The Actual Tools A Driver Needs To Carry On The Truck

Topic 20009 | Page 1

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Arifani's Comment
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I was wondering if some of the experts here could list out the tools a driver needs to carry in order to be prepared for emergencies out on the road. I think this wisdom would certainly be appreciated by all. I hope to hear from some of the driving greats we have here. Thanks Arifani

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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As a company driver, you won't be expected to really fix anything but there are some things that it's nice to have on board to get you by on small repairs.

A few screwdrivers come in handy for just about everything, crescent wrenches of a couple different sizes, pliers or channel locks and a small electrical repair set with a couple rolls of electrical tape. You really don't need a mechanics style road box or anything major because you don't want to get into doing anything too crazy lol. You also don't want to get stuck sitting waiting on a service call to repair a broken wire on a light that you can sometimes easily fix yourself and get down the road. You need to keep in mind that if you do fix something, you're now responsible for that repair so it's always good to have it looked at afterwards but if it means sitting and waiting or making a delivery then getting a shop to look at it, well, you get the point. Most companies have their own repair facilities and contracts with road service providers so you don't really need to worry too much but having the basics is always a good thing.

My CB Handle is Frank's Comment
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Cutters for wire seals
Duct tape
Zip ties
Grease gun

These are the things I probably use the most on my truck. You'll probably get a list or some more advice once you get into your own truck.

Brian M.'s Comment
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This is a great question. Last week I had a situation with a drop and hook that was a prime example of why you may want to carry a few tools onboard. After dropping my one trailer I found my other trailer having a tandem issue. The bolt that released the tandem in the front left pin had magically disappeared making it impossible to slide the tandem to the proper position.

I informed road assist and to my chagrin they made me aware it may take 5 or 6 hours to get someone out there to repair it. Having a bolt and a couple pair of vice grips I was able to fix the problem and get back on the road in a relatively short amount of time. All the while preserving my clock for driving.

Having a few basic tools can be a lifesaver not only will it make you a hero with road assist, it will enable you to stay on the road longer to avoid losing money.

Here's a list of tools and parts I carry on my truck and why

1) 2 hammers one sledgehammer and one standard 20 oz hammer. When it's the winter and you have ice on brake assemblies there is no quicker way of removing it. Also the occasional stubborn pin on the tandem. In the morning I occasionally see guys thump there tires. To me it's a waste of time . A under inflated tire will thump just like a proper inflated tire use an air gauge.

2)Air gauge and tread depth gauge- self explanatory.

3) Assorted hand tools, my tool bag has assorted screwdrivers, vice grips, small ratchet set, standard and metric wrenches, wire cutters, linesman pliers and side cutters. I use these for simple fixes to get me running and profitable.

4) Pocket knife- never know when you need to cut something. (Hopefully it's not to cut cloth for a tourniquet after cutting myself).

5) Battery operated grinder ( my favorite tool) great for cutting bolt or wire type seals, the occasional lock left on the trailer by the previous driver it's the best investment I made! Why struggle with bolt cutters when you just zip it off like butter! Also great to cut off bolts on mud flaps. Most of the time when you have to replace a mudflap the bolts are so rusty it's almost impossible to get them off. Why struggle.

6)Assorted bolts, wire, shrink tubing, screws nuts tape etc. - it's not enough just having the tools if you don't have the part. I went to the trailer shop and the tractor shop at Prime and asked them for the most common parts needed for a simple fix on the road and they hooked me up.

7) Assorted bulbs,fuses and a spool of electrical wire and wire connectors. There's not a light I cannot replace myself.

8) 100ft air hose with glad hand assembly- airing up a trailer tire is never a problem.

9) APU service kit. Oil and air filter and belts. You would be surprised how many shops I go to who can't PM your APU because they don't have the parts. I like my a/c. Also carry some cabin air filters. Nothing like clean air!

I'm sure I forgot a few things


Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Bud A.'s Comment
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And if you're pulling a tanker, make sure to have rubber O-rings in all the sizes that are needed for the PTO connections and the pump. You can save yourself many hours if that leak is a simple fix.

Arifani's Comment
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Thank you for the great information ! This was just what I was looking for ! Thanks again , Arifani

Errol V.'s Comment
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CB-Frank lists:

Hammer Pliers
Cutters for wire seals
Duct tape
Zip ties
Grease gun

You can, and will, accumulate tools you find useful. I like Frank's simple list.

My changes:

Tin Snips instead of a cutter. Beats the pants off cutters for metal ribbon seals.
WD-40 for sticky widgets. No Grease gun.
Hammer - BALL PEEN. The ball end clears ice like nothing else, a claw gets in the way during storage.
WonderBar for prying - way better than a claw hammer.

Unholychaos's Comment
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Vice grips. Picking up an old trailer with a tandem release handle that just won't stay out can be remedied by using vice grips to prevent the handle from retracting.

Stick lighter. Idk what they're actually called, but it can help when you pick up a trailer in the winter months and come to find out that ice has formed on the inside of your trailers electrical socket.

Trucker Path app. Not really a tool, but a great thing to have for trip planning. With it, you're able to see the majority of major chain truck stops, rest areas, weigh stations, Wal-Mart's, and other goodies along the way. It even allows other app users to update the parking status at a location.


Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Turtle's Comment
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I carry pretty much everything the others have said, along with a couple extra sets of gladhand seals as well as a small tube of Dielectric grease to lubricate the seals and electrical connection periodically.

G-Town's Comment
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Cable Ties, both the throw away and reusable type. They come in a variety of sizes, I carry medium and large. I also have another type of reusable Twist-Tie. There are several brand names for this; Viper and Nite Ize; sizes are 12, 18, 34 and 64’. The below images represent an orange Nite Ize brand in the 12” size purchased from Home Depot. Lots of uses for this…


I also carry duct tape...temporarily fixes a myriad of little things.

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