FAQs: US Cargo Control addresses some of our recent most-asked-questions

We gathered some of the most-frequently searched questions on our site and made a quick reference guide.  This is not a complete guide, but a starting point. Many more in-depth answers can be accessed by the links contained in this post, or by searching specific state regulations. We hope this will answer some of your questions and be a great starting point for what you need to know.

What are the requirements for wheel chock usage?

Wheel chock requirements vary by regulator. So how are you impacted?

OSHA Regulations

OSHA wants everyone to use wheel chocks. However, they do not have jurisdiction when it comes to regulating commercial motor vehicles, like semis or buses. That’s up to the FMCSA. OSHA does have complete jurisdiction over all intrastate motor vehicles, those used in the workplace and on non-public roads. OSHA will enforce wheel chock requirements on all trucks and trailers not classified as commercial motor vehicles. In a nutshell, if you’re not a commercial motor vehicle, you need to chock.

FMCSA Regulations

The FMCSA has their own rules when it comes to using wheel chocks. Their law says air-braked power units made on or before March of 1975 are adequate to keep a commercial motor vehicle from moving during the loading and unloading process. The FMCSA does require wheel chocks for all agricultural commodity trailers, pulpwood trailers and heavy haulers. Basically, if you are a commercial motor vehicle you probably do not need to chock, but should double check to make sure your vehicle isn’t an exception.

Individual Requirements

Carriers, receivers and distributors also have policies regarding safety, and it’s important to be aware of those policies. If a company requires wheel chocks, the policy will be enforced. Federal safety standards are considered the minimum threshold.

Wheel chocks are not required for independent CMV drivers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea to have a backup plan should your brakes malfunction. Accidents do happen. Wheel chocks simply ensure that you are looking out for the safety of yourself and those around you. Safety officials recommend drivers always set the brakes, chock the wheels and or activate the locking mechanism included on the dock.

What are the federal mud flap requirements?

Surprisingly, there are no federal regulations on mud flaps for trucks. However, there are certain states that do have requirements, that when enforced, can hurt your CSA score and cause you to be ticketed if you are not in line with them.

To play it safe and cover any state-to-state requirements, the simplest common denominator will require you to have a mud flap or splashguard on the rear of the truck that covers the full width of the tire. Length requirements vary, so to be safe, make sure your mud flaps don’t hang more than six inches from the ground.

If you need specific information for a state’s rule regarding mud flap laws, check the DOT website for that certain state.

What is the strongest grade of steel chain?

Grade 120 chain has the highest strength in the industry, is known as a high performance chain, and has a blue finish. The unique square links create increased contact between the bearing surfaces of the links, reducing pressure on the chain. This increases working load limits 50% higher than grade 80 chain, and 20% higher than grade 100 chain. Grade 120 is approved for overhead lifting. However, when used as a tie down chain, Grade 120 is not safe for overhead lifting due to the type of hooks used.

E-track vs. L-track: What’s the difference?

Both E-track and L-track are track systems with fittings for tie-down straps. The biggest difference is their size and shape. E-track is wider and flatter than L-track, and secures on the outside edge of the track. L-track (also called airline track or logistic track) has a more compact appearance and attachment points are inside the track.

L-track’s narrow width is ideal for installing in smaller spaces, like the bed of a pickup. Although newer than E-track, this style is gaining in popularity.

E-track offers more options in straps and fittings, as well as color and metal choices. E-track is a good choice for use in an enclosed trailer or on the floor of an open trailer because of its lower profile.

Are moving pads machine washable?

Our category of “Best” moving blankets are machine washable. Their cotton/polyester material and woven binding are designed for repeated use. They can be washed in a machine and hung to dry.

Our “Better” moving blankets are made with a combination of woven and non-woven polyester fibers forming a mid-weight blanket that is durable and offers excellent protection for repeated use. These blankets are not recommended for machine washing, but they can be spot cleaned.

 When do you need an oversize load sign/flags?

A load is considered oversize if it exceeds the standard legal size or weight limits for a road or highway. There are also “load per axle” limits for the weight of a load. Oversize loads include pre-built homes, construction machinery, industrial equipment, and wind turbine propellers.

  • Wide load or oversize load banner signs, safety flags and wide load banner usage is an FMCSA requirement for any commercial motor vehicle handling an oversize or wide load. Size and weight parameters vary by state, so it is important to plan ahead and determine the rules for states through which you will be transporting oversize loads.
  • Many states require vehicles transporting wide or oversize loads to obtain (purchase) permits, which are valid for a limited amount of days. These permits may also specify certain routes that these vehicles are allowed to use.

If you’ve got questions that aren’t answered here, we’d love to hear them in the Comments section below.

What are E-Track Shoring Beams?

2895-92-aluminum-shoring-beam-extends-to-103_2_640
92″ Adjustable Aluminum Shoring Beam – Extends to 103″

E-track shoring beams  can serve a dual purpose. Not only can they secure cargo safely inside a trailer, they can also be used to provide additional storage space.

E-track shoring beams attach to e-track rails that are installed inside your truck or trailer. Also called load bars, cargo bars, or load locks, the adjustable beams snap into the e-track rails and prevent loads from shifting during transport. E-track shoring practice3beams are perfect for securing large, bulky cargo that may damage other items or your vehicle itself if the load shifts in transport.

Shoring beams are also sometimes called decking beams because of their ability to create more usable space inside your vehicle. Just add two or more beams at the same interval on the E-track and secure a piece of plywood on top of the beams to create a surface area. Our load bar shoring beams are available in both steel and aluminum to suit a variety of applications.

You can also create a storage rack with two beams without using plywood, check out how US Cargo Control customer Wade did so in IMAG0334his trailer: Customer Photos: Adjustable Shoring Beams.

Like any tool, cargo bars should be stored properly when not in use. Failure to do so can result in serious injury because the beams can become dangerous projectiles in the event of a sudden stop or an accident. A great option: Yellow Rack™ shoring beam holder.

To shop all of our  E-track rails, straps, and accessories, click over to: E Track Straps & Tie Downs. Don’t see a strap or hook you need? Give us a call at 866-444-9990 and we’ll do our best to track it down for you.

Need help in deciding whether to install vertical or horizontal E-track? Check out this video for a quick overview of the difference of the two.

 

 

Customer Photos: Adjustable Shoring Beams

image of shorting beams from USCargoControl.comWade sent us these photos showing how he used two of our 92″ adjustable aluminum shoring beams and horizontal e-track to create an elevated open loft area in his enclosed trailer. He spaced the beams to accommodate extra tires for his stock car, freeing up valuable floor space in the 28 foot long trailer.

“Before adding the shoring beams, I couldn’t carry as many tires as I would have liked on race day because they would take up too much room on the floor.”image of shoring beam load bars from USCargoControl.com

Shoring beams and E-track offer endless options for controlling cargo and making the very best use of space. While the beams create an extra space for holding tires, Wade says they also come in handy for securing gear: “I can roll in a portable tire rack and secure it to keep it from moving, and can also strap the hydraulic floor jack handle to the beam as well.”

image of USCargoControl.com shoring beams

Wade says the versatility of the E-track is what sold him on the system: “The great thing about the E Track is the adjustability. Now for storing the car for winter I have a storage rack in front of the car and behind it to make the best use of the space.”

To purchase the items shown here, visit:

 

What’s the difference between L-track and E-track?

Both e-track and l-track are track systems that accommodate fittings for tie-down straps. The main difference is the size and shape of the track. E-track has a wider, more flat profile than L-track and secures on the outside edge of the track. L-track (also called airline track or logistic track) has a more compact appearance and attachment points are inside the track.

image of aluminum l-track
L-track

L-track’s narrow width makes it great for installing in smaller spaces, like the bed of a pick-up truck. E-track is a good choice for use in an enclosed trailer or on the floor of an open trailer because of it’s lower profile.

E-track in a galvanized finish
E-track

E-track has been around longer than L-track so there are more options in straps and fittings, as well as color and metal choices, but L-track is gaining in popularity so look for more products to become available on our website in the coming months.

See this post for videos on installing both: L-track and E-track installation videos.

 

Have a question for our sales team? Send us a message in the comment box below!

 

 

E-Track Fittings

visual of vertical e-trackWhat makes E-track so great is the amount of e-track fittings, tie down straps, ratchet straps, etc. that work with e-track systems. Even simple accessories like a bungee cord or a cargo net are easy to quickly secure when you have an e track system installed in an enclosed trailer or on the floor of an open trailer.

Here, Charlie goes over the basic types of e-track fittings available at US Cargo Control:

E-track fittings and products shown in this video:

Other E-track videos you may be interested in:

How to install e-track

 L-track & E-track: Which Tie Down System is Right for You?

Have questions about e-track fittings, shoring beams or any of our other products? Call our sales team at 866-444-9990, they’ll be glad to help you.

L-Track Fittings and Installation

While E track tie downs have been the traditional favorite for flat trailers and enclosed trailer tie downs, L track tie down systems (also called logistic track or airline track) is gaining in popularity. Because of its lower profile, airline track tie down rail and fittings are ideal for smaller spaces like truck beds. In addition to lengths of logistic track tie down rail, single track pieces are also available in a 2′ round or 2″ rectangular style so you can create single anchor points wherever you need them. And with range of l track fittings, and even ratchet straps outfitted with both e-track and l-track fittings, becoming more widely available, these slim, sleek cargo tie downs can be used to easily and quickly secure just about anything.

See our entire selection of L track tie down systems, and check out these videos for tips on installing l-track and choosing the right fittings for your tie downs:

How to install L-track:

L-track fittings:

 

L-track fittings featured in these videos:

Plastic End Caps for E-Track

Once you’ve installed your e-track, be sure to add plastic end caps to the horizontal tracks. The smooth black plastic creates a clean, finished look and not only prevents cargo, clothes, hands, and feet from catching on the metal ends, it also protects the metal e-track from abrasions.

image of e-track end cap

Plastic end caps for etrack can be used on the walls or floors, but they are designed to fit horizontal E-track only.

To install, be sure to loosen the track slightly to ensure a good fit, add the end cap and then re-tighten the fasteners to secure .

 

 

 

Our E-track endcaps are designed to fit the following horizontal E-track:

2′ Painted E-Track
2′ Galvanized E-Track

5′ Painted E-Track
5′ Galvanized E-Track

8′ Painted E-Track
8′ Galvanized E-Track

10′  Painted E-Track
10′ Galvanized E-Track

Check out this installation video for more information:

How to Choose Fasteners When Installing E-track

 

We’ve posted a how to install e-track video, but how do you know which fasteners to choose for attaching e-track? There are three common types of fastening systems for e track:

Through-bolting


Uses a nut and bolt system and creates the best hold. This is typically used in the floor, where a nut, bolt and washer on the underside will not be an issue.

The 1/4″ diameter bolt is available in two sizes: 1-1/2″ hex bolt and a 2″ hex bolt.

 

Self-drilling tip screws

image of self-taping screws
Hex head makes it easier to drive without slippage. A self-drilling tip means you won’t have to pre-drill holes in most metal surfaces.

Available in two sizes: 1-1/2″ hex screw and a 2″ hex screw.

 

Wood screws

image of wood screws for E-track

A hex head lessens the change of slippage while driving and the wide washer head creates excellent holding power.

Available in a 3/4″ wood screw and 1-1/2″ wood screw.

 

 

Check out this video for more in-depth information about fastening e-track to a trailer:

Cargo Nets for Trailers

Cargo nets for trailers makes securing cargo easy, safe, and quick.

• One-piece design eliminates the need for multiple straps, ropes, or bungee cords. Built-in spring fittings for E-track (not included; sold separately) make attaching fast and secure.

• The 41″ x 80″ size is generous enough to cover cargo but the low profile of the cargo nets industrial grade 2″ polyester webbing makes it easy to store when not in use.

• Adjusts from 92″ to 103″.

Two methods of tightening are available for cargo nets from US Cargo Control: ratchets or cam buckles:

  • A cargo net with ratchets allow you to create maximum tension on the straps to keep the cargo net tight.
  •  Cam buckles makes adjusting the net quicker, but do not provide as much tension as ratchets do since desired tightness is achieved only by your own strength of pulling the loop end.
  • Cam buckles are a good choice for more fragile or lightweight cargo to -avoid the risk of over tightening, while ratchets are ideal for durable and/or heavy items that require tension to keep secure.

L-track and E-track: Which tie down system is right for you?

Trying to decide whether L-track or E-track is the best choice for your tie-down needs? It depends on where you’ll be installing it.

 

image of aluminum L-track
L-track (also sometimes called “airline track”) in aluminum

 

Generally, the narrow width of L-track works great for installing on the walls or floor of a pickup truck bed. L-track is available in an
aluminum or a black painted finish. Lengths include 6″, 12″, 24″, and 48″.

 

 

 

 

image of galvanized e-track
E-track in a galvanized finish

 

The wider width of E-track makes it a good choice for  installation inside an enclosed trailer or on the floor of an open trailer. It’s available in horizontal and vertical styles and in a galvanized or a green painted finish. Lengths include 2′, 5′, 8′, and 10′.

Both L track and E track are incredibly strong and versatile, but traditionally there are more straps and fittings available on the market for E-track. L-track (also sometimes known as airline track) is gaining in popularity, so more and more accessories are becoming available.

Charlie explains in more detail in the video below.
We’ve also added videos about how to install Etrack and how to install L track.

How to install E-track:

How to install L-track:

How to Install E-Track

Once you’ve decided on vertical or horizontal e-track, and a galvanized or painted finish, it’s time to choose fasteners to attach to the track. Choose fasteners based on the surface to which you are mounting. Check out the video for more tips, and links to fasteners below.

For installing E-track on wood:

Hex head wood screw pack:

#14×3/4” Hex Wood Screw Pack
Item number: ETHEXWSPACK34

#14X11/2” HEX Wood Screw Pack
Item number: ETHEXWSPACK15

 

For installing E-track on metal:

Self-taping metal screws:

11/2” hex screws with self drilling tip
ETHEXSDPACK15

2” hex screws with self drilling tip
ETHEXSDPACK2

 

For through-bolting:

Hex bolt with nut and washer:

11/2” hex bolt nut & washer  
ETBOLTPACK15

2” hex bolt nut & washer
ETBOLTPACK2

 

Horizontal E-track vs. Vertical E-track

There’s no question that e-track can add incredible versatility to an enclosed trailer, van trailer, truck or flatbed trailer. By creating numerous tie-down points, you can safely secure and haul a variety of cargo- from motorcycles and ATVs to pallets and construction supplies. But what are the differences between horizontal E track and vertical E track and which is the best choice for your needs?

 

Vertical E-track

visual of vertical e-track

Vertical e-track has rectangular slots that run parallel with the e-track rail. Vertical e-track is commonly used in van trailers and is an excellent way to provide a support system for shoring beams (or “decking beams”), which creates a second level for cargo. Compared to horizontal e-track, vertical e-track has a narrower profile and permits d-rings to be mounted perpendicular to the floor.

Our vertical E-track is sold in 5′ sections.

 

Horizontal E-track

Visual of horizontal e-track

Horizontal e-track has rectangular slots that run perpendicular (at 90 degree angles) to the track rail, which provides more anchor points per foot.

Horizontal etrack installed on the walls of a trailer gives you not only anchor points for tie-downs, but also allows you to secure equipment such as spare tires or other objects flat against the wall.

Our horizontal E-track is sold in 2′, 5′, 8′ and 10′ sections.

Both horizontal etrack and vertical etrack are available in galvanized steel and a dark green powder-coat finish, and can be mounted on the floor or bed of a trailer as well as on the walls of enclosed trailers and cargo vans.

Although the profile of each styles differs slightly, our e track fittings, e-track tie downs, wood end sockets, etc., will fit in both styles. The only exception is our plastic end caps for e-track, which will work only for horizontal track.

So which e-track is right for your job? The type of cargo (size, weight, amount, etc.) you intend to transport should be the primary factor in choosing either vertical e-track or horizontal e-track.