Some Useful Pocket Tools for Truckers

As a trucker, you never know where you’ll end up needing a tool or assistance. Truck stops have limited resources and life on the road is made a lot easier when you have the tools you need. Along with big standard tools, plenty of pocket tools and quick options will make your life more manageable on the road.

A collection of pocket tools will not only provide you with repair options, but many of the tools will help with everyday tasks as you travel from stop to stop on the open road. Check out this guide to learn about some of your tool options and their uses on the road.

Multi-Tools

One of the quickest and most efficient tools to bring with you on the road is a multi-tool. The fold-up tools include a lot of compact options. Tools vary by design, but some of the more common options include scissors, knives, screwdrivers, and pliers. A multi-tool provides quick repairs options but also has everyday uses.

For example, if you purchase fresh fruit for the road, a multi-tool is ideal for peeling and slicing the fruit. After driving for a few months, you will have a good idea of what tools you use on a regular basis. From there, you can upgrade your multi-tool to include the exact tools you need for the road.

Credit Card-Sized Multi-Tools

An alternate version of the multi-tool is a credit card-sized multi-tool. A flat multi-tool includes different edges and flip-out options. Some of the edges may include sharp edges or jagged edges like a small saw blade. The tools are typically made of durable metal to provide strength. These tools also include cut-out shapes in common bolt sizes to help loosen and tighten various bolts.

The tool is easy to keep in a wallet and pull out in a pinch.

Tire Gauges

Air pressure is an essential part of operating a big truck. If your tires have low pressure, you run the risk of a tire popping or lowering your gas mileage and driving efficiency. One of the quickest ways to check the tire pressure on your truck is with a tire gauge. Pocket versions allow you to quickly check the air pressure without the need for a big rig or professional help.

Some of the more advanced pocket gauges include a digital screen. The digital reading takes the guesswork out of a tire gauge and will give you accurate results. Some of the screens feature backlit LCD screens that allow you to see pressure when you check in dark conditions.

Hex Keys

When you need to make adjustments or remove bolts, you may run into frustrations when you do not have the proper size. A hex key tool includes a collection of the most sizes for hex bolts. When you use the properly sized tool, you can make adjustments easily and can avoid stripping bolts.

Each tool on a hex key can flip outwards to access the hex bolts one at a time. As you shop for hex keys, look for ones with at least ten different sizes. Some sets will include both metric and standard sizes for the hex key.

LED Lights

Advancements in LED lights have created small pocket lights that provide powerful beams and illumination. The lights come in handy when you need to inspect and check your truck at night. Choose from handheld lights or keychain lights you can quickly access.

A small LED headlamp provides a hands-free option when you have to crawl under the truck or need to use multiple tools. LED lights are also useful during the day. Many areas of the truck block out natural sunlight and create areas that are hard to see.

Along with the LED lights, consider an extra stash of backup batteries to help power the lights. You can also shop for LED lights with rechargeable batteries so you can charge the lights while you travel on the road.

Tool Organizer

Pocket tools are easy to lose. The last thing you want is to have a convenient tool get jammed in your seat or just go missing. When you purchase pocket tools, consider an easy way to organize all the tools in one place. If you want an enclosed space, shop for small plastic tackle boxes usually reserved for fishing.

A tackle box typically opens up to reveal multiple layers for easy storage. The clips to hold a tackle box shut will prevent the tools from falling out while you drive. If you purchase a truck with a sleeper cabin, then consider a make-up organizer. The open sections of the organizer are easy to place tools in. Keep the organizer inside a cabinet and grab a tool when needed.

For all of your truck needs, contact us at Arrow Truck Sales. We can help you find day trucks and sleeper cabs and give you tips on tools and accessories. The more prepared you are for the open road, the more easily you’ll be able to handle any situation.

Operation Safe Driver Week 2021 is Approaching!

CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week starts on Monday, July 11th! Throughout the week, law enforcement personnel will be on the lookout for commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in risky driving. Identified unsafe drivers will be pulled over and issued a citation or warning.

Data shows that traffic stops and interactions with law enforcement help reduce problematic driving behaviors. By making contact with drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel aim to make our roadways safer by targeting high-risk driving behaviors.

The emphasis this year is on speeding. “When you look at the data, speeding has gone up,” said Kerry Wirachowsky, the Director of CVSA’s Roadside Inspection.

The event doesn’t just focus on trucks but any vehicle on the road. “Operation Safe Driver is a little different in that it doesn’t just take into consideration trucks, but also cars around large trucks,” said Wirachowsky. “When the police are out their patrolling they’re looking for cars cutting off trucks, it’s a lot of traffic enforcement.”

For more information on Operation Safe Driver Week you can check out the CVSA website: https://www.cvsa.org/programs/operation-safe-driver/operation-safe-driver-week/

We talked to Kerri Wirachowsky, the Director of CVSA Roadside Inspection about the event and so much more!

Planning for the future is a key to truck driver success

There are variables in a truck driver’s life that can affect his or her monthly income. A lot of successful drivers have found ways to navigate the variance in income with forward thinking. Some months may be more lean than others, but if you’re planning and budgeting for the future, it can help take some of the potential volatility out of it.

“Sometimes freight pay really well and you’re doing a lot of miles,” said Arrow Truck Sales’ Jason Church. “Setting money back is tough to do sometimes.”

“Planning for the future is a really big key and something that’s hard to do,” he said.

The intermingling of personal and truck finances can make things difficult at times, but planning ahead to maintain your unit is crucial, says Church. “When your tires are wearing thin, and the check engine light is on. You do need to keep up the equipment so you can lean on it. That’s what makes your money.”

Proactivity with maintenance can help save money – especially if you’ve purchased a used commercial vehicle. “Waiting too long to make a repair typically can snowball into something much worse – and very costly,” says Church. “Consistently putting a little money back (is important). A used truck will break. A used truck has used truck problems.”

You can watch the full episode of the Successful Driver podcast with Jason Church here:

How to maintain the resale value of a truck

Jason Church, a member of the purchasing department at Arrow Truck Sales, has seen a lot of trucks in his life. Whether it’s prior roles as a salesman and branch manager, or his role today, the man has done a lot of deals on used commercial vehicles.

When it comes to resale value, Church has some suggestions on how to get the most out of your used truck.
“Whether it’s a truck, a car, a bass boat, a house, people like to buy nice things,” said Church. “When you look at two different trucks, and they came from the same place, and two different people had control of its outcome. If one is clean, the bumper got scratched but they took care of it when they could, and the tires match.”

Beyond keeping things clean and consistent, Church also preaches proactivity. “Making sure there’s not oil leaks to the ground. If you get a simple oil leak today, just fix it. It becomes a massive leak down the road and sprays all over the truck.”

It can be tempting to collect insurance money on minor issues and not resolve issues with the truck, but Church cautions against that. “If you get dinged. Instead of taking the insurance money and saying ‘When things slow down, I’ll get it fixed’. Just get it fixed.”

Church mentions that if at all possible, resolving issues in a timely fashion is important. “I know there are bills to pay, there is a reality to everything, but if you can’t stop right make sure you do.”

A proactive approach to cleaning and maintaining your truck will help improve the resale value when it comes time to sell. “Keep it clean, keep it nice. It speaks volumes and pays more when you do it.”

Watch the full episode here:

A Caffeinated Drink Guide for Truck Drivers

For many truck drivers, one of their most important road companions is caffeine. Caffeine boosts energy to help drivers stay alert on the road and make it through long stretches of driving. When you hit the open road, you shouldn’t just drink anything you can get your hands on. Proper caffeine management will help you stay both healthy and alert as you drive.

Before your next big road trip, read this drink guide to learn about caffeine and ways to boost energy while you’re on the road.  Continue reading “A Caffeinated Drink Guide for Truck Drivers”

What truck drivers need to know about their HVAC

We were lucky enough to spend some time with Stan Saunders, HVAC Product Support for Road Choice on the most recent episode of the successful driver podcast. We asked him several questions about HVAC and he provided some great answers about what truck drivers need to know about their systems.

Heat check

The environment has been on an upward trend with regard to temperature.

“The temperature outside has changed more so in the last few years, to where it’s super hot. And I don’t see that going away,” said Saunders.

Beyond just rising temperatures though is truck-related heat. “The temperatures around the truck because of the EPA is getting hotter,” said Saunders. “We’ve got EGR, DPF filters. All these things generate heat that we didn’t have in trucks in 2007. With the additional heat from the temperatures outside and the technology with the regulations, the temperature around the truck is hotter than it ever has.”

While the temperatures rise for various reasons, the technology for HVAC in trucks has been stead for the last 25 years. “We’ve been using the same AC refrigerant for 26 years,” Saunders said. “The technology is there, we’re doing the best we can when we’re making trucks.”

If your unit isn’t able to keep up even running correctly, it may be time to look for help. “If that’s not satisfactory then maybe they need to look at some auxiliary AC.”

Early indicators of issues

Truck drivers need to proactive about monitoring their HVAC. It can be an uncomfortable experience being without AC or with a failing unit for extended periods of time.

One thing Saunders suggests is monitoring the temperature of the cab. “I’d keep a constant eye on the temperature coming out of the outlets,” he said. “When a system fails, it’s usually one of two ways. It fails very abruptly or it fades away. I always recommend for drivers to keep a dash outlet thermometer. What you’re looking for is about a thirty degree drop from ambient temperature outside. If it’s 90 degrees outside, you’d want the outlets to be at about 60. If you see that you’re not getting your thirty degree drop and it’s gradual, you know that your AC isn’t working properly. It’s going to be a matter of refrigerant or components that need to be cleaned.”

If you are starting to experience issues, it’s important to get it addressed quickly. “Non-working AC systems laying around will get more damage, more contaminants in the system if it’s open for any reason and make the job more expensive to repair.”

You can find more insights from Saunders on the Successful Driver podcast.

The CVSA Road Check is fast approaching!

Next week is the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Road Check 2021! The event starts on May 4th and runs through May 6th! The emphasis this year will be on lighting and hours of service!

We spoke with Kerry Wirachosky, Director of Roadside Inspection Program with the CVSA in the lead up to next week! Here’s our full discussion:

What one finance and insurance manager sees in successful drivers

Arrow Truck Sales – Philadelphia’s Finance and Insurance Manager Carrie Shingleton has never been a truck driver. She will be the first to tell you that. However, in her role at Arrow she works daily with owner-operators to help them set up their business for success in their most recent purchase with the company. She sees a lot of different of people from a variety of backgrounds – representing a variety of industries in trucking. Here are some of the key things she thinks are important for successful drivers.

Equipment Research
“Your business is on wheels. You don’t have an office. You really have to put a lot of thought into it – starting with the equipment,” says Shingleton. “You have to have a reliable truck. You need to think about protecting your truck. It’s an investment in your business. If your truck goes down, you’re not making any money.”

Budgeting
“Another big thing is budgeting. You can’t have money coming in and out and not really think about where it’s going. You might have your truck payment consistent but you have other stuff going in that can fluctuate depending on how much you’re driving or how much diesel you’re using,” say Shingleton.

Being meticulous about the dollars and cents – even smaller expenses can go a long way. “Even little things like eating,” Say Shingleton. “It sounds like nothing but just throwing money at things and not thinking about it – not having a system in place to track all of your money. You can lose out if you’re not thinking about it.”

Support system
Having people with a vested interested in your success can help you achieve your goals.

“One of the under talked about aspects of being a successful driver is the importance of a support system, says Shingleton. “Whether it’s a business partner, accountant or significant other that has some system in place to ensure you are successful. Because if you’re just haphazardly doing things – you could be in trouble.”

Haul source and networking
“Haul source is crucial,” says Shingleton. “There’s a lot of people out there promising things to drivers and they don’t deliver.” Reaching out to connections in the industry can help you get answers. “You need to be networking – figuring out who has the best loads and what they’re paying. If you’re doing the load boards are they taking a percent of your money? You have to think things through and research them. Networking is amazing because if you talk to other people and get the truth.”

It’s a unique perspective from someone who is so intimately involved with driver success. You can see our whole discussion with her here: