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When Is It Time to Get Your Heavy-Duty Truck Wheels Aligned?

Proper wheel alignment is always necessary for any vehicle, and especially for heavy-duty trucks. Proper wheel alignment ensures that brakes are able to grip a vehicle’s tires properly, and the brakes on heavy-duty trucks already need to work harder to stop their heavier weight. When a heavy-duty truck has wheels that are out of alignment, this can be a safety hazard as it may be more likely to skid and slide when the brakes are applied. Note when it might be time to get your heavy-duty truck wheels aligned and why it’s so important to have this done when you notice any of these signs.

1. After a collision

After any type of collision and other repairs have been done, you want to have the truck’s wheels aligned. The collision may have slightly bent a rim or axle, or otherwise pushed the wheels out of alignment; you may not even realize this has happened until you’re back on the road. While it’s good to have the wheels aligned after any collision, it can be even more important if the collision happened anywhere near the truck’s wheel wells. This may have increased the likelihood that the truck’s tires are now out of alignment and this should be checked after other repairs are completed. 

2. When fuel economy is suddenly lowered

You may be filling up at the pump more often with your heavy-duty truck for a number of reasons; you may be overloaded with cargo you’re carrying or something you’re hauling, have problems with the exhaust, or simply need a tune-up. However, improper wheel alignment can also be the issue. Drag and tire rolling resistance can be a major factor in loss of fuel economy for any vehicle but especially with larger trucks that are already typically carrying heavier weight and larger loads when in operation. 

3. After hauling uneven loads

If you tend to haul uneven loads in your truck, meaning any load where the weight is not unevenly dispersed over the length and width of the cab, this can mean pressure on certain areas of the truck that affect the alignment. One side of the truck may tend to be weighed down so that the wheels begin to drag and the alignment becomes off-balance and then needs correcting. If you’ve been hauling any type of uneven loads, have the alignment checked and do this regularly if the loads you haul are always uneven.

Make sure to visit a mechanic who specializes in heavy vehicle wheel alignment, as not all mechanics will know how to work on big trucks.

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What to bring when you’re looking for spare parts in a junkyard

When looking for cheap spare parts for your car, one of the most common and easy ways to find them is to pay a junkyard a visit. These types of establishments offer you to look through their stock of broken cars that people have left there for the spare parts that you might need. However, just walking into a junkyard without the proper preparation is a bad idea and won’t do you much good. In order to make the most out of your scavenger hunt for spare parts in a junkyard, you need to bring the right tools.

For the cars

The most important equipment is what you use to acquire the spare parts with. For this, you’ll need a sturdy pry bar, a good hammer, a set of screwdrivers, and wrenches in different sizes. You can use the same tools that you use to work on your own car, as you will acquire the spare parts from the same type of cars. If you’re looking for Ford parts, for example, you will already know how your Ford looks like and can utilise the same type of tools. However, do remember that the cars you use to take spare parts from probably are in a worse condition than your car and can be completely rusted up, why you should bring a pry bar to get unnecessary material off. 

For safety

You should also remember to think about the safety issues with digging around in old cars for spare parts. To be safe, you also need to think about the tools that you need to protect yourself from various dangers in the junkyard. Always wear safety goggles when you’re working to protect your eyes from debris that might come shooting out when you’re pulling at it. Always use a thick pair of gloves and wear a protective shirt that covers your arms to avoid cuts. You should also consider using a breathing mask to avoid breathing in particles of rust and dried fluids.

Other things

You should also bring things you’ll need just for being out all day. Sunscreen might be a good idea if the weather is sunny and warm. In that case, you should also bring something to wear on your head. A hardhat would be preferable to also protect you from falling items from the cars, but a regular hat is sufficient to stay protected against the sun. You should also bring a bottle of water and some snacks. You’ll be doing hard work, and your body will need the nutrition. 

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4 Good-To-Know Components Of A Brake Service

Imagine driving on the highway at high speeds and realising that your brakes have given way. This dangerous situation could cause accidents and fatalities, so getting your brakes serviced is necessary to maintain your driving safety. While you should leave brake repair to a qualified car service mechanic, knowing everything involved in a brake service is always ideal. This guide will equip you with the good-to-know components of getting your brakes repaired at a car repair service.

Checking Brake Pads

During a brake service, the mechanic will thoroughly check your brake pads to ensure that they are not worn out. Brake pads are key components of a car’s braking system. When you hit the brake, the brake pad applies pressure and friction to the rotors. This pressure stops the tyre from rotating. Over time, these brake pads tend to wear out, especially if you drive in high-traffic conditions where constant braking is common. If you hear squealing sounds when you hit the brakes, then it’s probably because of a problem with your brake pads. They will need to be replaced at a car service company.

Inspecting Brake Rotors

Your brake pads clamp down on brake rotors or discs to stop the tyres from rotating. Over time, these rotors will start to thin out. Every car manufacturer has a thickness specification for their brake rotors. Your car service company will inspect these rotors to ensure they are within the specification for resurfacing. If they fall outside the recommended specification, then the car service will need to replace them completely.

Brake Caliper Checks

Brake calipers are usually always checked during a brake service. Containing the brake pads, a brake caliper is located above the rotor. Over time, these calipers may start leaking and will begin to fail. When the caliper fails, it is probably because corrosion and debris causes the piston to stick. This will eventually cause rust and leakage of the brake fluid. Your mechanic will inspect and fix this problem during a car service.

Checking Brake Fluid Levels

During any brake service, the brake fluid levels will be checked. If the level is below what is recommended, then the mechanic will refill the brake fluid. If the level drops often, the car is usually inspected for signs of leakage. Your car service mechanic will also check the colour of the brake fluid to ensure that it hasn’t burnt out or become contaminated.

Keep in mind that brakes are important components of your car, so don’t try any of these fixes without proper knowledge. If you have a problem with your brakes, make sure you get to a car service mechanic immediately.

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3 Things That You Can Do to Keep Freight Costs in Check

Are you looking for ways to keep freight charges affordable? Consider the following suggestions so that freight charges do not take a large share of your company’s revenue.

Embrace Technology

Several software vendors provide transport management software (TMS) systems. Consider getting a software package that you will allow you to get a real-time update of which freight carrier offers the most competitive terms for a route where you would like to ship goods over. The system can rate different carriers based on their capacity, cargo consolidation opportunities and current rates. You will be able to use the carrier that offers you the most cost-effective terms of delivering cargo to clients.

Renegotiate Accessorial Charges

Many times, the cost of freight goes up by a significant margin because of charges associated with delays to load trucks, like surcharges for less-than-load consignments (shipments that do not reach the minimum quantity that a carrier can profitably transport). These accessorial charges can add up and dent your profits. You can reduce the impact of those additional costs by negotiating with your preferred freight transport company so that there is a cap on how much can be charged for those extras. You can increase your chance of succeeding at those negotiations if you first build a business relationship with the freight company for several months. The figures of the volumes that you ship and the freight payments that you have made will help to make your request for a standard accessorial rate more convincing.

Consider Alternate Modes

Take a critical look at the modes that you have been using to move freight to your clients. Explore other modes that can be incorporated into your freight transportation options. For instance, it may be more affordable to transport goods by rail in case such a mode is available in your area of interest. You can also consider inter-modal transportation of the same consignment if that yields a cost saving. For example, the cargo can initially be moved by rail before it is transferred to a truck that will deliver it to the final destination. The freight transporter can help you to find ways to be more efficient in freight transportation.

Develop a habit of periodically reviewing your freight transportation systems and costs. That review will help you to keep tabs on how well you are managing freight costs. That review will also challenge you to find additional ways that you can employ to adjust those aspects that are causing freight costs to creep up. For instance, you may discover that you dispatch less-than-load consignments frequently. A remedial plan may include negotiating with a small carrier so that those consignments are consolidated with other shipments.

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How to Handle These 3 Driving Emergencies

Whether you have been driving for a week, a year or ten years, you likely know the basics of handling different types of situations. You know when to speed up, when to slow down, and when to notice warning signs coming from your vehicle so you can get in the right lane fast enough. However, there are some emergencies that tend to happen less often, so you might not know how to handle them. Here are some situations you may encounter one day, and how to safely handle them to avoid an accident.

Flat or Blown Tire

When you have a flat or blown tire, the instinct is often to either speed up or slam on the brakes, neither of which you should be doing. You want to focus on getting to a safe place on the side of the road, slowing down your vehicle, and getting control of your vehicle all at the same time. If you are on a residential road or the right lane of a highway, you’re in luck. If you are on the highway in the middle or left lane, throw on your hazard lights and start making your way over to the shoulder. Only speed up if necessary to get around cars.

To slow down your car after a tire blowout, you want to remove your foot from the gas pedal to slow down but not push too hard on the brake pedal until you have better control over your car. Otherwise, your car might spin and put you and other people at risk. Keep slowing down the vehicle and moving over to the shoulder of the road while driving straight and never trying to turn the vehicle.

Overheating Engine

This is one of those emergencies that people assume is not a big deal and will continue driving to their destination. If your vehicle’s temperature gauge is above the halfway point and starting to overheat, practice caution. Another sign of overheating is if smoke is coming out from under the hood at the same time as the gauge moving up. Do not try to race home and hope you make it. You need to get to a mechanic as soon as you can, but driving there with an overheating vehicle could make the matter worse. Instead, try to find a safe place to pull over and call for a tow truck. If you know it is overheating due to lack of water, you can add water to cool the vehicle down temporarily. However, be very careful, and do not add water to the radiator when the car is hot.

If the overheating leads to an engine fire, park the car on the side of the road, turn off the engine, and get as far from the car as you can while you call for help.

Loss of Brakes

There are few things scarier than driving down the road and realizing your brakes have stopped working. If this happens, start by pumping the brake pedal as fast as you can. While the brakes aren’t working, this motion helps to create brake pressure, which can still help to slow down the car. After pumping the brakes, shift your vehicle into a lower gear and begin looking for a safe place to stop or pull the car over. If you have anti-lock brakes, stepping on the brake pedal might be enough to trigger the ALB and stop your car.

These car problems can be scary, but you can handle them if you remember the tips above. Then, make sure you have a reliable mechanic you can work with to get your car back into working condition if possible. 

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Signs That Your Exhaust System Is Failing

Maintaining your car is something that you have to take seriously to ensure that it is functioning properly. Preventative maintenance is ideal because it allows you to avoid having to make major repairs. When you catch problems right away, you have the ability to lessen the extent of damage. The exhaust system within your car is designed to take the gases that are produced during the combustion process away from the engine and move them out the rear of the car. The gases are moved through the vehicle through the exhaust pipes, and there are a number of different components within the exhaust system of your car. It is essential that you are aware of any signs that indicate a problem with this system to ensure that you can have repairs completed quickly.

Noise

One of the most common indicators that you have a problem with your exhaust system is increased noise. You will most likely begin hearing a loud rumbling noise that persists when you vehicle is moving. When you notice this loud noise when you are driving, it is a sign that there are most likely holes that are being created in the muffler of your car. The holes are typically caused by rust. More holes that are present will result in more rumbling noise.

Vibration

Noise is not the only thing that you will notice when the exhaust system starts to fail. You will also begin to feel a difference when you drive your vehicle. It is common for the car to start vibrating harshly. When you notice that the car is vibrating, this is normally an indication that the exhaust pipes are leaking. This means that the gases being moved through the pipes are leaking out before they exit the rear of the vehicle. Not only may the exhaust pipes be leaking, but also it is also possible for the brackets that are designed to keep the pipes secure to be loosened. Be sure to pay attention to when the vibration is most noticeable. The above symptoms are noticeable when the car is being driven, but if you notice vibration when the car is idling, you most likely have a problem with the catalytic converter.

Smell

It is also a good idea to pay attention to smells. If you start to notice that a bad smell is coming from your car, it could be a sign that the catalytic converter is not working properly. The smell that you will notice is described by many as similar to the smell of rotten eggs.

For more information about your car exhaust, contact a local auto shop. 

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