Winter Truck Maintenance: 10 Tips to Prepare Your Truck for Winter

Cold temperatures are hard on the engine and the vehicle’s components. Read our ten tips on how to prepare your truck for the winter.

Is your truck prepared for the cold weather? With winter quickly approaching, checking your truck’s maintenance is critical to the safety of your vehicle, those driving around you, and you. 

Frigid temperatures and harsh winter conditions are hard on any vehicle, especially fleet vehicles that are on the road for multiple hours a day. Before temperatures drop to freezing points, prepare your truck for the upcoming winter with this maintenance checklist. 

Avoid Cold Soaks

Cold soaks occur when the engine block’s fluids and metal components are dropped due to being in chilly environments.  In other words, it means the engine has been inactive for an extended period (for more than a day), and cold weather can play a part in that. Just make sure to keep your engine running, and that it’s not sitting inactively for more than 24 hours!

Check Tires and their Tire Pressure 

check tires during winter

Remember to keep tabs on your truck’s tire pressure before and during winter. Cold temperatures can slowly reduce tire pressure, impacting tire tread life, fuel economy, and your safety.

If you have tires with wearing tread, this can cause slippery driving conditions as well. Make sure to have inflated tires as running winter tires in good condition will help prevent breakdowns and accidents.

Plug in the Engine Block Heater

If you drive during the winter months, you’ve probably heard that you might need to plug in your vehicle’s engine block heater so it can start. You’ll need an engine block heater because when extreme winter temperatures occur, 0° F or below, and you start the engine – the oil through the engine block thickens up and begins to get gooey. This will make it harder for the oil to move through the engine, causing it to work harder, use more gas, and produce more emissions. 

If it’s going to be cold during the night or early morning hours, you should probably plug in the block heater. A good rule of thumb is to plug it in when the weather reaches 5°F. 

Tip: To avoid cold soaks, this can help keep the block of the engine warm, making it easier for the engine to start. 

Check Your Front, Back, and Sidelights

check lights during winter, winter truck maintenance

Test to see if all your lights are working properly. Without bright lights leading the way through snowstorms, foggy conditions, or icy roads, it can be difficult to see where you’re going.

Check Your Battery 

Cold engines require much more battery power to start, and heat is damaging to a battery. Batteries drain quickly in cold weather, and can especially be challenging to charge. 

During your maintenance checklist, check that the battery is not past its expiration date so you know it’s capable of holding a good charge, and clean off any connections prior often during winter. 

Always Keep Your Fuel Tank at Least Half Full 

This is something we at US Cargo Control always do during the winter! We recommend keeping your fuel tank half full for a couple reasons. Condensation can build up in the tank, causing fuel lines to freeze when temperatures get cold. 

Another reason to keep it half full is you may get stranded during the winter due to breakdowns, traffic, or car wrecks, and keeping your tank half full allows you to keep it running for warmth should you become stranded. 

Change Your Wipers

Semi Truck Wipers Check and Replacement

It’s important to replace your windshield wipers at least once a year, and it could be good to do it at the beginning of winter. 

When driving through snow or rain, you depend on your wiper blades to keep your vision clear. The harsh conditions of freezing rain, snow, and ice build-up could leave you in a bad spot with a broken or worn-out wiper blade. Inspect your wipers to ensure they’re in top shape. 

Check Fluid Levels

The important fluid levels to check regularly are engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid. If any of the levels are low or empty, fill them up before you start your journey in cold weather. This also helps with maintaining a good fuel economy.

Use Winterized Fuel 

Cold weather is rough on diesel fuel, and there’s nothing worse than dealing with a drop in fuel economy and your truck refusing to start when temperatures are below zero. Running your truck with untreated fuel during freezing temperatures can create many issues such as fuel gelling, frozen fuel lines, or plugged filters from build-up. Using seasonally enhanced fuels like CENEX, Wintermaster, or Premium Diesel Fuel will operate freezing temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Avoiding these problems will not help extend the life of your engine, but will keep you rolling!

Plan Ahead 

Highway through the windshield during a rainstorm and snowstorm

Every region in the country is different, and you should plan ahead so you can treat fuel accordingly and pack the essentials. Read 15 Winter Driving Kit Essentials so you can stock your vehicle with the items you’ll need.

Other Winter Tips from US Cargo Control

We care about your safety, and we want to make sure you’re able to get through the winter season. Read more of our tips to stay prepared:

4 Important Winter Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

3 Winter Truck Driving Tips: How to Protect your Rig from Salt and Grime

4 Important Nighttime Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

How to Choose and Use Tire Chains like a Pro

At US Cargo Control, we want all truck drivers to be safe and careful during the winter season. If you have any questions about the products we carry, give our team a call at 866-444-9990.

9 Types of Trailers in the Trucking Industry, and Which Fits Your Freight Needs

Choose the right trailer for your freight by learning about the different types of trailers.

Truckers collectively travel 450 billion miles each year to haul cargo for consumers, carrying 11 billion tons of merchandise, electronics, supplies, and produce. This means truckers are the most commonly used means of transporting freight in today’s world. But, with many different trailers on the road today, it can be difficult to identify which trailer type is used for, and what’s best for your freight.

We’ll break down some of the most common trailers found in America, and how to use them for hauling cargo. Read to find out the 9 types of the most common trailers, and which trailer type best fits your freight needs. 

Dry Van and Enclosed Trailers

enclosed trailer type for hauling cargo
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

As it indicates in the name, an enclosed trailer has a container to enclose the load. When it comes to the shipments of pallet-based, boxed, or loose commodities, dry van trailers are the go-to solution. Typically around 53 feet, the dry van trailer is the most common type of trailer on the road today. 

Truckers usually use dry van trailers to ship the items that people ship every day. Large corporations like Walmart and Target use dry van trailers to transport their inventories like clothing, non-perishable food items, and household goods. These trailers are the ideal equipment for any shipper/receiver to use anytime because of their box-like shape and ability to back right into the loading dock’s bay. These trailers are a versatile and cost-effective investment for any company looking to expand its fleet and provide security to the cargo. 

The only disadvantage is the trailer’s floor cannot support a lot of weight, so they’re not good for carrying oversized loads (unlike a flatbed).  

Read 3 Accessories Every Enclosed Trailer Hauler Should Have to see what enclosed trailer equipment you need to protect your cargo.

Standard Flatbed Trailers

flatbed trailer for hauling cargo and freight
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

The standard flatbed trailer is another popular type of trailer that you’ll see on the road as well. They come in different sizes like 24, 40, 45, 48, and 53 feet, but the 48-foot flatbed trailer is the most frequently used. 

The standard flatbed trailer is a very versatile trailer in today’s world. The flatbed’s open back and sides allow for easy loading and unloading, and you can haul steel, construction equipment, lumber, and other open-air commodities with this trailer type. 

It doesn’t have a container to contain the cargo like a dry van trailer, so you must use heavy-duty equipment to secure your cargo, like our tarps to cover the items. At US Cargo Control, we have transport chains and binders, tiedown straps, and tarp solutions to ensure the safety of your cargo. 

Read the 5 Pieces of Flatbed Trailer Equipment Every Driver Should Have.

Refrigerated Trailers (or Reefers)

refrigerated or reefer trucks hauling commodities
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

As it says in the name, refrigerated trailers move any contents that require temperature control (think, cool temperatures). Their temperature control abilities and insulated walls make them the only type of trailer that’s perfect for hauling perishable items like fruit, frozen food, pharmaceuticals, and ice cream. 

The refrigerated trailer can only haul items up to 8 feet tall and 8 feet wide, so reefers cannot haul any commodity that exceeds the length of the deck.

Drop-Deck/Step-Deck Trailers 

drop deck or step deck trailer
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Drop deck (or step-deck) trailers are an alternative to the flatbed trailer when loads cannot transport on the flatbed trailer due to the freight’s height. The flatbed trailer is about 60 inches above the ground, while step deck trailers are close to the ground to provide a little leverage for carrying loads taller than 8 feet. 

This drop-deck trailer has two deck levels, the upper-deck and the lower-deck, and has a ramp for unloading. The most critical factor about this trailer is they are safer for unloading by a forklift because they’re closer to the ground. 

Double Drop/Lowboy Trailers

Lowboy or double drop trailer for hauling heavier items
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Also known as a low bed or float trailer, the double drop trailer is far closer to the ground than any other trailer type. The trailer has two “drops” that reside behind the gooseneck and before the back wheels. 

These trailers sit very close to the ground, which the drop allows the shipping of huge items like construction equipment that’s heavier than the maximum weight limit of other trailer types. Their maximum height in width is greater than other trailer types and the weight limit is 40,000 pounds (and can be up 80,000 pounds). These factors are perfect for hauling machinery and equipment like bulldozers and excavators.

These trucking trailers are the workhorses, but you would need additional permits from authorities. 

Removable Gooseneck Trailers (RGN)

Removable gooseneck trailer for transporting heavy machinery
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

These are excellent for carrying tall and long freights, and can come in a variety of sizes. The gooseneck secures the trailer to the tractor, and the front of these trailers can be removed. 

How it works is that the gooseneck is a detachable front, allowing the trailer to drop on the ground in order to create a ramp. The gooseneck is a perfect tool for hauling large machinery from point A to B. They can require additional permits due to the height and weight load and can have up to 20 axles attached to the trailer. The more axles, the more the RGN can carry. 

They are more specialized, so they render a more expensive usage. 

Extendable Flatbed Stretch Trailers

extendable flatbed trailer
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

As it hints in the name, this flatbed extends when you’re hauling freight that’s excessively long and cannot be carried by a standard type of trailer. The extendable flatbed trailer can extend to 80 feet, allowing shipments of larger loads to ship. 

When the trailer bed needs to extend, you release the pin that’s joining the two sections, which send the extendable portion of the bed to “stretch.” 

Side-Kit Trailers

side kit trailer to carry granular materials like gravel and rocks
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Side-kit trailers transport materials that do not need to be packed in containers or materials that cannot be packed. For example, granular materials like crops, coal, powders, gravel, etc.  The side-kit trailer has a panel made from either plywood or fiberglass and typically has a tent-like top covering. 

Granular materials are irregular in shape that they can’t be contained in an enclosed container, but we carry many types of tarps you can use to cover these types of materials. 

They’re highly versatile trailers and they have low operating costs, making side-kit trailers a highly used trailer in the industry. 

Specialized Trailers 

specialized trailers to transport hazardous materials
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

A specialty trailer refers to a container that carries a particular product. You can transport certain items like hazardous materials or liquids, but the amount of weight they can move varies. 

These trailers require a special permit and the driver has to have a special license to tow the load. Below are some types of specialized trailers:

  1. Trailers for transporting hazardous materials like petrol, oil, diesel, and other hazardous/flammable materials. This requires additional permits and higher costs to transport them.
  2. Medical Trailers that include mobile clinics to provide medical services and equipment to people on-site. This requires additional permits.
  3. Food Service Trailers that accommodate entire kitchens, providing food services to people on-the-go.

Find the Right Cargo Equipment for Your Trailer Type

Whether you need cargo control equipment for an enclosed trailer or flatbed trailer, US Cargo Control has a wide variety of trailer securement solutions. Our heavy-duty trucking equipment is designed with safety and industry standards in mind and made to withstand any abuse that the road may bring its way.

No matter which trailer type you choose, you can be rest assured knowing that you’re buying from a leading cargo securement supplier that’s trusted by thousands in the trucking and transportation industry. Our Midwestern team of experts keeps you moving forward by being dedicated to getting you what you want, when you need it.

To ensure the safety of your cargo, the people driving around you, and yourself, it’s important to haul cargo on your trailer correctly. Read the Dos and Don’ts of Load Securement Trailers.

At US Cargo Control, we want you to have the highest quality products so you can get the job done. If you would have any questions about our trailer accessories, give our team a call at 866-444-9990.

A Complete Guide to Vehicle Tiedown Straps for Beginners

Be prepared for towing and recovery operations by reading our guide on vehicle tiedowns.

You may be wondering how to secure a stuck vehicle to your vehicle or trailer without the risk of damage to any vehicle. Or, you may want to see what recovery equipment is right for your job. After all, a sudden stop, damaged tiedown, or lane change is the only thing between a safe delivery or destroyed cargo. Regardless of what you’re hauling, having the right tiedowns is incredibly important to ensure your cargo is delivered safely.

Continue reading to learn the difference between recovery straps and tow straps, the various types of vehicle tiedowns, and how to use them.

What are Recovery and Tow Straps Made out of?

using tow strap to stuck vehicle

First, let’s learn what they are made out of so you can determine which tiedown is right for your job.

The most common materials used to make vehicle tiedowns are polyester webbing and nylon webbing. The difference is what you should be using in recovery and towing applications.

If you’re in the towing industry or tow a lot, we recommend using straps with polyester webbing. Our Ratchet Straps with RTJ Cluster Hooks are extremely useful because the cluster hook combines three hooks into one chainring, providing multiple options to securely tie down any vehicle. Tow Ratchet Straps are perfect for towing because they have minimal stretch to ensure a firm hold on your cargo.

For recovery operations or quick vehicle recoveries, we recommend using nylon straps. Our 1-Ply and 2-Ply Recovery Straps have high-quality nylon material that contains pliable webbing to conform and support the load. It also has CORDURA® loops (or “eyes”) on each end, providing more resistance to cutting than nylon fabric. This will work well with tow anchor shackles to offer a strong connection point with the ease of a quick-release pin. 

Wait, What’s the Difference between Recovery and Tow Straps?

The main difference between a tow strap and a recovery strap is the fabric and their ability to stretch. The tow strap’s polyester webbing stretches less than nylon, and simply tows a vehicle behind another. 

You should not use tow straps to recover a stuck vehicle. They’re less flexible and are to pull a load that freely moves. 

The purpose of a recovery tiedown is to “recover” a vehicle from a tight situation like mud, rain, etc. These tiedowns have loops on each end and you could use them for both towing and recovery operations. However, it’s important to take special precautions when using these straps for towing. The stretch can cause a bit of a rubber band effect, which can sling-shot the vehicle at uneven speeds. 

Learn more about the differences between Recovery and Tow Straps.

How Do I Find a Tiedown that Safely Secures My Vehicle?

using nylon recovery strap to stuck vehicle

The answer is simple – you’ll want to start by finding the strap that fits the weight of your vehicle best. There are multiple ways to find your vehicle’s weight. You can locate this through your owner’s manual, a sticker on your driver’s door, or even through a Google search.

Once you discover the weight of your vehicle, this can help you determine the Working Load Limit (WLL) and Break Strength (BS) of the tiedown you’ll need. In other words, the amount of weight that’s safely rated for your car tiedowns. A good rule of thumb is for the vehicle weight to be half the break strength of the tiedown.

Confused about what Working Load Limit and Break Strength mean? Read Working Load Limit, Breaking Strength & Safety Factor: What Do They Mean?

Then, you can determine which tiedown is right for the job whether it’s for recovery or towing operations. Read below the different types of vehicle tiedowns.

Different Types of Car Tiedowns, or for Other Recovery Applications

different types of car trailer straps to use

While this isn’t a complete list of vehicle tiedowns, these are common tiedowns to use for recovery and towing operations.

1-Ply Recovery Straps

Made with a single layer of high-quality industrial grade nylon material, 1-Ply Recovery Straps are useful for pulling vehicles out of a tight spot and are an essential tool for anyone to have in their vehicle.

2-Ply Recovery Straps

Made with two layers of high-quality industrial grade nylon material, 2-Ply Recovery Straps are stronger recovery straps than 1-Ply Recovery Straps. 1-Ply has a single layer of nylon material with a break strength of 16,000 – 96,000 lbs, while the 2-Ply has two layers of nylon material with a break strength of 96,000 – 128,000 lbs.

These are heavy equipment recovery ropes and are one of the best ways to get a vehicle out of tough situations like water, snow, mud, or other road debris

Tow Ratchet Straps with RTJ Cluster Hooks

Ratchet Straps with RTJ Cluster Hooks are perfect for towing cars and other vehicles. The strap has polyester webbing, having minimal stretch to ensure a firm hold on your cargo. The RTJ hooks give you a variety of options to securely tie down any vehicle.

The R Hook – Ford Vehicles

T Hook – GM and Chrysler Vehicles

J Hook – Foreign Vehicles (these have parts made and assembled outside the country)

Axle Straps

Axle Straps attach around the vehicle’s axle to secure it to trailers of flatbeds for transit. This helps create a securement point to prevent your vehicle from moving or becoming unsecured. Axle straps are easy to use and are made with 12,000 lb. industrial-grade polyester webbing for maximum strength and durability.

Lasso Straps

Car haulers use Lasso Straps as a universal car tie-down strap. They’re especially convenient and often used when low clearance is a concern. When using a Lassp Strap, just thread the strap around the tire and secure it with a ratchet or winch

Tree Saver Straps

Tree Saver Straps are great for protecting your winch cable and the tree from damage when freeing a vehicle from a stuck position. To use, you simply wrap the strap around your tree (or other anchor points) and lock your winch hook into the eyes of the strap. Our 3″ x 6′ Tree Saver Strap is made of durable 3″ wide nylon webbing with a tensile strength of 30,000 lbs., so it’s strong enough to pull vehicles rated 12,000 lbs. or less.

How to Use a Recovery Tow Strap

Using heavy duty tow straps

Choosing the right tiedown for your towing or recovery application is critical. As we mentioned earlier, finding out the weight of your vehicle first will help you determine what tiedown you’ll need to use. Read the steps on how to use a recovery tow strap:

  1. Attach the strap to the rear of the towing vehicle, somewhere with plenty of strucural support.
  2. Secure the strap to the stuck vehicle. If you need help locating the exact mount to place the hook, make sure to refer to the owner’s manual.
  3. Once both hooks are secured, the drivers of both vehicles can get behind the wheel. The recovery vehicle can start accelerating slowly and gradually, straightening the strap to its full extent.
  4. The vehicle being recovered should be in gear, and once they’re moving – the driver should apply some gas and steer their vehicle out.
  5. The recovery vehicle can continue at a slow, safe speed to the nearby destination.

If you’re stuck in snow, learn How to Pull a Car out of Snow Using a Recovery Strap

Helpful Hints for Using a Tow Recovery Strap:

Before you start using car hauler straps, make sure to keep these tips in mind.

  1. Always inspect towing and recovery straps for damage prior to use. If you’re new to this operation, stop every once in a while when driving to check your work and see if the strap is holding up well. 
  2. When using tow straps, wrap around an appropriate frame point and thread the towing strap or snatch strap through the eye of the other end to choke the frame. 
  3. For tow strap recovery use, always securely attach the hardware to the recovery vehicle. Our anchor shackles are great for recovery vehicles.
  4. Get rid of any debris or material that may cut or damage the tie down.
  5. When using a recovery strap, a good rule of thumb is for the vehicle weight to be half the break strength of the recovery strap. 
  6. When choosing heavy-duty nylon recovery & tow straps, you should choose one that is strong enough, but not so strong that it won’t stretch. It is essential for the recovery strap to stretch so the memory of the nylon webbing will help “snap” the vehicle out and take some of the shock out of the initial pull. This tow strap strength is important in knowing how to use recovery straps for the best results.

Getting You What you Want, When You Need it

Recovery straps and tow straps are invaluable pieces of equipment whether you are in the towing business and need a heavy tow strap, off-road recovery straps for recreational use, or truck tow straps for emergency situations.

If you have any questions about what strap is best for your application, or if you need a custom strap, call us at 800-969-6543 and we’ll be happy to help you.

At US Cargo Control, we want you to have the highest quality products so you can get the job done. If you have any questions about our products, give our team a call at 866-444-9990.

What is D/d Ratio & Why is this Critical for Lifting Slings?

What effect does D/d Ratio have on lifting slings and their sling capacities?

You may wonder what D/d ratio is and what purpose it serves when lifting loads with different types of slings. After all, it can be confusing as there are multiple factors you have to take under consideration such as knowing the weight of the load, the sling’s working load limit (WLL), and the load’s center of gravity.

Identifying the D/d ratio when using any type of sling for a lift is critical, because if the lifting sling tightly bends over too much during the lift – the sling will get damaged. This could then lead to unsafe rigging practices. To have a safe lifting operation, continue reading more about D/d Ratio, and the types of slings we carry at US Cargo Control to identify which is right for your lift.

What is D/d Ratio?

The term D/d ratio works as a simple mathematical equation where you’re learning the diameter or distance of the load you’re picking up. It is the ratio of the diameter (D) around the object which the sling might be bent, which could be a sheave or another object, then divided by the overall diameter (d) of the sling being used.

The Formula for D/d Ratio:

The diameter of the load divided by the diameter of the sling = D/d Ratio

Unirope's definition of D/d ratio
Photo Courtesy of Unirope

For example, you’re picking up an object that’s 12 inches in diameter and you use a 3/8″ chain to pick it up. This is 12″ divided by 3/8″ = 32, which 32 is the D/d Ratio. If the diameter is 10″ and the diameter of the rope is 1/2, the D/d Ratio is 20.

Why is D/d Ratio Important?

The D/d Ratio has a tremendous impact on sling capacity when using slings like wire rope, chain, polyester round slings, and nylon slings. It can determine the sling’s efficiency or capacity reduction, and allow you to make corrections before continuing the lift. If you see a tight bending of the sling, this means there’s a smaller than recommended D/d Ratio.

Using a smaller D/d Ratio that’s not recommended for your lift can aggravate the bending motion. This can result in fatigue, irregular wear, and increased deterioration. Once this occurs, you’d have to perform frequent inspections and go through costly wire rope replacements.

Each sling type has different strength efficiencies, which is why we included a table below that describes the efficiency of various sling constructions with standard D/d Ratios:

Mechanically spliced, single-part slings25 times rope diameter
Hand-Spliced, single-part slings15 times rope diameter
Braided multi-part slings of 6 parts25 times component rope diameter
Braided multi-part slings of 8 parts25 times component rope diameter
Helically laid multi-part slings25 times component rope diameter
Hand-tucked grommets and mechanically joined grommet5 times sling body diameter
Union Rope’s Rated Capacity, Design Factors, and D/d Ratios

What Will Sling Damage Look Like?

wire rope damage

When a sling is tightly bending around another object, there is a loss of sling capacity. As D/d Ratio decreases, this capacity loss becomes greater and the sling will become less efficient. There is a direct correlation between D/d Ratio and the efficiency of the sling (or rated capacity).

Not only is it important to understand the D/d Ratio of the lifting sling, but it’s also equally important that fittings and rigging hardware used in connection points are adequately strong and spatially correct. For instance, if smaller, alloy shackles are used, the webbing edges can get damaged and sling efficiency is lowered due to the bunching of the webbing.

When not used correctly, this could result in bunching, and being crammed into a space will reduce sling efficiency and capacity. Basically, putting too many slings in an undersized shackle or another fitting can result in lost strength.

To understand what slings or fittings should you use for your job, give our team a call at 800-404-7068, and we’ll be glad to assist you.

Different Type of Slings

Now that you have an idea of what D/d Ratio means, continue reading on what lifting slings you should use that’s worth the investment for your lifting situations.

nylon lifting slings

Nylon Slings

Known as synthetic web slings or nylon web slings, our nylon lifting straps perform well for lifting breakable, delicate objects. Its heavy-duty synthetic material has great stretch and flexibility that help the slings mold to the shape of the load. Not only that, the nylon lifting sling’s material is treated to improve abrasion resistance and reduce wear, even in the most rigorous lifting applications.

Chain Slings

If you’re depending on a sling that requires extra strength and durability, the chain sling is your best choice. The chain lifting sling is the strongest and most durable type of sling and is highly popular to use for heavy lifting operations. They will perform better than polyester round slings or nylon slings because they’re more durable, tolerant to hot temperatures, and cut-resistant.

chain lifting sling
Polyester round sling

Polyester Slings

Manufactured in the USA from a continuous loop of polyester yarn that creates exceptional strength, the round slings are versatile, pliable, convenient, and cost-effective. Because of their many benefits, you can use these in vertical, choker, or basket hitches, making them effective to lift a wide variety of cargo!

Wire Rope Slings

Known as steel cable or wire sling, these are more durable than synthetic slings and more cost-effective than chain slings. Wire rope slings are an excellent choice not only for lifting, but also for hoisting, towing, or anchoring loads. Its fabrication offers abrasion-resistance and heat-resistance, as they are made by weaving individual strands or wire around a core.

Wire rope sling

To understand what lifting slings you should use for any lifting operation, read 3 Factors to Consider When Choosing Lifting Slings.

Tackle the Toughest Lifting Jobs with High-Quality Rigging Hardware

We know the importance of quality when it comes to rigging supplies. We carry a variety of rigging hardware, as well as lifting beams and spreader bars that can lift heavy loads safely and efficiently.

Need a custom lifting sling? We can do that! We can customize a lifting sling to meet your specific needs.

Contact our sales team today at 866-444-9990. Our team of product experts is here to answer any questions about rigging hardware, lifting slings, and more.

10 Best Apps for Truck Drivers to Use in 2021 – For On and Off the Road

Read to find what trucking apps you should use in 2021.

As we all know, there’s an app for everything these days. There are especially trucking apps that truck drivers can use on and off the road, whether it efficiently improves your job or your well-being. There are many factors that go into the day of a trucker – from planning routes, executing hauls, and finding parking availability when done for the day.

Luckily, there are many trucking and lifestyle apps to choose from. You can compare fuel prices, find truck stops and read reviews on them, and stream music or audiobooks from your phone.

Whether you’re new to the trucking industry or you’re curious if some apps can help you to the best of your ability, we have some recommendations for you to use for the long haul. Continue reading the best apps that every trucker should use in 2021.

Trucker Path

This is the most popular and ultimate truck driving app in North America. You can get relevant information that you need in one app, and you’re able to read information and reviews from truckers for over 40,000 truck stops.  Some features include a mapping system that you can use to avoid low bridges, find the nearest fuel stops with truck clearance, compare fuel prices, and record hours of service. You’re able to plan a multi-day trip in advance!

Special Features:

  • Includes information for more than 7,000 truck stops in the U.S. and Canada
  • Updates on parking availability
  • Truck drivers’ forum
  • Information on weight station and scales
  • Trip planner option 
  • Find fuel stops with truck clearance 

Weigh My Truck

Weigh My Truck was created to save drivers time while at weigh stations. This is an app made by the CAT Scale Company where truckers can use the app to weigh their trucks automatically. The app locates the CAT scale you’ve arrived at and allows you to pay with your phone, sending a PDF receipt of the ticket and weight information to your email. You don’t have to leave your truck now!

Special Features:

  • Avoid wasting time walking inside to pay at weigh stations, or waiting to bypass a station
  • Weigh your trucks automatically 
  • Allows you to pay with your smartphone 
  • Receive PDF receipts of the ticket and weight information to your email

GasBuddy 

This neat fuel app has a database of more than 150,000 fuel stations across North America that you can access to find the cheapest fuel prices. Anytime that you can save money is a win. This app includes a trip cost calculator, station outage tracker, gas price map, and a place to track fuel purchases. 

GasBuddy can tell you when the price of diesel is increasing so you can fill up your tank before it happens. It can also monitor your driving habits to inform you if you’re wasting gas and money. 

Special Features:

  • Includes more than 150,000 gas stations in North America
  • Helps find the cheapest fuel price
  • Fuel Rewards
  • Access reviews of gas stations
  • Alerts when you’re wasting fuel 
  • Provides information on fuel stops with shower and food

Google Maps

Although an app everybody can use, this has some great features for truckers. It has a satellite view, where you can see from an overhead position if you need to see any obstructions, driveways to follow, and how to find the dock. You can also switch to street-view to get a 360-degree angle view of different locations on the map.

Basically, you can see exactly how a place looks like before you arrive at the destination to avoid any surprises! Technology is truly amazing. 

Their real-time traffic updates and search navigation are also helpful for receiving traffic alerts while driving or when you want to search restaurants, rest stops, and other spots in the area. The downside is Google Maps doesn’t prioritize truck routes, so a trucker GPS will be your best bet in getting accurate routes. You can still use them both simultaneously!

Special Features:

  • Panorama street view and satellite view to check parking spots, docks, and other locations
  • Real-time traffic updates
  • Updates on businesses that are open and closed 
  • Search for restaurants, fuel stations, rest areas, and more
  • Voice assistance feature

My Fitness Pal

Eating well on the road can be difficult, but My Fitness Pal can help you make smarter choices about what to eat and how to exercise. You can log your meals on the app and use its nutritional insights to plan future meals or make healthier choices when ordering out. If you’re curious about your calorie intake, you can log food by scanning barcode labels or choose items from its database to understand an idea of what or how much you should eat in a day. 

Special Features:

  • Track meals and your movement 
  • Log meals to gain nutritional insights and calorie intake
  • Log food by scanning barcode labels or choosing items from its database
  • Plan future meals

Weather Channel

Be secure with where you’re driving to with the Weather Channel app. 

Their rain forecast is usually precise, letting you know when it will rain in advance, and you can get weather updates wherever you are. You can also use their radar to check how serious the weather will be ahead of time. If you’re a trucker, you know weather and wind speed will affect your driving, so this app will be extremely helpful for getting accurate information. 

Special Features:

  • Current weather reading in your location
  • Get alerts of expected weather 
  • Animated live radar to track weather currently or ahead of time
  • Information on wind speed 
  • Warning when there is expected thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes


Audible

If you enjoy listening to audiobooks while driving, Audible is a great choice. You can get access to thousands of audiobooks, so you’ll never get tired of listening to a variety of genres! Users can sign in with their Amazon account, and if you’re a new member, you can enjoy a 30-day free trial. 

The best part is you can personalize your library and download the audiobooks to listen offline. 

Special Features:

  • Wide collection of audiobooks 
  • Customize your library 
  • Listen to audiobooks offline
  • Sign in with Amazon account
  • Free first-month trial 

Spotify 

Listen to your favorite music or podcasts as you drive. You can create your own playlist or listen to Spotify’s curated playlists based on artists, moods, or genres. 

Spotify is a huge music streaming service, and its huge library makes it perfect to listen to music on the road without getting bored. You can choose the free version (you’d have to stick with their ads), or the premium version with no ads. 

  • Wide library of music, podcasts, and more 
  • Create your playlist
  • Easy to search interface
  • Free version available 

Calm

This is a great app to use when you’re on a break, meditating, or sleeping.  The app comes with more than 500 HD audio channels to stream relaxation music. The only con is the ads may interrupt your sleep with the free membership, but you can pay the membership to listen freely with no ads.

You can enjoy all types of relaxing genres like jazz, classical music, country music, pop-rock, and adult contemporary, as well as nature sounds in the background. 

Special Features:

  • A lot of music channels
  • Meditation music 
  • Sleep timer
  • Nature sounds in the background to help you relax 
  • Unlimited listening 

Rolling Strong

Rolling Strong is a free health and wellness app from a company dedicated to the well-being of truck drivers. The app offers nutritional guidance by suggesting meals and exercise programs based on your daily sleep, exercise, and water and calorie intake. Since you’re on the road frequently, the app can show you the nearest fitness spots with truck parking spaces available based on your locations, and you can watch exercise training videos to help you get moving. 

Special Features:

  • It tells you the nearest fitness stops
  • Monitors your sleeping pattern
  • Can track calories 
  • Redeem points for rewards 
  • Online coaching to get fit
  • Remind you to hydrate

Great Reads for Truckers

We have some great reads for you to improve your habits and well-being while driving for the long haul!

5 Tips for How to Sleep Better in a Semi Truck

4 Important Nighttime Driving Tips for Truck Drivers

5 Fun Things for Truck Drivers to Do When on the Road

6 Types of Truck Driver Cooking Equipment That Will Make Your Life Easier

5 Money-Saving Tips for Truck Drivers on the Road

Long-Haul Truck Drivers Share The Most Scenic Drives in America

At US Cargo Control, we care about our customers and getting them what they want, when they need it. If you have any questions about our products, give our a team a call at 866-444-9990.

To the Truckers Across the Country and the World, Thank You!

In honor of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, thank you truck drivers for making daily life possible.

You know the saying, “if you got it, a trucker brought it to you!”

This week is a special week – it’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, and it’s dedicated to honoring all truckers across the country that keep us moving forward. Almost every aspect of daily life is made possible because a truck driver delivered the goods and resources we need.

The professional men and women behind the wheel have one of the most demanding and important jobs, and we thank them for their continued commitment and service to the industry. This week is a way to show appreciation to the 3.6 million+ truckers who not only deliver our goods safely, securely, and on time, but also keep our highways safe. 

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is running from September 12th-18th, so let’s express our gratitude to all truckers this week.

To the truckers, thank you! Read below on some of the special deals businesses are doing for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

Businesses Giving Back

Truck driver at gas station

Truckers, get ready to be appreciated greatly this week! There are many businesses that are giving back because you deserve it. 

C.H. Robinson

C.H. Robinson has sweepstakes this week, and they’ll be giving out $1,000 to 10 winners daily between September 13th-17th. If you’re a truck driver, all you have to do is register, and you will have 50 chances to potentially win a prize!

If you’re not a truck driver but you still want to help them, you can submit a thank you note and C.H. Robinson will donate $1 to St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund.

Jubitz

Jubitz is hosting their annual Driver Appreciation Day event on September 15th at their main campus in Portland, Oregon. If you’ve been there – then you know this is an amazing treat. This year’s event will have a free barbecue lunch for anyone with a CDL from 9am to 2pm. You can also RVSP for the event on their website

They will also be giving away free swag bags and giveaway opportunities while supplies last, so if you’re nearby – make sure to stop there!

Love’s 

Love’s is celebrating NTDAW all September long with amazing giveaways and deals! They’re giving away 14 million My Love Rewards points during this month, including hundreds of daily winners and a 1-million-point winner at the end of the month. (This is super impressive!)

Drivers can take advantage of deals on fresh food, snacks, drinks, free food with an oil change, and even more from now until the 18th. Just make sure you are a My Love Rewards member to get these advantages!

Each time drivers swipe their My Love Rewards card during the month of September, they’ll be entered for a chance to win 1,000 or 2,000 My Love Rewards points daily. They’ll also be entered for a chance to win 1 million My Love Rewards points at the end of the month.

Other offers Love’s are doing include:

  • Free Hot to Go sandwich or Fresh to Go salad with any oil change at Speedco or Love’s Truck Care (Sept. 12-18).
  • Free Love’s hat with the purchase of two pairs of gloves for $24.99.

Pilot / Flying J

Pilot / Flying J is rewarding professional drivers all month long with free drinks, bonus loyalty points, and many more perks! If you use Pilot’s myRewards Plus app, you can redeem a free drink of choice from each day’s brand family or beverage category on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays all September long.

You can also get free showers all month with shower power after one 50+ gallon commercial diesel fill, and earn bonus points with several ways to boost loyalty earnings throughout September. 

Also, Pilot is accepting nominations throughout September for their Road Warrior contest. The annual Road Warrior contest honors truck drivers who have gone above and beyond to keep America moving, and the hardworking haulers will be awarded a grand prize of $10,000, $5,000 for second place, and $2,500 for third place. If you know someone that fits the description perfectly, nominate them through Pilot’s 2021 Road Warrior contest!


Are there other businesses that are doing something special for truckers this week or throughout September? Write in the comments below and let us know!


Simple Ways to Thank a Trucker

national truck driver appreciation week 2021

If you know a trucker or see one this week, thank them for their continued hard work! We have some simple ways that you can do to give back to truckers.

Thank a Trucker In-Person at a Gas Station or Rest Stop

There are a few ways to express your gratitude when you see them in person. Say thank you when you see a trucker and consider giving them a gift card for gas, a local store, or a restaurant. You can also pay for their drink or meal when they’re taking a break! 

Thank a Trucker on the Road

When you see a trucker on the road, give them a wave, thumbs up, or even gesture to have them pump the horn! 

Most importantly, be considerate when sharing the road with a truck driver. They’re hauling heavy cargo in an 18-wheeler, so be respectful of the truckers when you’re driving. When passing a truck, make sure to signal, provide room ahead of the truck, and be aware of the trucker’s blind spot. 

Thank a Trucker with a Pre-Thought Gift

Gift a truck driver a personal care package filled with essentials, like water, snacks, hand sanitizer, etc, or leave them a thank you note on your front door. 

At US Cargo Control, we care about our customers and getting them what they want, when they need it. If you have any questions about our products, give our a team a call at 866-444-9990.

7 Ultimate Tailgating Hacks with US Cargo Control’s Products

Read some hacks on how to tailgate the right way with USCC’s products.

Tailgating is one of the great traditions of American sports. Nothing beats the amazing atmosphere of small tents, excited fans, live music, and delicious barbecue at these pre-game outings. But, it can also be chaotic planning a tailgate party due to packing, setting up, and many other details. Luckily, there are some ways to tackle the time between packing the car and heading to your seats.

We have some hacks for you to use with US Cargo Control’s products to ensure a smooth tailgate. Follow these tailgating tips and you’ll be ready to handle the day easily. 

Bungee Cargo Nets

bungee cargo net
keep items secured during tailgating adventures

Bungee cargo nets are a simple solution to securing tailgate items in your truck bed or trunk. Having one of these nets beats worrying about things shifting around or flying away from your truck. To attach the bungee cargo net to your vehicle, connect its hooks to the side rails or anchor rings. Watch below on how to secure a truck bed cargo net demonstated by our teammate, Adam Shouse.

Read 3 Popular Heavy-Duty Cargo Nets for Pickup Truck Beds to find which net is right for your truck.

Skin Moving Blankets

Skin Moving to keep your warm during tailgating and football games or as seat pads

Skin moving blankets don’t have to be used just for moving; these durable blankets are also useful for tailgating! With a 6-pack or 24-pack, you can keep yourself, friends, and family warm when the weather gets cooler (they’ll be thanking you). You can also use them as padding to your stadium seat to stay comfortable from kick-off to the end.

Moving Blankets

moving blankets to keep your items safe during tailgating

Besides using skin moving blankets to add padding to your seats or keep yourself warm, we carry high-quality moving blankets that you can use in your trunk or truck bed to prevent abrasions to the vehicle or the tailgate items. Moving blankets like our Econo Deluxe and Supreme Mover are great long-lasting pads that have exceptional durability and protection.

Moving blankets can keep your items from scratching or denting your vehicle, and can even help items from moving around. Perfect for those tailgate trips!

Find out which moving blanket you should get when choosing the right pad for your needs.

Ratchet Straps and Cam Straps

ratchet strap to use in car trunk for tailgating

If you’re packing larger or heavier cargo for your tailgating party, you can’t go wrong with our ratchet straps. Ratchet straps are extremely beneficial for long-haul truckers so their cargo loads do not shift or get damaged, and they’re especially a great resource for securing your heavy tailgate items!

If you have lighter cargo, we recommend our cam straps as these provide more flexibility. Securing a smaller or lighter load with a heavy-duty ratchet strap can overkill your items, so we suggest using a cam strap since this is more convenient. The cam strap will still provide sufficient strength and holding power to your lightweight items, just like a ratchet tiedown will with a heavier load.

If you’re unsure of how to use a ratchet strap, read our Simple Guide on How to Use a Ratchet Strap and How to Release It.

CUSTOM AND COLOR OPTIONS: we have custom options that are available for you to customize your perfect tiedown. We also have multiple color choices so you can match your vehicle or show your team spirit!

Bungee Cords

Bungee Cords to tent during tailgating

Did you know you can hang a paper towel roll with bungee cords? If you’re bringing a tent to tailgate, you can use these cords to hang the paper towel from the tent’s struts. You may not think you need it, but you’ll notice how much easier your life will be once it’s hung.

use bungee cords to hang paper towels at the tailgate
Photo Courtesy: Tailgating Ideas

Another use with the bungee cords is attaching a portable fan to the tent. If you don’t have a fan that has a hook to clip onto the struts, this is the next best thing to do. Air circulation, here we come!

USCC Tool Bag

USCC toolbag for grilling utensils and tailgating

Pack all your tailgate essentials in your vehicle’s trunk or truck bed. The USCC tool bag is a useful storage option to keep tools and tiedowns in one place, and you can use this carry-on tote for your tailgate adventures too. With 12 interior pockets and 8 exterior pockets, store your BBQ sauce, grilling utensils, and paper plates, and you’re ready to go!

USCC Tumblr – 2 in 1 Can Cooler and Tumblr

can cooler and tumblr for tailgating

Need to keep your drink cool or hot? Have a can that needs to stay cool during the hot weather? You can do both with our 2 in 1 Can Cooler and Tumblr. Use the Tumblr to fill your drink inside and maintain its temperature, or place your can to keep it cool. This will keep beverages cold or hot for 24 hours and it is super easy to clean.

Enjoy the Big Game!

Now that you’ve figured out some hacks to make the tailgate experience smooth, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the game. Have fun, and be safe!

Our team looks forward to getting you the quality products you deserve. If you wish to learn more about our products, head over to US Cargo Control or give our team a call at 866-444-9990.

CVSA’s Brake Safety Week 2021 Starts This Week

Brake Safety Week is running from August 22nd-28th. Find out what law enforcement officials will be inspecting, and how to prepare for it.

Inspectors will be on the lookout for faulty brakes this week. 

From now until August 28th, law enforcement officials in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will perform brake inspections as part of CVSA’s Brake Safety Week. This campaign is an important week for truck drivers because properly functioning brakes are critical for safe driving. The truck’s brakes can withhold tough conditions, but brakes are inspected so your truck can perform well throughout its life.

Read more to find out what the week is about, what law enforcement officials will be inspecting, and how to prepare for it.

What is Brake Safety Week?

CVSA Brake Safety Week 2021

This is a campaign hosted by CVSA to conduct roadside inspections and identify brake violations on commercial motor vehicles. If your vehicle has any violations, it will be placed out-of-service (OOS) until they are corrected.

If you pass the inspection during the Level I or V inspection, you will receive a CVSA decal.

What Will Officials be Inspecting?

They’ll look at your brake system and its components, as well as its maintenance, operation, and performance. Inspectors will pay attention to the brake hoses and tubing which must be without leaks, appropriately flexible, and be free of any other type of damage.

According to CVSA, the inspector will:

  • Check for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system.
  • Check for S-cam flip-over.
  • Listen for audible air leaks around brake components and lines.
  • Check for improper connections and chafing of air hoses and tubing.
  • Ensure slack adjusters are the same length (from center of S-cam to center of clevis pin) and the air chambers on each axle are the same size.
  • Ensure the air system maintains air pressure.
  • Look for non-manufactured holes (such as rust holes or holes created by friction) and broken springs in the spring brake housing.
  • Mark and measure pushrod travel.
  • Inspect required brake system warning devices, such as anti-lock braking system malfunction lamp(s) and low air-pressure warning devices.
  • Inspect the tractor protection system, including the bleed-back system on the trailer.
  • Ensure the breakaway system is operable on the trailer.

In addition to checking your brake system, they may also look at other components so your vehicle is in top-notch shape. This can include:

  • Cargo securement
  • Coupling devices
  • Driveline/driveshaft components
  • Driver’s seat (if it’s missing)
  • Exhaust systems
  • Frames
  • Fuel systems
  • Lighting devices 
  • Steering mechanisms
  • Suspensions 
  • Tires and wheels
  • Van and open-top trailer bodies  
  • Rims and hubs
  • Windshield wipers

Why Does Brake Safety Week Occur Every Year?

CVSA Brake Safety Week 2021 August

Although commercial motor vehicles’ brakes can hold up against tough conditions, you must inspect them often. Your vehicle’s brake system needs to be maintained carefully to perform well throughout its life. 

Brake-related violations make up the largest percentage of all out-of-service violations during roadside inspections. If the brake system is poorly maintained, this can reduce the braking capacity and stopping distance of trucks and buses. This poses a serious risk to drivers!

Back on May 19th, 2021, CVSA presented data proving why a week is devoted to identifying brake violations on commercial motor vehicles. Brake violations and removing vehicles with out-of-service brake violations exist because:

  • Brake system and brake adjustment violations accounted for more vehicle violations than any other vehicle violation category, accounting for 38.6% of all vehicle out-of-service conditions, during last year’s three-day International Roadcheck.
  • “Brake system” was the third most cited vehicle-related factor in fatal commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) latest “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts” report.
  • Brake-related violations accounted for eight out of the top 20 vehicle violations in 2020, according to FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System.
  • During last year’s Brake Safety Week, 12% of the 43,565 commercial motor vehicles inspected were placed out of service for brake-related violations.

How to Prepare for the Inspection

Inspect your brake system and all brake components regularly during your pre and post-trip inspection. Performing this can help you identify any issues and feel confident that your vehicle is in safe operating condition. 

We have a list of items below that you can visually check your brake system on a regular basis:

  • Celvis pins
  • Slack adjuster 
  • Air lines
  • Air brake chamber
  • Cotter pins
  • Brake hoses and tubing 

The CVSA has a FAQ sheet that answers common questions about your brake system that you can learn more about. They also have a brake inspection checklist which is a great way for you to stay prepared for your roadside inspection!

At US Cargo Control, We Care About Your Safety

Just like how you would practice being a safe driver, inspecting your brakes is equally as important. If you continue to inspect your vehicle’s components regularly, you can leave others and yourself safe from dangerous situations.

Read our other blogs to practice even safer driving behaviors:

Dos and Don’ts on Load Securement

A Simple Guide on How to Use a Ratchet Strap and How to Release It

How Many Tie Down Straps Do I Need to Secure My Cargo?

Working Load Limit, Breaking Strength & Safety Factor: What Do They Mean?

Truck Drivers, thank you for moving us forward. We appreciate your hard work to deliver the goods that we consume every day. If you have any questions about the products we carry, give our team of experts a call at 866-444-9990.

What is Wire Rope, and How is it Different from Cable Rope?

Read what is wire rope, what are important specifications to look for, and how it’s different from cable rope.

Did you know wire ropes were used as far back as the 1830s for mining hoist applications? Nowadays, we can use steel ropes for many different applications such as lifting and hoisting in elevators and cranes, and for mechanical power transmission. US Cargo Control’s wire rope slings are an excellent choice for heavy-duty jobs as their fabrication offers excellent abrasion resistance and heat resistance for extreme conditions.

Although these slings are beneficial for the lifting and rigging industry, there are a few specifications to know before purchasing them. Continue reading what is wire rope, what are important specifications to look for, and how it’s different from cable rope.

What is Wire Rope?

Up close shot of wire rope sling on shackle
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

These slings carry different properties that can determine their performance. Wire rope is constructed where a strand consists of two or more wires arranged and twisted in a specific arrangement. The individual strands are then laid in a helical pattern around the core of the rope. Once the wires are formed, they all come together to create greater strength and flexibility.

These slings work well for lifting, hoisting, towing, or anchoring loads. They’re manufactured in a variety of configurations, with 6×19 and 6×36 being the most common. When you see 6×19 or 6×36 from our website, these numbers represent the number of wires making up the strand and the number of strands wrapped around the core.

For example, a 6×19 indicates that there are 19 wires making up a strand, and 6 strands wrapping around the core. To learn more about our 6×19 wire ropes, look into our bestselling 1/2″ Galvanized Wire Rope EIPS IWRC, 1/2″ Stainless Steel Wire Rope IWRC T304, and 1/2″ Bright Wire Rope EIPS FC.

The configurations will offer different benefits for certain applications. In general, a smaller number of large outer wires offers better wear and corrosion resistance, while a larger number of small wires provides a better level of flexibility and fatigue resistance. Continue reading to learn which wire rope fits your job.

Terms that Define Construction and Properties of Wire Rope

Before immediately purchasing a wire sling, there are 7 properties that you should know about:

  1. Different Types of Wire Rope Slings
  2. Length
  3. Size
  4. Direction and Type of Lay
  5. Finish of Wires
  6. Grade of Rop
  7. Type of Core

1. Different Types of Wire Rope Slings

There are different versions of wire rope slings, ranging from single leg to 4 legs, as well as braided wire rope and domestic wire rope slings (manufactured in the U.S. with Crosby® hardware). When looking at the types of slings we offer at US Cargo Control, be sure to consider how much versatility and capability you need.

For example, a braided wire rope has increased flexibility and friction to grip loads over a regular wire rope. Adding an additional leg to the sling can add additional versatility and strength.

2. Length

the length of the wire rope sling

This is the total number of feet that are cut to size when wrapped around.

3. Size

the size and strand pattern of a wire rope

This is the measurement of the rope’s diameter and can be displayed in inches or millimeters. These sizes commonly display different strand patterns where the number of layers, wires per layer, and size of the wires per layer all affect the strand pattern. Wire rope can be constructed using one of the following patterns below or using two or more patterns.

  • Single Layer – a common example is a 7 wire strand. This has a single-wire center with six wires of the same diameter around it.
  • Filler Wire – this has two layers of uniform-size wire around a center with the inner layer having half the number of wires as the outer layer.
  • Seale – has two layers of wires around a center with the same number of wires in each layer. All wires in each layer are the same diameter.
  • Warrington – this construction has two layers of wires around a center with one diamter of wire in the inner layer, and two diameteres of wire alternating large and small in the outer layer.
  • Combination – when a strand is formed in a single operation using two or more of the above constructions, it’s referred as a “combined pattern.”

4. Direction and Type of Lay

The type of lay refers to the way the wires are laid to form a strand. They’re how the strands are laid around the core which can be regular lay, long lay, or alternate lay.

Regular Lay

The wires line up with the axis of the rope. This is where the wires are twisting in one direction, and the strands in the opposite direction create the rope. Regular lay is less likely to untwist and less likely to crush.

LAng Lay

This is the opposite of regular lay where the wires form an angle with the axis of the rope. The wires and strands spiral in the same direction and run at a diagonal to the centerline of the rope. Lang lay is more flexible and resistant to abrasion than regular lay wire ropes. The only con is this type of lay will be more likely to twist and crush than the regular lay.

Alternate Lay

Sometimes known as reverse lay, this type of lay consists of alternating regular lay and long lay strands. This unites the best features of both types, and it’s using relatively large outer wires to provide an increase of abrasion resistance.

5. Finish of Wires

steel wire rope sling in heavy industrial
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

This refers to the protective coating that’s applied to the wire rope. There are three types of finishes which are galvanized (zinc-coated), stainless steel, and bright (unfinished steel).

Note that the galvanized material will provide extra corrosion resistance, and stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion.

6. Grade of Rope

The grade of the rope means the grade of steel being used. The plow steel strength calculates the strengths of most steel wire ropes. Some classifications include Improved Plow Steel (IPS), Extra Improved Plow Steel (EIPS), Extra Extra Improved Plow Steel (EEIPS), Galvanized Improved Plowed Steel (GIPS), and Drawn Galvanized Imrpoved Plow Steel (DGEIP).

EIPS is 15% stronger than IPS, and EEIPS is 10% stronger than EIPS. Along with that, GIPS and DGEIP wires can add corrosion resistance to your application, but DGEIP wires have a higher break load than GIPS.

7. Type of Core

The type of core is what makes up the center of the wire rope. There are three types of core: Fiber Core (FC), Independent Wire Rope Core (IWRC), and Wire Strand Core (WSC).

A fiber core can be made of synthetic polypropylene fibers. The fiber cores offer greater elasticity than a steel core, but are more susceptible to crushing. This isn’t recommended for high heat environments.

A steel core can either be an independent wire rope or individual strand. The steel cores can provide adequate support, or in an operating environment where temperatures can exceed very high heat.

What’s the Difference between Wire Rope and Cable Rope?

A wire rope sling being used to lift a heavy load
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

Wire and cable ropes are terms that are often interchangeable but do have one varying difference. Wire rope refers to the diameters that are larger than 3/8 inch. Sizes smaller than this are classified as cable rope or even cords. Regardless of the size difference, cable and wire rope are still classified as a “machine.” Even a group of strands laid around a core would still be called a cable or wire rope.

Tackle the Toughest Lifting Jobs with High-Quality Rigging Hardware

We know the importance of quality when it comes to lifting supplies. We carry a variety of rigging hardware, as well as lifting beams and spreader bars that are designed to lift heavy loads safely and efficiently. If you’re interested in other lifting slings, check the other types of slings we carry like nylon slings and chain slings.

Need a custom lifting sling? We can do that. We’ll work with you and customize a lifting sling to meet your specific needs.

Read more information about wire rope slings below!

How to Safely Apply Wire Rope Clips to Wire Rope Assemblies

How to Use Wire Rope Clips

What is Sling Protection, What are the Different Types of Slings, & How to Protect Them

Contact our sales team at US Cargo Control today at 866-444-9990. Our team of product experts is here to answer any questions about rigging hardware, lifting slings, and more.

What is Sling Protection, What are the Different Types of Slings, & How to Protect Them

Sling protection products can protect slings, the load, and even the load’s surroundings. Read to learn how to improve the durability of your slings and create safety and cost saving solutions in the workplace.

Are you constantly having to buy new lifting slings, or finding that your slings keep getting damaged? Are you noticing that improper use of the load or load damage is often caused by the sling itself? These issues are related to one of the most common lifting problems – lack of proper sling protection.

Luckily, we have a few tips on how to improve the endurance and longevity of your slings. In this blog, we’ll explain what is sling protection, when slings require protection, and the best sling protection products.

What is Sling Protection?

Use Corner Guards to Protect Lifting Slings

Sling protection is a common term in the lifting and rigging industry. Just like adding a screen protector to your phone, there are sling protection products that can protect your slings from sharp corners and edges.

We need to ensure the lifting sling is not cut or abraded during the lift, and the load is secured. We’re able to achieve that through products that support the durability of the lifting slings.

When researching sling protection products, it’s important to understand that some products are good for preventing abrasions while others are good for resistance to cutting. It’s also critical to know that the most common sling protection materials are polyester or nylon webbing, Kevlar, rubber, leather, and wood. While learning about your slings or the slings you wish to get, make sure to know what application you are using the sling for as well as the physical properties of the load and sling protection products.

We’re emphasizing the importance of sling protection producs because it’s typically less expensive to replace sling protection products multiple times than to replace the lifting sling.

When do Slings Require Protection?

Rigging wire rope and shackle

All types of lifting slings like nylon, polyester, wire rope, and chain must be protected from edges, corners, and protrusions. You can use products like corner guards, sleeves, reinforced eyes, and wear pads to help your slings. We also carry a line of Straightpoint Load Monitoring Loadcells to precisely measure and safely monitor the tension of loads involving wire rope, guy wire, synthetic rope, shackles, and more.

While all types of lifting slings require protection from sharp corners and edges, it’s common to use sling protection products to a synthetic sling like round slings and web slings. This is because the nylon and polyester fibers of a synthetic sling are more susceptible to cuts, tears, and abrasion than stronger sling materials like wire rope or chain. In fact, the cutting of synthetic slings during use is the number one cause of sling accidents.

The sling can make contact with the load or hardware:

  • Around any lift points like load edges, hoist rings, and eye bolts
  • Around the crane hook, shackle, and master link.
  • On load edges that could be above the hookup points

What Happens When I Don’t Protect My Slings?

How to Protect your lifting slings from sharp edges

There are several ways slings could be destroyed if you don’t use sling protection products. Without the usage of sling protection products, there is potential for:

  • Injury or loss of life
  • Higher turnover of slings, especially synthetic ones
  • Major damage to the sling, load, and around the load’s surroundings if the sling is cut, and the load is dropped
  • Damage caused to the load itself from lack of protection, especially when using wire rope and chain slings which can exert crushing forces on a load

As explained above, when you’re not using the proper sling protection, it can result in a dropped load or scratching and damaging it. This can be dangerous as this could result in injury, dismemberment, or loss of life.

In addition to that, if you’re not protecting your slings, you’re creating a higher turnover in slings and this will result in higher equipment costs. To learn more about what lifting slings you should use for the right job, read 3 Factors to Consider When Choosing Lifting Slings.

How Do Sharp Edges or Corners Damage Slings?

What is sling protection, how to protect any lifting sling

Edges can damage different types of slings in several different ways.

If you’re using chain slings, the edges can cause nicks and gouges, crushed links, and bent or twisted links. When using wire rope, the corners could damage broken wires, kinks, or doglegs. Lastly, nylon and polyester slings can be cut or abraded easily.

If your sling isn’t protected and it gets damaged, it’s more expensive to replace the sling than the sling protection product. It is much more cost-effective to replace the sling protection rather than replacing the sling itself.

Nylon and polyester slings can be easily confusing as they have a few similarities. To understand which web sling you should get, read Polyester Slings vs Nylon Slings: Which Web Sling Type is Better?

Tackle the Toughest Lifting Jobs with High-Quality Rigging Hardware

We know the importance of quality when it comes to lifting supplies. We carry a variety of rigging hardware, as well as lifting beams and spreader bars that are designed to lift heavy loads safely and efficiently. 

Need a custom lifting sling? We can do that. We’ll customize a lifting sling to meet your specific needs.

Curious about Straightpoint products and how they work? Read more information about them below!

Do You Know How Much That Weighs? Straightpoint Load Cells Do

Compression Type Load Cells: Wireless vs. Wired

How to Select a Load Cell

Contact our sales team at US Cargo Control today at 866-444-9990. Our team of product experts is here to answer any questions about rigging hardware, lifting slings, and more.

Heads Up! CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week 2021 is Here

Operation Safe Driver Week is July 11th-July 17th. Read what the program is about, and how to prepare for it.

Do you know that speeding is a factor in a quarter of crash deaths since 2008, and it’s the most frequent driver-related crash factor for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles? Speeding is also a factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2018, killing 9,378 people or an average of more than 25 people per day.

This is why CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week exists. 

This year’s Operation Safe Driver Week has started and will continue to run until July 17th, 2021. This year’s focus is on speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors. During this time, law enforcement personnel will be on the lookout for commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in risky behaviors in or around a commercial motor vehicle. 

Unsafe drivers will be pulled over and issued a citation or warning. Continue reading what the program is about, and how to prepare for it.

What is CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week?

Law enforcement during operation safe driver week 2021

Operation Safe Driver Week helps reduce the number of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles due to unsafe driving behaviors. The goal behind this program is to improve drivers’ behaviors through educational and traffic enforcement strategies. 

Most crashes are caused by drivers’ actions, and research shows that interactions with law enforcement change the driver’s behaviors. 

What to Know about Operation Safe Driver Week 2021

Prepare for Operation Safe Driver Week 2021

What you need to know if you’re pulled over for speeding, officers will deeply investigate you and your vehicle. You may receive a warning or citation if you engage in speeding or other risky driving habits.

The other problematic driving behaviors officers will track but not limited to are:

Results from the Past Few Years

CVSA selected speeding as its focus this year because even though there was a drop in road travel last year due to the pandemic, traffic fatalities still increased nationally.

Surprisingly, the estimated rate of death on roads last year increased 24% over the previous 12-month period, despite miles driven were dropped to 13%. This is the highest estimated year-over-year jump NSC has calculated in 96 years.

Tips for Truckers

Safety tips for operation safe driver week 2021

To prepare yourself during and after this week, follow the tips below for best practices.

  • Follow the speed limits.
  • Abide by common traffic laws, obey traffic control devices, and wear your seat belt.
  • Don’t engage in dangerous driving behaviors and practice defensive driving.
  • Continue to operate within the Hours of Service regulations to ensure you’re well rested and alert when driving.
  • Allow additional time to get to your destination safely.
  • Avoid tailgating.

At US Cargo Control, We Care About Your Safety

By spreading awareness about Operation Safe Driver Week, we want to make sure truckers are prepared during and after this event. It may be easier to speed so you can reach your destination faster, but that comes with a risk. It’s better to get there safely, than not get there at all.

Stay safe out there, and use defensive driving skills!

Other Reads for Truckers:

Long-Haul Truck Drivers Share The Most Scenic Drives in America

5 Money-Saving Tips for Truck Drivers on the Road

6 Types of Truck Driver Cooking Equipment That Will Make Your Life Easier

5 Fun Things for Truck Drivers to Do When on the Road

5 Tips for How to Sleep Better in a Semi Truck

9 Free Ways for Truck Drivers to Save on Fuel

Truck Drivers, thank you for moving us forward. We appreciate your hard work to deliver the goods that we consume every day. If you have any questions about the products we carry, give our team of experts a call at 866-444-9990.

Key Factors to Having a Test Bed, and What This Means for You

Learn what this machine means for our business and for you for the long run.

US Cargo Control just got a brand new toy in the house, and it’s a horizontal test bed! For the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with this equipment that will help us run more efficiently and grow as a company, create time and cost-saving solutions, and provide customers what they want, when they need it.

What is the Purpose Behind the Test Bed?

Also known as a proof test machine, the test bed has several different purposes that meet all of our needs. It can help us add new and potential capabilities, ensure our current product verifications are being met, and give us confidence we’re giving customers products that have been successfully tested for quality and accuracy.

The most important reason we have our own test bed in-house is it’ll make sure that the products we’re supplying meet the needed Working Load Limits (WLL) and Break Strengths (BS). If you’d like to learn more about the WLL and BS, read what the numbers on your load-bearing equipment mean.

This machine serves our mission to get the customer the quality products that they deserve. We sat down with one of our experts, Wendi Kafer, to learn the key factors to having this machine.

What is the Test Bed?

US Cargo Control using Chant Engineering's test bed for cargo products

It is a horizontal test bed from Chant Engineering which has the capacity to conduct tension or proof test up to 150K LB on our lifting slings and tiedown straps. The products are placed in the testbed and pulled to their WLL or beyond, depending on what pull test you are wanting to conduct.

Although its intended use is for the lifting industry, we can also test load-bearing equipment for the trucking and moving industries.

Why Did US Cargo Control Get a Test Bed?

We initially purchased the test bed to determine the design and verification of our current products and new capabilities. Not only that, it creates better time and cost-saving solutions, which is a win in our books.

If we test our nylon and recovery straps through our 3rd party lab, the costs would have been around $68,000. Because we have our own testing equipment, we can create our own products in-house and this avoids creating continous huge costs.

What Results Have We Seen?

Using the test bed for a nylon lifting sling

The test bed has given us the ability to test and determine the design and verification for most of our recovery and nylon straps to achieve the results we seek. Along with that, we’ll be able to make new and current capabilities in-house instead of drop shipping them!

We also conducted testing on our tiedowns to confirm their tack strengths. For example, we changed the tack pattern on our 3″ and 4″ tiedowns to significantly reduce the time it takes to produce an assembly. We tested the new tack pattern (according to the WSTDA standards) on our test bed, and we saved 30 seconds per fixed ends and loose ends while still maintaining their strength ratings!

Lastly, we’ve been able to confirm the Working Load Limit and Break Strength on our custom tiedown straps. As we continue to test our tiedowns with hardware like shackles and chains, we will also work to find the safest and most cost-efficient way to test our full assemblies.

What Does the Test Bed Mean for Our Customers?

Currently, this machine will give us the opportunity to conduct proof load testing that a customer may request on a lifting sling. A proof load test is a type of test that proves the fitness and working load limit of the lifting equipment that it’s designed to withstand. This will ensure the lifting equipment works correctly and safely through its operational cycle.

What Products Are We Using Currently with the Test Bed?

US Cargo Control creating tiedown straps in house

We are currently test recovery straps, lifting slings, tiedowns with loops, and potentially some tiedowns with hardware.

Tiedowns with hardware require special hookups to the pins of the machine in order to be pulled. We have the possibility to use shackles, round slings, chains, and more that we have in-house. The straps with hardware will need to be reviewed and be determined if we can currently test at this time.

What’s the Process of Testing the Products on the Machine?

using the test bed to test break strength and working load limit on a strap

The most critical and first step we take is safety. We alert everyone in the area that we will be testing the products and ear protection is available. We place the product in the test bed before closing it, and plug in information in the machine’s computer such as the type of test being conducted and the desired Break Strength we would like the product to be pulled to.

After the setup is complete, we will start testing. We can determine if the product fails or passes the test when it reaches the WLL and BS. If it fails, we examine why it has failed and collect the data so we can improve our products for the next test.

We upload the test into our database to file and record on our master testing sheet. We use this data to make improvements if the product fails and if a customer would like the information of the product that passed the testing for their records.

Getting You What You Want, When You Need It

Having the test bed in-house creates excitement at US Cargo Control because we’ll be able to confirm verifications ourselves before sending any new products to our website or shipping them to our customers. We enjoy finding new opportunities to continue growing our business, and with our new machine, we’ll be able to identify new possibilities so we can continue to be your source for equipment for hauling, rigging, moving, towing, and lifting all kinds of cargo.

We’re all ecstatic about this brand new machine and can’t wait to get your orders out of the door and into your hands!

Our team looks forward to getting you the quality products you deserve. If you wish to learn more about our products, head over to US Cargo Control or give our team a call at 866-444-9990.