limousine and luxury cars for over a decade. A trusted and reputed member of his community Mark also writes regularly for numerous magazines and blogs offering advice to wedding couples.

The Car Accident Insurance Calculator for the United States of America

This tool that estimates how much your insurance rates will increase after an at-fault accident (per US state).

http://www.dmv.com/car-accident-insurance-calculator

8 Ways Limo Hire Services Can Avoid Getting Sued By Their Chauffeurs

Over the past few years the number of employee based lawsuits that have destroyed limousine hire companies is astounding. In the majority of cases a lawsuit puts a company into bunker mode, affidavits need to be signed, animosity increases and everyone needs to choose sides. The working environment can be miserable which leads to employees not part of the lawsuit to quit their job and new employees hesitate to come onboard what they see as a sinking ship.

In the majority of cases lawsuits can be prevented, something that unfortunately many business owners fail to see. The key factor in avoiding or defending your business against a lawsuit is to set forth hard and fast employment and practices. This needs to be in writing and everyone has to sign off on it when getting hired.

The pay gap and the setup time

The majority of lawsuits in the limousine hire business stem from this one issue. The chauffeur is supposed to be paid from the time he or she pickups up a car until they drop it off. Also, chauffeurs expect to be paid for the gaps they take in between runs. Chauffeurs need to be compensated for setup time and car washes.

Using Independent operators

Also known as an IO, the operator should in fact be independent. This in reality means that the chauffeur either leases or owns the car, has his own insurance, pays for his own gas, and is licensed independent by the state. Many times a lawsuit will arise when an IO is forced to pay for company workman’s compensation or some other employee based fees. In order to avoid this, make sure there is a clear distinction between Independent Operators and chauffeurs that work for you.

Never be a Jerk

It is not surprising that a fair majority of class action lawsuits are mainly because of greed. These are mainly based on long and often deep seeded resentment and an utter hatred for the owners and manager. So, when a settlement is divided up, these payouts are always laughable. But these lawsuits are pursued by chauffeurs because they intend to hurt the hire company they work for.

Document each and everything

It is very important that you document every infraction by your employees and keep detailed personnel files. So, if you terminate a chauffeur you need to have a paper trial in order to support the dismissal.

Never retaliate

If you have a chauffeur file a labor board compliant against you, never retaliate. Because if you do, it opens your business up to a retaliation claim. This can obviously be very painful and often grow out of proportions.

Record everything

Make sure that every call is recorded. So, when a chauffeur has a problem, your dispatch needs to resolve the issue but only on a monitored line. This will make it easier for a manager to review any disagreement.

Install drive cams

Drive cams can fix two very important legal problems. The first problem is that it helps to keep often small fender benders from becoming personal injury lawsuits. The second is that they help to create a permanent record of any reckless driving that the court will accept. So, almost all incidents need to be downloaded and then added into the chauffeurs’ personnel files.

Use the employee handbook

There should be a fixed set of pre-defined standards that work for all chauffeurs. The handbook needs to include almost all matters of behavior, appearance and decorum. They need to be regularly evaluated primarily based on the list of expectations set in the handbook. So, if there are grievances there needs to be consistent evaluations to found a strong defense.

The limo hire business is a tough one. The number of operators that open shop barely make it past the five year mark. It is often the long hours, cut throat rates, and lousy clients that turn many businessmen off. So, an employee based lawsuit just makes matters worse. The good news is that chauffeurs are comparatively cool employees by nature and so they put up with a lot as part of the job. If they do not like what they are doing for you, many of them will really just leave.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned

Manu Alias has been in the limo hire business for over a decade. He first started out as a limousine driver when in his early twenties. Today, he owns a fleet of limousines and wedding cars, in Sydney. His great customer service and experience is why he is so successful in this business. 

5 Reasons Why Caravan Sales Are Only Going To Increase Over The Next Decade

Over the past few years caravan sales have almost doubled both in the United States and in Australia. Sales have grown despite the slow economy which lasted well over five years, the effects of which are still being felt by many in the US. Many local caravan manufacturers especially in countries like Australia have reported an increase in sales not just of used but also new caravans. That said there is no one reason why sales are increasing, as a matter of fact there are five solid reasons among many others for the increase in sales around the world.

Reason no. 1: People are going to have a lot more options

The number of different types of caravans available have increased two folds over the past decade and they are expected to increase even further. Today, there are an array of different caravans many of which also have a number of high tech options included in them too. This trend of comfort and technology merging to provide the perfect experience is what is driving caravan sales in many countries around the world. People always want options and both international brands as well as local manufacturers are answering this demand for options which is pushing people to buy caravans.

Reason no. 2: Caravans have become cheaper

One big reason why people have been opting to purchase caravans is because it has become increasingly cheaper to buy one. Caravan sales especially skyrocket when manufacturers and dealers offer special discounts which is proof of the fact that price is certainly driving demand. In countries like Australia price has mainly be driven down by high end local manufacturers like http://www.jbcaravans.com.au. The comparatively lower price and the fact that spares are easily available is one of the leading reasons why many people are considering a caravan purchase.

Reason no. 3: Many banks are offering people loans to buy caravans

In the past if you wanted to buy a caravan you’d have to save up to buy one banks would rarely sanction a loan to just buy a caravan. Today an increasing number of banks are including caravans as part of their automobile loan policy. This is another reason why we expect that caravan sales will grow tremendously over the next few decades. There are also an increasing number of low income families who are substituting their mortgage for a caravan which they can live in for an extended period of time. Some experts belive that bank loans are going to become increasingly easier to get and cheaper, probably as low as what is changed for an automobile. So, those who already don’t own a caravan may soon own one because things are only getting easier.

Reason no. 4: Caravan maintenance has become cheaper and will continue to become cheaper

A decade or so ago maintaining a caravan especially in a country like Australia was considered expensive. Many people opted not to buy a caravan especially because they couldn’t afford its maintenance. Caravans were considered an investment for someone who had a fortune to throw around. Today thanks to locally manufactured caravans finding replacement parts and getting it repaired has become cheaper that what it was before. This has also made using caravans more reliable because regardless of where you travel in Australia there is a good chance that if something breaks or becomes undone you can find a replacement part without much hard work and not at a premium. Over the next few decades new technology will make replacement parts cheaper and the overhead associated with having them imported from countries like China will be reduced.

Reason no. 5: Great resale value

The resale of caravans have also improved. In Australia the improved resale is partly fueled by growing demand for caravans and the people’s love for the great outdoors. However, on closer inspection it seems as though the resale for locally built caravans is significantly better. Caravans built by high end manufacturers like JB Caravans fetch a much better price in the second hand market than imported caravans. This trend is only going to grow as more local businesses start to setup shop in the country to manufacture high end caravans.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned

Mark is one of the leading experts on caravan building and sales. He has a degree in engineering from the University of NSW and has spent a few decades working for international caravan building businesses. Today, he runs his own caravan building company which specializes in designing and selling high end, state of the art caravans. JB caravan in Facebook

An Insight Into Tyre Cupping

Driving on completely worn out tyres is extremely dangerous. As the tyres are the only ones in direct contact with the road, worn out tyres prevent you from having control over the car. That is why it is advisable to be on the lookout for uneven or complete wear of your tyres. One example of uneven wear is tyre cupping.

Tyre cupping or scalloping is when your car tyres have indentations on them. Tyre cupping is a form of abnormal wear that causes small portions of the surface to fall off. The sections where tyre parts fell off are then smoothed down when one is driving, hence the name cupping.

How to Catch Tyre Cupping

Tyre cupping may go unnoticed if the car owner lacks keen eyes and does not do frequent tyre checks. It is important that you check your tyres for cupping as such a scenario cuts off your ability to control the starting and stopping of the car. An indication of cupping is when your car emits a rhythmic rattling sound that gets worse with increased speed. If the cupped tyres are at the front part of the car, the driver will feel a vibration or a shake through the wheels.

When you suspect tyre scalloping, you should perform a thorough check of the tyres immediately to prevent fatal accidents. Lift the area in suspect using a floor jack to a position that allows you unrestricted access to the tyres. Spin the tyre around and look for cupping marks. Make sure to take note of the position where these marks are located, as this will help to pin point the root cause of the tyre wear. Do not rush to replace the tyres when you notice cupping because this is not the only possible solution. You should instead take your car to a mechanic for further assessment in case the problem is with the vehicle.

Possible Causes of Tyre Cupping

According to statistics, the leading cause of tyre cupping is use of poor quality tyres. Good quality tyres have the ability of resisting environmental causes that may lead to tyre cupping.

Another cause of tyre cupping is problems with the car itself. Scalloping that occurs on one edge of the tyre indicates a serious problem deep in the suspension of the car or there could be an issue with the wheel bearing. A wheel-hop is when scalloping occurs in the middle of the tyre or is evenly spread out. This type of tyre cupping indicates a problem with the shock absorber of the car.

How to Fix Tyre Cupping

The methods used to fix tyre cupping entirely depends on the cause of the problem. The various solutions may include balancing of tyres, fixing tyre alignment, or buying new tyres. If the problem is with the shock absorber, a mechanic will change the shocks. Sometimes mechanics may use a tyre shaving-machine to even out the wear after fixing the problem.

There are several types and degrees of tyre cupping, so you should take your car to a repair shop for evaluation.

Gavin Taylor, a car enthusiast who loves to share his knowledge through writing, authored this article. If you are looking for affordable good quality tyres, Gavin recommends you to visit The Tread Shop.

The Most Expensive Car Parts You Will Come Across In A Vehicle

No matter how much you love your new vehicle, car parts are never going to last forever, and a time will come when you are going to have to make some pretty expensive replacements. Car parts fail because, like many man-made objects, they are created by humans who are not perfect themselves. A good way of ensuring that your car parts last as long as possible is by paying close attention to the manual you are given when you purchase your vehicle. This manual will tell you the best ways to look after your car and could help prevent you from burning a hole in your pocket with replacement parts and repairs. However, you may be wondering which car parts will set you back the most if you find that they need replacing within your vehicle, so here are a few parts that are the most expensive.  Of course, remember that the price of your parts will depend on various factors, and you will need to obtain a quote based on the model and make of your car.

The Engine: The engine is the heart that keeps a car going, and it is the source of power that allows us to drive. Your engine makes all of the other parts within your car work, and without it, you’d have little more than an expensive pile of metal in your driveway. Typically, the four-stroke gasoline engine is one of the most common types of car engines used in cars today, and your engine has several expensive parts that may need replacing, including cylinder heads, water pumps, pistons, rods, the crankshaft and more.

The brake system: Your brake system can also be quite expensive to replace, and of course, it is vitally important to ensure that your brakes are always working at their best if you want to make sure that you are safe on the road. Your braking system is used to slow down or stop your car and most cars have a disc brake system or a drum break system, but there is also an electrical braking system referred to as ‘antilock’ which can prevent brakes from locking up.

Suspension and Steering: The steering and suspension system within your car is one of the most important systems in your vehicle, and it gives the driver and passengers a smooth ride, helping the driver to steer the car in the right direction. The suspension and steering in your car will help your tires travel well over bumps in the road and potholes, and could assist you in driving your car well through systems such as power assist and power steering.

Transmission and Transaxle: These parts are also very expensive to replace, not because of the parts themselves, but more because the labour involved in replacing them is quite extensive. Although many people believe that the engine is the most important part in a car, you will not be able to move if your transmission refuses to work properly. The transmission and transaxle helps you to control the speeds of your car.

Dominic hester is a car owner and frequently drives long distances. he likes to visit www.powerbulbs.com/us.

Top 5 Gadgets For Truckers

Being a commercial truck driver can be a difficult and strenuous job. Trust us, it takes a lot more than simply sitting behind the steering wheel, turning on the radio, and stepping on the gas pedal. Indeed, heavy truck service requires one of the toughest skill sets of any career, including patience, endurance, mental strength, and an acute attention span.

Fortunately these days with the advent of modern technology, there are gadgets and toys available to make trucking a much easier, and much more enjoyable job than it was ten or twenty years ago. With that, we’re happy to bring you our round-up of the top 5 must have accessories for every trucker!

1. GPS

A proper GPS is a given for anybody working in the commercial trucking industry. In fact most modern transport trucks include a built-in system to guarantee that no turn ever goes missed! Some of our favourites are the Cobra 8000 Professional 7” GPS and the Rand McNally RVND7710.

2. AC/DC Television and DVD Player

When you’re on the road, it’s not out of the norm to go over 24 hours without having face to face contact with another person. While this can be incredibly relaxing for some, it can become incredibly boring and isolating after a while. Bringing along a portable TV and/or DVD player to watch your favourite shows on the road can be incredibly comforting, and help you stay entertained during those quiet nights alone.

We like the Coby, DVD/CD/MP3 Portable Player w/ 7” Display.

 

3. Dash Cam

A dashboard cam might not make your job easier while you’re driving, but it will save you a world of hassle if you get into an accident when you aren’t at fault and need to prove it. Many a trucker has reported being backed into at a truck stop, or rammed while on the freeway, but with no way to prove your innocence, you could end up being the one paying the consequences. With a dash cam, this won’t be a problem. Some of the best dashboard cameras are made by Top Dawg including the Dual Dash Camera and the Night Vision Dash Cam.

4. 12-volt Heater and Fan

Whether it’s in the sweltering heat of summer or the frosty cold of winter, an uncomfortable temperature in your truck will make your whole drive unbearable. Invest in a heater and/or fan, or better yet, something like the duel system Direct Hook-up Ceramic Heater/Fan by RoadPro to ensure that you’re never sweating or shivering in your truck.

5. Bluetooth Headset

The number one complaint of anyone in the commercial trucking industry, is the time away that it requires from friends and family. Truckers go weeks without seeing their loved ones, which can be very difficult—especially for those with children at home. Luckily, with a proper Bluetooth headset it’s easy to stay connected to those special people in your life at any hour of the day. Just pop it in your ear, and you’ll feel like you’ve always got company on the road. We like the Car & Driver Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit and the Top Dawg Single Ear Premium Bluetooth Headset.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.shutterstock.com/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.shutterstock.com/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.shutterstock.com/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.shutterstock.com/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.shutterstock.com/

Michael C Nelson is a blogger and an automobile freak. He has been working for Truckers Assist for more than five years. You can contact him through Facebook or Twitter.