Roadside Attractions

Overdrive Staff | January 05, 2011

Flatbed shows some strength

The housing crisis took its toll on flatbed hauling in late 2008 and much of 2009. However, income improved for flatbed owner-operators in recent quarters, according to financial services provider ATBS. The Institute for Supply Management, which says manufacturing expanded in November for the 16th consecutive month, notes that housing still lags: “Manufacturing continues to benefit from the recovery in autos, but those industries reliant upon housing continue to struggle.”


“Trucking to me was a career and a way to get out of gas station and food service jobs… I knew that if I became a trucker, I could get a job anywhere, anytime.”

– Lisa Kelly, in the Anchorage Daily News. She’s pictured with the truck she drove in the IRT: Deadliest Roads series, on the History Channel.





What maintenance practice yields the most cost savings?

AIronically, maintaining correct tire inflation is free and one of the quickest and easiest tasks, yet it’s the highest-saving maintenance you can perform. Improper inflation wastes fuel, your biggest expense. Improper inflation also is by far the greatest reason why tires —— your second biggest expense —— fail or wear out prematurely.

For each pound of air pressure a tire loses, its temperature rises about 2 degrees, and hot tires are prone to failure. A tire underinflated by 10 percent, about 10 psi, will rapidly experience about 10 percent to 15 percent tread loss. A tire underinflated by 20 percent should be dismounted and inspected for damage.

Don’t overinflate, either, assuming it’s an easy way to avoid unnecessary tire costs. An overinflated tire suffers rapid and irregular wear and is more susceptible to damage from running over debris and scrubbing curbs.

How can I guard against loss of air pressure?

ANeglecting the compressor can lead to loss of air pressure. Most often, however, air pressure problems are elsewhere, usually a valve on the trailer or truck. Leaky connections also are common. To prevent air problems:

• Be thorough with pre-trip and post-trip inspections of hoses.

• Listen for high-pressure leaks, audible even with the engine on. If a hissing sound persists, don’t drive until you’ve stopped the leak.

• Investigate any automatic warnings about the compressor. Don’t wait.

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