Author Archives: Mark Partlow

IMT Dominator 2 service truck
Buying a Mechanics Truck? Read These Tips First

Machines failing on a job site can be expensive – especially when the equipment is difficult to haul to a service station. Owning a service or mechanics truck, therefore, makes sense for a lot of companies. A mechanics truck can help finish projects on time, more efficiently and cost-effectively. For smaller businesses that cannot afford to own their own service trucks, there are also independent operators who will bring a truck to the job site.

 

To do all this, one needs to carefully consider the purchase of a mechanics truck to best impact productivity, meet overall business goals, and be suitable for the kind of jobs it will do.

 

Need help with this decision? Read the tips for buyers below:

#1: Body Type

Choosing a body type depends on the job your service or mechanics truck is going to do and the industry you’ll be working in. A flat body, for example, will come with a chassis. It’s a good place to start if you’re going to build a custom body. A van body is suitable for industries such as landscaping. A contractor body offers open lengths of empty bed space to haul larger items. 

#2: Body Material

An analysis of the payload you expect to carry will help you make the decision between aluminum and steel. Yes, fiberglass is also an option but that will likely only be among your top choices if you’re going to run your truck for utility purposes, so we’ll focus on steel and aluminum.

 

With aluminum, the pros include its light weight, corrosion resistance, and rust resistance. Manufacturers use alloys in the aluminum that go into building beds and chassis to increase durability. The biggest con is the much higher upfront cost.

 

For a workhorse that will give years of reliable service, galvanneal steel is still the traditional choice for mechanics trucks. No matter how reinforced aluminum is, it cannot compete with the strength and perseverance of steel. Treatments are applied to steel to reduce its propensity to rust. Both materials trump each other’s primary weakness, so often, it is the price that influences the decision. Yes, there is a bit of weight saving with aluminum. However, it’s a lot for the extra money you’re going to pay, because aluminum is expensive.

#3: Open or Closed Body

An open, classic-style body is a perfect choice if you’re going to carry longer, bulkier material like pipes, conduits, and builder-grade wood. The tailgate keeps them securely contained on the bed, and there can be compartments along the sides to keep smaller tools and supplies neatly arranged. But considerations like rain, snow, and security factor into the decision to run an open body service truck or mechanics body truck.

 

Closed body ones are ideal if you’re not carrying long, unwieldy tools and supplies. The interiors can be customized to your specific needs with shelving and additional storage containers for increased organization and work efficiency.

#4: Model Information

Things you should know about the mechanics truck before you buy:

  • Make and model year of the truck
  • Two-wheel or four-wheel drive 
  • Single or double rear axle
  • Gas or diesel engine and number of fuel tanks
  • The gross vehicle weight (GVWR)

 

IMT Dominator service truck with its doors open to display how to organize inside shelving
10 Tips on How to Organize Service & Mechanics Trucks

What do you do when a critical piece of machinery breaks down at a job site and work comes to a complete standstill? You have two options. You can arrange for the equipment to be hauled away to a service center, with considerable downtime expense, to have it repaired and returned. Or you can call in a mechanics truck that does the repair work onsite and gets it up and running in considerably less time.

 

Big operations – such as mining, highway support, rail work, and civic utility – usually own their own fleet of service or mechanics trucks. Independent mechanics often run them too, offering mobile repair to smaller businesses that need the help.

 

Service bodies have to be kitted out with all the tools and replacement parts needed to repair broken machinery that cannot be easily transported. This means the storage configuration of these vehicles is extremely important.

 

Below, we have listed 10 key tips to help operators organize their mechanics trucks to make the most of their available space. This can help improve efficiency, increase productivity, and boost their earning potential by being able to service more customers on a daily and weekly basis.

1. Start From Scratch

If your truck has not been organized for some time, the first thing to do is empty the vehicle completely. Lay all the tools down where you can see them. This will help you identify how they’re going to fit together, shape and size-wise, and which tool needs to be near which for easy retrieval. You will be able to decide if you need extra shelving or any extra outfitting. You may also see items that don’t need to be placed back in the vehicle, so it’s a great opportunity to de-clutter as well as organize. 

2. Grade Tools by Usage

The tools you use the most should be close to access points. Lesser used ones can go toward the back.  

3. Throw Away Factory Boxes

Keeping tools in the boxes they were packaged in does preserve their sense of newness. But when outfitting a service or mechanics truck, they unnecessarily take up space as their shapes are irregular. Use custom storage boxes instead, with adjustable shelves and dividers. They come in many sizes and can be configured to suit your unique needs.

4. Reduce Possibility of Damage

Store heavy, bulky equipment, like a power generator for example, in the lower compartments or closer to the floor to avoid damage to any lighter tools that may be stored in the vicinity. Overhead racks also free up more space to stow and organize smaller items. From there on, load from bottom to top, separating tools so they can be easily found without having to sift and search while a job is in progress.

5. Consider Cab Storage Spaces

Most cabs offer some extra storage space, such as backs of seats, under the seats, and doors. Take advantage of these by using magnetized strips to hang metal tools and cab organizers with divided pockets. Along with electronic devices, paperwork should also be stored in the front.

6. Expand Storage With an Underbody Toolbox

Need more space in the truck bed? Instead of overloading in an impractical manner, add an underbody toolbox to store the extra stuff.

7. Use Anchor Points

Make sure everything stays in place when the truck is moving by anchoring equipment using bungee ropes.

8. Get Enough Lighting

No matter how effectively you organize your truck, it won’t stay that way for long if you don’t have sufficient lighting to see inside. Extra lighting solutions are even more important during winter when natural daylight is in short supply.

9. Safety First

You never know where a service call will take you. For increased safety on the road, your vehicle should have features like back-up cameras, spot mirrors, parking sensors, and partitions.

10. Look Professional 

The look of a well-organized truck instills confidence in customers. So not only will you be making the job easier for yourself, your truck operation may build a reputation for efficiency just by how professional the inside of it is kitted out.

 

 

Looking for new or used service trucks or mechanics trucks? Considering rental? Contact us at Custom Truck One Source.

 

We’re America’s first true single-source provider of specialized truck and heavy equipment solutions and we’re standing by to help you!

 

Call us at 844-282-1838 or email us at [email protected].

 

Freightliner M2106 service truck plus crane with steel truck body
Aluminum or Steel? 7 Things to Consider When Selecting a Truck Body

Aluminum and steel – two metals that look very similar and two of the most popular choices for a truck body or bed. Both have their unique advantages and disadvantages, and it isn’t an easy task for fleet managers to choose one over the other when adding new trucks to their line.

While steel has been around for ages, aluminum is the shiny, new kid on the block. At one third the weight of steel, it is an extremely attractive alternative, and the touted 700-lbs weight drop in aluminum Ford F-150s is a frequently referenced example in the auto industry. However, we have historically depended on steel, the traditional truck body metal of choice that still offers more durability.

So, which should you choose?

As any experienced fleet manager will tell you, it’s always a balancing act. Matching performance needs with the inherent properties of these metals is difficult. We’re going to try to help you make an informed purchase decision by analyzing their weight, strength/durability, cost, fuel efficiency, safety, and maintenance.

# 1: Weight

Aluminum is approximately 1/3rd the weight of steel. An aluminum truck bed, for example, typically weighs up to 40% less than a steel bed of the same strength. This means trucks with aluminum bodies and beds can significantly increase payload, while conforming to legal weight restrictions. For every pound the truck isn’t hauling as part of its own weight, you’re basically adding a pound to the payload. Less weight also means less stress and strain on the tires and fuel system, which can increase life expectancy.

# 2: Strength & Durability

Steel is proven to be strong and durable, with 2.5 times the density of aluminum. This is a major contributing factor when choosing a hardworking truck that can withstand years of strenuous use. Steel bodies (much of the market uses galvanneal steel) are ideal for heavy duty jobs. A landscaper, for instance, may find steel more resistant to the impact of loading/unloading substantial hardscaping materials, like boulders and rocks. So, if you are going to haul heavy material or equipment, steel is probably what you should consider.

That said, there is definitely an argument that aluminum can be `thickened’ and `strengthened’ and still be lighter than steel. Alloys, such as chromium, copper, titanium, and zinc can be used to reinforce 95% pure aluminum in order to enhance its strength and durability.

# 3: Corrosion Resistance

Rust is one of a truck’s worst enemies, because it can literally eat holes into the truck body and engine. Unless contained and fixed, rust can spread rampantly.

Steel manufacturers coat the metal’s surface with a galvanic layer of zinc to discourage formation of rust. Unfortunately, if that defensive coating is breached by a bump or a scratch, the underlying metal becomes vulnerable to rust.

In contrast, aluminum offers far superior protection against rust. The innate properties of aluminum create a protective oxide layer that fends off rust. Therefore, treating aluminum to resist corrosion is a much cheaper option than treating steel for the same. Because of this, resale value of aluminum bodies can also be higher than for steel ones.

# 4: Maintenance

The lighter weight of aluminum means less wear and tear on the engine, tires, weight springs, etc. This in turn means less maintenance. Add to this the protection it affords against rust damage and resistance to weather conditions like salt, ice, and snow, and the balance often tips in aluminum’s favor.

# 5: Cost

While aluminum bodies require less repair, which means less money spent over time, they are significantly more expensive to buy. This initial difference may turn the tide during the decision-making process in steel’s favor, as it costs approximately 30% less than aluminum options.

“Aluminum in today’s market is an alternative for people working in road conditions with salt, snow, and ice,” says Mark Partlow, Product Manager for Service Trucks at Custom Truck One Source (CTOS). “Sure, there is a bit of weight savings, but not a lot for all the extra money you’re going to have to pay to acquire one.”

# 6: Safety

It’s a pretty common and long-held perception that steel offers more structural integrity and hence more protection for drivers operating the vehicle. But in recent steel truck and aluminum frame tests, the latter has shown itself to be a worthy competitor when it comes to safety.

Aluminum is environmentally friendly, too. Its production involves recyclable materials that then don’t end up in landfills, and no harmful chemicals are used. In fact, recycled aluminum products make up 85 % of total aluminum.

# 7: Fuel Efficiency

The lighter weight of an aluminum truck body means more mileage per gallon. This makes them 8%-10% more fuel efficient than steel-bodied ones. So, if the truck you’re purchasing will traverse long distances in the course of its daily job, then the fuel savings with aluminum is certainly something to consider.

What About Fiberglass?

As far as fiberglass is concerned, not many people opt for this material. For one, fiberglass is very expensive to repair. The door openings are smaller because of the reinforcement that is needed. They are lighter, but they don’t have the inside storage space that a steel or aluminum truck body would have. Fiberglass is primarily used in the utility industry because of weight and aesthetics. It looks good, it doesn’t rust, and the utility sector doesn’t need much extra room inside like a mechanic does. So, it works better in niche applications (like utility) than it does in mainstream ones.

 

Service Trucks - Chevrolet - Voyager I by Load King
6 Myths to Remember When Buying a Service or Mechanics Truck

Service trucks and mechanics trucks, the lifelines of industries like mining, rail and civil utility, are heavy equipment with powerful engines and bodies. Typically, they are more expensive than delivery or utility trucks, which is why buyers often choose new service & mechanics trucks with only the upfront cost in mind. Such decisions, however, can prove costly in the long run.

Below, we are listing 6 common misconceptions that have been known to guide people when they’re in the marketplace for a new unit:

# 1: All mechanics trucks can accommodate longer booms

Longer booms give you longer reach, but they get heavier as their height increases, which in turn impacts the payload (weight of job-critical items like tools and equipment that also have to be factored in).

# 2: There’s no need to match the chassis with the body size

The chassis GVW (gross vehicle weight) cannot be exceeded, which means the body weight, along with payload, has to be suitable for it. Configuring all these factors is important to make sure the service truck does not exceed weight limits which can result is costly re-configurations afterwards.

# 3: All manufacturers use similar specs for the design of bodies and cranes

Not true. Which is why you should do your research and work with providers with the largest product inventory in mechanics trucks to find the one that best suits your business needs.

# 4: It’s just simpler to replace an old mechanics truck with the same model

Big mistake. A lot of fleet managers want to take this route, to avoid the homework involved in choosing a different one, but there are many reasons – like more stringent emission laws coming to pass in the future – that make it necessary. Only approach providers with a variety of mechanics trucks in their inventory and discuss needs, wants and good-to-haves in order to find the perfect fit. It may not be the same model, but it may be much more suited for your future business goals.

# 5: Service or mechanics trucks make a good investment decision when they are run until they die

The problem with this approach is rising maintenance costs. The older a truck gets the more work – and money – they need to keep them in running order. Instead, if a few mechanics trucks in the fleet are replaced every couple of years or so, it saves you money, and lot of operational problems, in the long run.

# 6: Smaller service or mechanics trucks keep operational costs down

Again, not true. Upfront cost of smaller trucks may be less, but when you calculate cost-per-mile, operational expenses and other incidentals, they may not make as much financial sense for your business.

 

Interested in buying or renting a service truck or mechanics?

Contact us at Custom Truck One Source, the nation’s single-largest provider of specialized trucks and heavy equipment. We have the widest range of products with varying specs and we’ll match you up with a unit that suits both your needs and your budget.

 

Winter Safety Tips
8 Winter Safety Tips for Service Vehicle Drivers

Winter driving is hard business for service vehicle drivers who have to be on the road even when the weather’s dumping snowstorms, rain, blizzards and other seasonal hazards in their path. Staying safe themselves is the first order of the day, because neither drivers nor their service vehicles, such as boom trucks/cranes, are of any use if they’re not taking proper safety precautions during these trying times. We at Custom Truck One Source are deeply invested in specialized truck driving safety, and we put this winter safety checklist together to remind service vehicle drivers of the basic concerns that one often forgets when weather suddenly turns unpleasant on the road during December/January.

# 1: Don’t Dress in Haste

The first safety rule for any service truck driver is staying warm and protected against the inclement weather they have to go work in. And that means being prepared at all times with the right kind of gear when they’re on duty: insulating jackets, waterproof boots with excellent traction, highly-visible clothing for low-light conditions etc.

# 2: Pack Winter Safety Emergency Supplies

A responsible service truck driver should never be without basic emergency supplies like food, water, blankets and a first-aid kit.

# 3: Be Extra Cautious with Specialized Truck Maintenance

A well-maintained service truck is always the need of the hour. However, operators must be extra vigilant practicing winter safety during hazardous conditions to make sure their equipment is in peak operational condition.

 

  • Check tires for signs of wear and tear, for example, so you’re not compromised by reduced traction on icy roads. Check your spare tire as well.

 

  • Check the engine, coolants, battery and brakes.

 

  • Make sure that all lights on your truck are working and clear of snow and ice. LED lights, especially, accumulate a lot of snow and crud. Visibility is crucial during low-light conditions.

 

  • Grease all grease fittings that are on the tow truck. The ten dollars you spend now can save you thousands of dollars in repair costs afterwards.

# 4: Never Be Too Busy to Wear A Seatbelt

Many pro truck drivers confess that they keep their seatbelts off on wintry roads when they need to climb in and out of their cabs constantly.

# 5: Don’t Take on Snow Plows

Don’t try to pass snow plows, as they kick up huge volumes of snow that may compromise your visibility. Always give them right of way. (This applies to sanding trucks as well.)

# 6: Don’t Get in The Middle of Snow Plows

If there are several snow plows on the road, give them a wide berth. It is very likely that they are working together. Getting in the middle with your hefty service truck can cause an accident.

# 7: Don’t Stop Watching for Black Ice

The biggest danger with black ice is that you are at the mercy of your vehicle and the ice until your truck passes over it.

# 8: You’re Not Exempt from Defensive Driving Rules

  • Don’t engage the jake brake on icy roads.
  • Don’t travel as part of a pack.
  • Don’t follow taillights of the vehicle ahead That means you’re following too closely in snow, fog, or low-light conditions.
  • Keep safe driving distance.
  • Be alert. Drive responsibly with common sense and good judgement.

Good luck!