Fleet Challenges

The current state of the economy has taken its toll on many industries. The reason for
this is likely tied up in the toll it has taken on fleets across the country. With the dramatic
increases in inflation, fuel, equipment, and labor costs, companies are struggling to keep up.
This is forcing a higher cost onto the consumer directly for just about every good and service
across the board. This is unlikely to settle for quite some time. Manufacturer delays are so
common now that fleets have been forced to focus on preventative maintenance as their top
priority.
Maintenance costs were down in the year 2020 due to the COVID19 pandemic. As things
started reopening and customers started placing more orders, maintenance costs increased in
2021. Now that we are halfway through 2022 we are seeing even greater maintenance costs
across the board. There has been a 20.4% increase in repair costs since the year 2020 just to
2022. This is more than a little inflation that companies could have anticipated. In order to help
get in front of the small problems that could exist and in order to prevent them becoming large
maintenance items, companies are now recommended to check their APUs more often than
ever. APUs help reduce idling with can help to prevent large maintenance items in the long-run.
Repairs have become so costly that they are now placed in order of priority. Repairs that
are a safety concern are taken care of immediately. Drivers need to be kept safe while on the
road at all times in order to protect themselves and others. Repairs that impact the reliability of
the vehicle are next in line. Finally, convenience items are taken care of last. If you are worried
about the ongoing maintenance of your fleet, we highly recommend taking the preventative
maintenance approach.mechanic

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How Harmful Is Idling?

There are now 29 states with active idling law regulations in place. These laws are in
place for good reason, as idling for 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more CO2 than
restarting your engine does! Over time and with an excessive number of vehicles on the road,
these emissions can wreak havoc on the environment. Running vehicles emit significant CO2
which is a colorless and odorless gas. What happens to the environment when more and more
CO2 is emitted is that heat becomes trapped. This is called the enhanced greenhouse effect.
Over time this can dramatically alter the earth’s climate.
Vehicles also produce volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and oxides of
nitrogen. All of these gases are toxic and when produced in abundance are extremely harmful
to the environment. Something to consider when running a fleet of vehicles that may be idling
is the health of the drivers. The drivers have direct exposure to all of these harmful chemical
day after day while on the job. This can cause long-term health problems and increase costs for
your business, not to mention you want to protect your drivers at all cost.
Luckily, APU Center has an abundance of solutions that will not only save the health of
your drivers, but it will help save your bottom line as well. If you need assistance on selecting
the right APU for your fleet of vehicles we are happy to help. We have cost-saving solution tools
that will help you realize your total cost savings by making the switch. The best benefit to APU
usage is the health of the environment and the health of your drivers. It can be an initial
investment to your company upfront but will save you significantly long-term and the payback
happens quickly.idling

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Staying Safe on the Road

 

Driving always presents risk and when you are driving a 18 wheel semi truck or other large vehicle, it becomes even more important. Here are some of our top tips for drivers of any age and experience level that will hopefully help keep you safe on the road.

 

The Buffer Zone- As truck drivers we have the advantage of being significantly higher in the air in comparison to the average vehicle. The height is an advantage in being able to see what is ahead on the road. What you want to see in front of you is absolutely nothing, you want to leave plenty of space in front of your rig which may mean that you are only going 50 mph, but being patient is what will keep you out of trouble. Having space means you have room to break and avoid joining any accidents that may occur in front of you. 

 

Delivery Check- Prior to making a delivery in an unfamiliar area, find a space to park outside of the location and walk around it first. This allows you to take in any potential obstacle that may be unexpected including fire hydrants, ditches, light posts etc. You know your truck the best and will be able to determine what is the best way to get in and out of the area. 

 

Rain, Snow, Hail, Sun-  Driving is not only about being aware of the other cars on the road, it also applies to knowing the weather. Not only does it give you an idea of what the roads might be like, but it also allows you to mentally prepare for the road ahead. Different conditions may require you to pull to the side sooner than you expected for your own safety and that of your cargo. 

Being safe on the road is the number one goal for truck drivers. When it comes to saving money, there is no better way to cut down on fuel costs than through using an APU. Stop on by our shop and have your APU installed or serviced by one of our experienced technicians. We have a large selection of Thermo King parts and can also ship parts across the country.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

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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.

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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.  

 

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