We asked John Taylor, one of the owners of Taylor Wings, Inc., about what to carry and why to consider a chassis-mounted toolbox. He says that, in his experience, the most common tools truckers carry are screwdrivers, socket wrenches, open-end wrenches, cheater bars, grease guns, electrical tools (like wire strippers) and an electrical tester. He mentioned the cheater bar and grease gun as tools that normally won’t fit into a hand-held box.
Why move up to a chassis-mounted toolbox? He listed the following advantages:
- “Convenience. No lifting or struggling to get the toolbox in and out of the cab.”
- “Odors. Tools get greasy and dirty, and this always seems to end up stinking up the inside of the cab and sleeper.”
- “Space. There is limited space in a cab.” Having a toolbox inside the cab can use up space needed by the occupants, or cause them to trip over the toolbox all the time. In addition, there are some tools truckers often want to carry that are too large to fit into the hand-carried toolbox (e.g. a torque wrench, or that cheater bar or grease gun).
- “Time. Whenever a driver takes a hand-held toolbox out of the truck, he is wasting time. We all know time is money.”
Taylor says there are three basic types of toolboxes that Taylor Wings makes. Each is named by the location where the box fits onto the truck:
Inner skirt boxes. These mount between the frame and skirts or fairings.
In-frame boxes. These mount between the frame rails, and are simply dropped down between them during installation. This is an ideal location because they occupy only space that’s normally not used.
Step boxes. These fit where the standard truck steps go. Taylor says advantages include accessibility and capacity.
Toolboxes are marketed both through dealers and factory-direct. Cost of installation, in Taylor’s opinion, is too high for “80 percent” of truckers, so they install them themselves. This means you need to be able to lean on factory people to help you get through the job, a service he says Taylor Wings is happy to provide. So make sure the toolbox maker you buy from has someone you can call for help.