Diesel vs Electric APUs

When it comes to choosing the right APU for your truck, there are a variety of factors to consider. You have already made the most important choice of installing an APU into your truck, which will save you time and money on the road. Determining if you are going to use a diesel or electric APU is the next step in the process. Here is a brief breakdown of both types so that you have a better understanding and can make the most informed decision depending on the type of trucking you do.

 

Diesel APUs are ideal for drivers who spend the majority of their time in either areas that are very cold or areas that are very hot. They are run by a small diesel engine that runs with the rest of your truck. They have more power than their electric counterparts and can therefore generally last longer than 10 hours, allowing for maximum rest time for drivers. More power also means that more electric parts can run while the truck is powered down without the fear of the APU running out of steam. On the downside, they require more preventative maintenance and more specific knowledge. The maintenance for a diesel APU needs to be kept up to avoid nasty consequences. They also need belt and oil changes to run at maximum efficiency.

 

On the other hand, electric APUs were designed for a different driver in mind. A driver who only spends a few nights in a row on the road may prefer an electric APU. This form was designed for moderate temperatures and for drivers who have the ability and time to recharge their APUs at home. While they may not require much additional maintenance, they still need batteries and an understanding of energy efficiency to make the most out of each charge.

 

Regardless of which type of APU you choose, just having one will make your job easier. Less idle time is not only better on fuel costs, but also on taking care of the truck in the long run. We carry parts for Thermo King APUs as part of our commitment to keeping you safe on the road.

 

Read more...

Find the Right Trucking Company to Work for

There are many different trucking companies out there that are always recruiting new drivers no matter what state the economy is in. Despite this, you need to know that these companies all have different recruiting techniques that they use to entice new drivers to sign up with them. It is to your advantage to take a close look at the various trucking companies out there and see what they have to offer you. Since you won’t be comparing apples to apples you need to evaluate each one on an individual basis.

 

First, you will want to find a trucking company that has a terminal in your general area. Otherwise you are going to find you have to drive endless miles empty in your own vehicle if you are using a company owned semi truck. If you are an owner operator with your own truck then you will be driving these additional miles in the big rig without pay. This can get quite expensive. Many of the larger trucking companies have terminals in many locations while the smaller ones may only offer one or two terminals. This will generally be the location where you drop off your paperwork, attend safety meetings, and take care of other essential tasks related to the trucking industry.

The amount of money you will get paid is very important, but you need to evaluate this carefully. Many trucking companies offer a sign on bonus if you agree to a contract of one year or more. This may be payable when you initially start or when you reach the time mark outlined in your contract. You need to find out if you will get paid by the mile or by the hour for your work as well.

 

It is important to find out when you will be paid for your work. Some trucking companies pay you a set number of days after you turn in paperwork for a load. Others have set pay dates. You also need to find out if you will get a check or if the funds will be directly deposited into your account. If you are an over-the-road truck driver the direct deposit option generally works best so you can access funds even when you aren’t in the area.

 

Inquire about various benefits that the trucking company may offer you. These include health insurance, 401k plans, and bonuses for attendance and safety. All of these items make up a complete employment package and they are worth looking into. Also, you should always have some type of savings plan in the works for your future.

The way dispatch works for different trucking companies can make getting loads a smooth process or it can be a nightmare. Look for a trucking company that has plenty of freight to offer. This way you can deliver your load, call dispatch for another load, and be on your way again. You will be wasting your time and your money if they continually leave you sitting around waiting for a load.

 

Find out how the company handles time off. You may be offered paid vacation time after you have been with the company for a set period of time. However, you may need to take a couple of days off to deal with issues that have been piling up or for a special occasion. Look for a trucking company to work for that is willing to work with you to get your personal needs met.

 

Drivers should also know that having an auxiliary power unit can increase fuel efficiently by reducing idling time. They should know the importance of APU maintenance and well as how to stay on top of his/her rig’s other systems. In short, careful research into your employment options and the right set of skills will help keep the job you do secure enjoyable and safe as well as profitable.

 

 

Read more...

What to Look for in Truck Driver Training Programs

There are many different programs out there that teach you how to drive a semi truck. They often assist you with learning the written materials as well so that you can pass both tests in order to get your Class A CDL. It is important to look into the qualifications of such truck driver training programs though. You want a quality program that is going to teach you valuable skills. It can be very dangerous to place new trainees into the workforce with a CDL when they don’t have sufficient training. You also want one that is affordable. Many of the accredited truck driver training programs offer financial aid to help assist with the cost of attendance. They will also work out payment plans to assist you with paying for the remainder or if you don’t qualify for any type of financial assistance.

 

There are many instances where you can get your truck driver training paid for by an employer. Still, you have to look closely at what they require in return. Most of them will require you to sign a contract that you will work for their company for a specified amount of time. If you are fired or voluntarily leave the company before that span of time you will be responsible for repaying the company for the cost of your training.

 

The length of the truck driver training program is very important too. Some of them claim that they can get you in and out in a couple of weeks. While this may seem appealing, keep in mind that there is plenty to learn about driving a semi truck. You don’t want to be rushed and you don’t want to be on the road on your own before you are ready. Find a program that is full time and is at least four weeks long.

 

Ask about the curriculum of the program so that you can see for yourself what information will be covered. You should also ask about class sizes so you can find out if you will be able to have your specific needs met by the program. Don’t be shy about asking about the qualifications of their instructors either. The more experience they have in the classroom and driving a semi truck, the more firsthand information they will be able to share with you.

 

It can be very exciting to learn how to drive a semi truck, and having your Class A CDL can open up many wonderful job opportunities for you. Selecting the right training program is essential for you to establish a solid foundation upon which to build. Knowing the basics of how to operate a semi truck, the rules of the road, hours of operation, and being safe should all be a part of any quality truck driving training program. Don’t settle for anything less since it may result in you not having the skills you need to succeed in this career.

 

Driving a semi requires a great deal of knowledge and experience. It also requires you to have a vehicle that is performing at peak efficiency so that you can handle unavoidable emergencies that can surprise even the most skilled driver. You can improve the efficiency of your truck with an auxiliary power unit (APU). An APU can help increase gas efficiency and reduce idling time. We sell APUs at a reasonable price and can even perform auxiliary power maintenance on your existing unit.

 

Read more...

What are the Tax Deductions for Owner Operator Truck Drivers?

Filing taxes is never a pleasant event, but it is necessary. Most owner operators have a variety of expenses they incur during the course of their business that they can deduct. Taking these deductions means that you as an owner/operator could end up paying less income tax. Let’s look at some common deductions for truck drivers

 

First, you will be able to depreciate the value of your truck over the course of several years. The amount you can take depends on the purchase price of the equipment. If you sell a truck or trailer during the year you should know that you will have to count that as income because you have already taken some of the depreciation on the equipment. You should also be able to deduct the interest you pay on your truck payments and trailer payments. However, you aren’t allowed to deduct the actual payments.

 

Next, there are the tolls and fees for scales that truck drivers have to pay along their routes. These fees can be deducted as well. Make sure you keep track of what you pay for showers, truck parts, maintenance, and repairs. All of these items are deductible. You don’t need to keep your receipts for meals because the government gives you a per diem rate that you can claim. However, you do need to make sure you keep track of the number of days you are out on the road so that you can figure the deduction.

 

Clothing can’t be deducted unless it is specifically for work related services. For example, you can claim a bright orange vest and a hard hat that are required to be in a construction zone for which you may be delivering materials. However, you can’t claim your jeans, tennis shoes, and shirts because they aren’t considered to be a required uniform for work. You also can’t claim any traffic tickets or attorney fees you have to pay. Often, truck drivers try to deduct these expenses on their tax return. The result is they end up getting a bill from the IRS telling them they owe more money. Fuel is the most common expense that truck drivers incur. Make sure you keep a close eye on those receipts because each one will likely be worth $100 or more. Losing these different receipts can really add up during the course of a year, and that means you will have to pay more income tax.

 

Just be careful that you understand that there is a line between what is necessary vs. what is a luxury. Also, consult a tax professional if you have any doubts as to what you can deduct. If you are seeking a way to make your trips more fuel efficient, consider an auxiliary power unit. We sell these fuel saving devices and specialize in auxiliary power unit maintenance.

 

Read more...

Hybrid Semi Trucks

As the cost of fuel often fluctuates, things can become difficult for most drivers. If you own a trucking company or you are an owner operator, you feel the hit at the pumps more than anyone due to the amount of fuel that semi trucks need to operate. Therefore the idea of hybrid semi trucks has been in the works for quite some time as one way to offset high fuel prices for truck drivers and to reduce their impact on the environment.
Some of the first tests with hybrid trucks were done using vehicles from the United States military. Peterbilt is considered to be a quality brand of semi truck, and was the first to introduce hybrid semi truck models. They were first available for viewing in 2008 at various truck shows. Kenworth is another very reputable brand of semi truck, and they have also developed hybrid semi truck models of their own. They presented some of their models at truck shows as early as 2007.
It is estimated that over-the-road hybrid semi trucks can save the driver or the company at least $10,000 annually. This is quite a significant amount of additional profit for any owner operator. For those trucking companies with thousands of trucks, these savings can quickly add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars on annual fuel costs.
Some people remain skeptical about the use of hybrid semi trucks, but for the most part the trucking industry is excited about these vehicles. This particular type of semi truck significantly impacts the trucking industry as we know it today. While these hybrid semi trucks cost more than regular trucks, the amount of money that can be saved on fuel costs make them a great investment.
With so many semi trucks on the road, the positive impact that hybrid semi trucks will have on the environment are very encouraging as well. If you are interested in learning more about the future of hybrid semi trucks, you can visit the Peterbilt or the Kenworth websites. In the meantime, another way to increase fuel efficiency if you do not own a hybrid semi is by using an auxiliary power unit.

We sell APUs and specialize in auxiliary power maintenance.

 

Read more...

Safety is the GOAL

Following the GOAL acronym can save you from potential injury and costly accidents.  If you haven’t heard it already, “GOAL” is a common word used amongst truckers to remind themselves to (G)et (O)ut (A)nd (L)ook.  Many accidents and injuries are avoided by taking the extra time to assess your surroundings.

 

Truckers are often required to put their tractors and trailers into tight spots.  That’s why taking the extra time to make sure the location is safe is necessary.  Remember: we all want to go home in the same condition at the end of the day, ensuring we take the time to operate our trucks safely will provide the opportunity that we (and the people around our vehicles) need to go home safe as well.

One example of when GOAL comes into play is when backing into a tight parking spot or loading zone.  Instead of taking the risk of negotiating a backing procedure blind, Get Out And Look to ensure that no obstacles or people are in your path of travel.  Truckers don’t like to turn their trucks off while performing GOAL, why not install an auxiliary power unit to save yourself some money while your truck sits idle?

 

After being parked in your truck for an extended amount of time, make sure you GOAL (Get Out And Look) your surroundings before hitting the road again.  A lot can change in the short amount of time you spend in your cab with your truck parked.  Has an animal found shelter under your wheel well?  Has a child decided to rest on your back bumper?  Maybe there was a slow leak in a tire that is now flat….  There are many variables that could come up that you need to be aware of.  Make sure your area is safe before moving the truck again.

Damages can be costly.  Use GOAL to help yourself avoid preventable accidents.  Use an auxiliary power unit to save yourself money while making sure your path of travel is safe.  Do not rush while checking your surroundings, it could save you from a potential collision or an injury to bystander!

Read more...

How to Find a Trucking Job

The key to landing a trucking job is being prepared and knowing what to expect. Most often, truckers start the hiring process by speaking to a trucking recruiter. Recruiters frequently hire only for one company (the company they work for themselves), so it may be to your advantage to shop around and talk to a number of different recruiters to find the best company for you.

Next, never lie to a recruiter when seeking a trucking job. The truth will eventually come out any way. This may or may not involve disclosing information that may seem to work against you but truth is always the best policy. Also, recruiters will ask you for a variety of information, so be sure to have the following on hand:

 

A current, non-expired CDL with an accurate home address
Your work history for at least the last 3 years (some recruiters may want 5 or 10 years of history).
The names and contact information for all of your former employers.
Proof of your work history including old W2 tax forms, reference letters, or DOT numbers. This information will be especially helpful if any of the companies you worked for previously have since gone out of business.
A copy of your driving record or MVR
Proof of eligibility to work in the United States.

 

Homeland Security regulations require that all commercial truckers undergo a background check prior to being hired. This simply reflects the times in which we are living. Companies will be able to see a copy of your DAC report which will reveal previous driving jobs, any accidents in which you were involved, and notes of any problems with former employers.

If there is anything on your record that might be questionable, it is very important that you talk about this with the recruiter right away. It is much better to be professional and proactive upfront when discussing information that might be detrimental to you. Also, a potential employer is going to need to know about any incidents, or accidents, for at least the previous three years.

The demand for truckers is at times very high, and it is relatively easy for most qualified truckers to find steady work. Nevertheless, some researchers estimate that as many of 15% of drivers, even those with extensive experience fail to qualify when applying for a trucking position. Work hard towards your goal of driving for one of the big companies and you may find the payoff to be huge. If you are a truck driver you will find that your trips will be much more fuel efficient with an auxiliary power unit. We sell these and we offer auxiliary power maintenance too.

Read more...

Are Defensive Driving Courses Right for Your Fleet?

Generally, defensive driving courses help individuals hone their driving skills when they already have their license and are experienced drivers. The basic concept behind such a course is to train an individual  so that they can react to the mistakes made by other drivers on the road and avoid an accident. When this idea is extended to a fleet of drivers, this can increase the efficiency and safety record of the entire company. 

Defensive driving courses assume that even if you drive carefully, there are always those rash drivers who will either jump the red light or will take a sudden u-turn without making any signal, etc. In these instances your drivers must be ready to react. Companies that enroll their drivers in defensive driving courses are often entitled to certain privileges by their insurance company. The company can sometimes even get discounts on their insurance premiums. 

There are a lot of rules that drivers are taught to follow in a defensive driving course. The first thing that one needs to remember is to pay attention. The most common explanation that most people give after an accident is that they did not see the other driver approaching. The only way out is to always remain alert. Another important rule to follow is not to trust other drivers to do the right thing on the road.

Next, it is always better to maintain a safe distance from the car or truck in front of you. One should also remember that even if they obey the traffic lights, someone else might not. It is also advised that drivers should always wear their seat belt. Many an accident injury could have been averted had the persons inside the cars strapped themselves in properly.

A defensive driving course also emphasizes that a person should drive only if they are sober. It also instructs its participants to observe all speed limits. Drivers are also advised to avoid all sorts of distractions while driving such as listening to the radio or talking on the phone.

One should also slow down in case of rain or snow. It is recommended that an eye be kept on pedestrians. The list of such laws goes on. One needs to go through them thoroughly and put them to practice on the road. Once one does he can become a much safer and secure driver.  

Your company invests in all kinds of quality equipment to ensure that its fleet stays safe on the road. Why not invest in courses to make your drivers better? Our product line includes auxiliary power units from some of the world’s leading manufacturers. We also perform auxiliary power maintenance for our clients.  

 

Read more...

Ways to Increase your Fuel Mileage in a Semi Truck

6 Steps to Ensure the Safety of Your Fleet

Safety should always be top of mind for fleet managers and truck operators. But with the pressure to make deadlines and commitments, how do you ensure drivers are staying safe on the roads? Well, one way to accomplish this is to have a driver safety plan in place that stresses several common sense measures to make drivers, cargo and other motorists safe. Here are six steps you need to consider when putting together or tweaking a fleet safety program.

  • Screen and select drivers carefully: The first part of any effective fleet safety program is to hire the right people. Thus, you should establish clear hiring standards and a thorough screening process for anyone who drives for your company.

  • Encourage your drivers to take scheduled breaks: Hundreds of thousands of vehicle collisions happen every year due to drowsy driving. Thus, you should encourage your drivers to take a rest along their route and to map out those breaks. Studies show that rest stops helps drivers improve their reaction time and increases their overall level of alertness.

  • Keep the lines of communications open: By this we mean that management should communicate with drivers on a frequent basis about their driving and any problems they may be encountering. After all, your drivers won’t know something is wrong with their driving unless you tell them.

  • Learn from accidents and mistakes: When accidents do occur take the opportunity to learn from them. Use what you find to improve policies, enhance training, etc.

  • Embrace technology: The right technology has the ability to drastically improve fleet safety. Telematics in particular provides visibility to aggressive driving behavior like harsh acceleration and deceleration events, idle time, and speeding. This information can then be used to either train, discipline or replace drivers.

  • Formalize a plan for vehicle inspection, repair and maintenance: This can help reduce unexpected breakdowns, and can assist in avoiding accidents that are caused by faulty equipment.

These are just a few ways to increase fleet safety. It is also important to maximize the efficiency of your fleet. You can do so with an auxiliary power unit which will save on idling costs. You can also improve fleet performance for the unit you already have. We sell and service APU units and stand behind our products.  

Read more...

Ways to Increase your Fuel Mileage in a Semi Truck

Can you imagine being happy with getting only six to eight miles per gallon from your personal vehicle? Most of us would not be impressed at all with such low mileage. Yet for professional semi truck drivers, striving for increased fuel mileage is very important. Getting six to eight miles per gallon means the semi truck is operating efficiently. (Some semis only get four miles per gallon.)

Those who drive for a company don’t worry too much about the cost of fuel or how many gallons they get per mile because they get paid based on the number of miles they drive. However, owner-operators pay very close attention to these figures because they have to cover the costs of their own fuel. In some instances, the cost can be as much as 40% of their gross earnings per month!

Factors that Affect Fuel Efficiency

There are some factors that will affect your fuel mileage in a semi truck that you can’t really control. For example, wind resistance forces you to increase your speed which uses up more fuel. Also, truckers have no control over the cost of fuel per gallon. That said, there are some ways you can increase your fuel mileage that won’t cost you very much to implement.

  • The first thing you can do to increase fuel is to purchase an auxiliary power unit. APUs reduce idling time which is a fuel glut.
  • Next, reduce the amount of added chrome and accessories on your semi truck. Too much of it – especially those pieces that are quite heavy- will add weight and increase the amount of fuel your truck consumes.
  • Also, the amount of air in your tires will affect fuel mileage as well. You should check your tires routinely to ensure that you have just the right amount of air in them at all times. The amount of air moving underneath the semi truck is important as well. Too much air means you will be struggling as you drive down the road.
  • Finally, there are special designed pieces you can place under your truck as well as on the roof of it in order to reduce the amount of drag your rig produces.

Incorporating these ways to increase your fuel mileage in a semi truck can greatly improve your efficiency in the end. Knowing how to make your rig fuel efficient can be your hedge against the fluctuating cost of gas as can auxiliary power maintenance.

Read more...