It’s that time of year again. The trailer is loaded up with our booth’s supplies, the catalogs are printed and the gas tank is full. Raney’s is ready to make its yearly journey from central Florida to the lowlands of Kentucky for the Mid America Trucking Show.
Once at the show it’s clear to see that the truck show competitors have brought out the microfiber rags, chrome polish and buffing wheels and are preparing their rigs for the Mid America Trucking Show. Each year, thousands of trucks, truck drivers, industry professionals and many more make their way to Louisville Kentucky to see the latest and greatest products for commercial trucks as well as the new models being rolled out by the truck manufacturers themselves. The show itself has a long history of big reveals and this year probably won’t be an exception. The show began in 1972 with only 82 exhibitors and 4,000 registered attendees, founded by a local management group headed by Paul K. Young. Out of its humble beginnings, it has grown into one of the largest conventions in the world for trucking, filling every wing (and the parking lot) of the Kentucky Exposition Center in the heart of Louisville. In 2012, over 80,000 people registered and attended the Mid America Trucking Show and in 2015 we can anticipate that and more.
Some of the events you can expect this year are as follows:
The PKY Truck Beauty Contest: This is where you’ll see the absolute pinnacle of truck design and customization. Every year, the competition is dead-set on one-upping last year’s rigs so there is always something new to see. Plenty of past year’s winners will be there so make sure to keep an eye out for your favorite truck. Hopefully we’ll see some of Raney’s Chrome out on display in Lot J behind the West Wing!
The Fleet Forum: This is a great place to get up to date on industry trends and ways to improve your business. The full schedule is published here. The trucking industry is constantly evolving so topics like self-driving vehicles, environmental trends and getting and keeping drivers will be covered.
The MATS Concert Series: This year the Marshall Tucker Band will be headlining the concert on March 27th. Make sure to get your tickets from the Mobil Delvac Booth #18160 in the North Wing during show hours. The concert will be held on-site in Freedom Hall of the Kentucky Exposition Center immediately following the Friday edition of the Mid-America Trucking Show (March 27, 2015). Complimentary tickets will be distributed until they run out, so make sure to grab yours early.
As always, the Raney’s Booth will be there too! We’ll be located in the North Wing in booth 14060 and we’ll have some really awesome truck accessories to show off this year. There will be prizes given out and a United Pacific GLO light giveaway so make sure to stop by our booth early and get in on the action. A big new addition to the booth and setup this year is a really cool new trailer (shown below) so make sure to keep an eye out for it. We’ll also be posting pictures and news from the show on social media, so if you haven’t already, make sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We have before and after pics of the booth, pictures of the show trucks getting prepared and sneak peaks about new products and our giveaways. Make sure to tag your posts with #Raneys and #MATS2015 so we can share them!
The first thing that people notice on most show trucks is a shiny pair of metal stacks. They shine bright in the sun and blast the iconic black diesel smoke of a hard working engine. Over the last decade, customization of semi truck exhaust systems has exploded with tons of length options, materials and top cuts to fit any vision a driver has for their truck. Exhaust is a big investment, but by making an investment in quality, you can have a system that lasts for a long time and that can handle everything the open road has to throw at it.
Traditionally, exhaust stacks are manufactured from raw steel then are plated with nickel or chrome to give them the mirror finish that everyone desires. Now, thanks to new manufacturing technology by Pypes Exhaust, truck owners will also have the option to have a fully stainless 304 steel exhaust stack system. They have kits designed for most makes and models of trucks, such as Freightliner Classics, Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks with stacks as thick as 10″ in diameter. Because they are 304 stainless steel they are resistant to salt, rain and rust and will outlast other exhaust systems. You don’t lose any of the shine and you gain the security that you’ve got an exhaust system that is built to handle the elements. Also, the Pypes Exhaust Systems are based here in America and back by ten years of testing in both the automotive and heavy duty industry.
If you are thinking about upgrading your semi truck’s exhaust system, make sure to contact one of our parts specialists at 1-888-888-7990. They’ll make sure you get exactly what will fit your rig at the right price. Sometimes, careful planning is needed to get just the right fit with your factory setup. We also have a full assortment of y-pipes, clamps and elbows to make just about any configuration work. As always, we love to see our customers rigs so if you’ve got a great looking truck make sure to show us on social media or comment down below.
For everyone who knows a driver, is married to a driver, or has a driver somewhere in their big beautiful family we’ve got you covered for gift ideas this holiday season. Every year we try to publish a list of products that would be a good fit for anyone who lives their life on the road. We understand that, to a trucker, a new set of laser cut floor mats can be leagues better than another itchy sweater and a cheap watch. All of the products featured in this post would make good fits for anyone that owns, operates, or is a fan of big rigs. We’ve also scale model trucks for the collectors and the kids as well as gift certificates for those that can’t make up their mind. Make sure to sign up for our email list by clicking here and follow us on social media for awesome Black Friday deals, Cyber Monday and holiday coupons and deals. We’ve broken the product list down into a hand full of categories, but at the end of the day only you know what’s best for your giftee!
Electronics for Drivers
Blue Tiger Sound Pods – These things are compact, durable and put out some high quality sound! Perfect for a parking lot pow-wow, back yard barbeque or a trip to the lake. They sync with any Bluetooth device or and have a 3.5mm headset port allowing you to bring the music wherever you go.
Rand McNally IntelliRoute GPS – The GPS has gone from a luxury to a necessity in a matter of a few years. They are now affordable as every and loaded with tons of features to make driver’s lives easier. There are both generic GPS units for any vehicle and units specific for truck drivers that have things such as redistricted routes, weight limits and scale locations.
Blue Tiger Bluetooth Head Sets – A professional truck driver spends a good amount of time on his phone and a hands-free headset makes this possible, even while on the road. Blue Tiger head sets combine value and quality and make a great gift for any driver that wants to have both hands on the wheel.
Dual Dash Cam by Blue Tiger – One of the best ways to avoid insurance nightmares and protect your assets is to have a high quality dash cam installed in your vehicle. With the dual cam you can record two separate feeds at once to maximize your vehicle’s protection.
Semi Truck Accessories
Minimizer Floor Mats – These laser cut to fit, high quality floor mats are the perfect addition to any truck’s interior, especially ones that takes a beating. These floor mats were designed from the ground up by the Minimizer engineering team to handle even the dirtiest boots and harshest conditions. Sometimes you take the elements back into the cab with you and these mats make cleanup easy and keep your cab’s floors safe from moisture, grime and gravel. They are available for most makes and models of truck and make a great gift for a driver who values their truck.
Hornblaster Bullet Full Train Horn Kit – Sometimes you gotta make a lotta noise and there is no better way to do it than with a Hornblaster Kit. If you’ve ever wanted to install a train horn on your vehicle, or know someone that does, this is the kit to start with. It comes with everything you will need to set it up including: 18 feet of both 12 & 18 gauge wire, an inline fuse holder, a toggle switch & relay, and the necessary electrical terminals. It makes a perfect gift because there is no running back and forth to the hardware store.
Diamond Plated Foot Pedals – When you’ve got to lay the hammer down it’s always nice to know you’ve got quality underneath your boots. Any driver will appreciate his product and the manufacturer’s commitment to quality. These diamond plated pedals are a great accessory to add that little bit of flair while also increasing pedal weight and traction. These pedals are made to fit the Peterbilt 379, 386, 388 and 389 but we’ve also them for Kenworth and Freightliner trucks so don’t miss out on this great gift opportunity.
We realize that not everyone owns a truck so here are some gifts that just about anyone can enjoy.
Scale Model Trucks – The Kenworth logging truck below is just one of the many scale model trucks available as gifts this holiday season. They make an awesome gift for both collectors and children who want to grow up to own and operate a big rig truck. There are 1/32 scale, 1/50, 1/87 and more for just about any sized stocking!
A new Hammer Lane Apparel Shirt – Hammer Lane is a new brand of shirts for people who live life on the road. They have styles for men, women and children and would make a great addition to any stocking. Orders over $75 this season have free shipping.
A Raney’s Gift Certificate - Sometimes the best gift is letting someone choose their own! When it comes to customizing your vehicle, it is easy to change your mind. With a gift certificate it gives your loved one the opportunity to hold out until they can make the perfect purchase to complete their dream truck.
If this list has been helpful make sure to share it! Or, if you’ve seen other great deals out there on the internet you think truckers will appreciate, share them in the comments below. If you are still strapped for ideas check out last years list of products by clicking here.
It’s not everyday you run across a tee shirt that really makes you stop and think.
Usually tee shirts are something we end up with after a truck show, concert or sporting event. They might get quickly worn out or not be the best quality, but they remind you of something special that you experienced with friends and family, hence the phrase: “Been there, got the tee shirt.” For people who live life on the road, whether it be as a truck driver, biker or soldier, tee shirts can pile up quickly as you experience the world and all it has to offer. Sometimes though, you want more from your clothes. They can say a lot about you and the people you represent like the infamous skull-laden jackets of the Hell’s Angels or the iconic denim jacket of James Dean.
Hammer Lane Apparel is a new brand of tee shirts that sets out to break the mold of the throw-away tee shirt and deliver iconic quality and comfort, creating a message and meaning that will leave them being your new favorite tee shirts. Hammer Lane started with the idea that people who live life on the road need a brand that represents them. The Hammer Lane is slang for the left lane: The lane you take when you need to get to your destination fast with the pedal down. The shirt’s designs reflect this idea displaying vintage shots of big rigs and stylized pictures of the tools of the road. The initial line of shirts has eight unique designs to choose from and Hammer Lane has confirmed a slew of other shirts to be released over the coming months. Their website, HammerLaneUSA.com will have updates and information about all of their apparel as well as an easy way to order. You’ll also find Hammer Lane at events all across the country reaching out to the people that make their business possible. If you enjoy social media, Hammer Lane has you covered too. Following them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram is a great way to hear about new designs and specials, and capitalize on giveaways and promotions. Who doesn’t like cool pictures and free stuff?
Here are two of the featured release shirts from Hammer Lane Apparel:
Old School was inspired by the classic Kenworth W900A and the tradition of preservation in the trucking industry. There aren’t many things in the world that get used every day and still last for decades other than an American made diesel-powered truck.
It all started with a logo. The hardest working people hammer away at life, day in and day out. The Hammer Lane original is where it all begins, leaving the future as wide as the open road.
To purchase, or for more information on the creation of the shirts make sure to click the images.
In manufacturing and technology, once a good idea takes hold, there is little the market can do to stop it. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems better known as TPMS started popping up in the 1980′s as a performance feature for high end sports cars. They improved safety ratings by helping the driver know when and where his tires were low on pressure by using sensors mounted along the inside of the rims. Because they were built to the individual vehicles specifications they were an accurate and reliable method of checking the tire pressure. Finding a TPMS system for trucks became difficult because factors like tire, wheels sizes, frame-rail composition and trailer brand could all vary from tractor to tractor.
As part of the TREAD Act passed in 2005, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems with a light indicator became required on all vehicles with a gross weight under 10,000 pounds (Source). Policy makers and manufacturers realized how important it is for the driver to know the current levels of pressure of his or her vehicle. Though there isn’t a similar law in place for Class 8 vehicles yet, it is still a very good idea to install a form of tire monitoring in your vehicle to reduce the time from having to do a manual inspection, even though a supplemental, daily manual inspection is generally a good idea. In general, TPMS systems for heavy duty trucks involve individual sensors for each tire on the vehicle feeding into an onboard monitor within the cab of the vehicle. Some systems have the figures on the tires themselves and involve checking them by hand.
The HawksHead system of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems allows for a hook and drop method of installation. This let’s fleet owners quickly switch the monitors between trailers. The HawksHead system also can register multiple tractors or trailers to the same monitor with an easy system to switch between vehicles.
Some of the direct benefits of running a TPMS system on your truck or fleet of trucks are:
- Increased fuel efficiency as a result of proper inflation levels
- Less dangerous and costly blowouts
- Accumulate data on which trailers and tractors go through tires faster to see if adjustments can be made
- Less time in the shop and less time manually checking inflation levels
Best practices on Tire Maintenance by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Associations and some facts related to tire maintenance.
- About seven percent of all tires are under-inflated by 20 psi or more. Just 44.15% of all tires stay near ±5 psi of their optimal pressure.
- For-hire carriers generally have a better track record than commercial fleets in tire maintenance.
- Tire related maintenance is the greatest annual expense in commercial vehicles.
- Tractors with mismatched dual tires are at a special risk for varying pressures. Approximately 20% of all vehicles with tires that differ in pressure by more than 5 PSI.
If you have any questions about purchasing a system for your vehicle or fleet make sure to call our parts specialists. They can assist with any project you have in mind regarding your rig.
As winter fast approaches so does the need to stock up on winter supplies. The anti-freeze is stocked in the garage, the snow boots are brought down from the attic and the snow chains are on the pick-up. What you can’t forget to do is make sure you’ve got a premium winter front installed on your big rig because even if everything is accounted for at the house you’ve still got to get back out on the road and keep earning. Winterfronts are one of the best products for getting the most out of your semi truck during the winter. They insulate the hood and help heat up the cabin fast so you don’t spend any time freezing after you’ve buckled yourself in. They also keep the engine from running too cold and allowing fuel to accumulate in the oil and needing to flash it off. It can also help protect the radiator from damage.
We realize it’s important to plan ahead, especially in an industry where time is everything, so we’ve started running a great promotion on our winter fronts this month. We’ve got fronts to match most makes and models of trucks and we ship them fast to meet your business’s demands. Don’t wait till you’re freezing your mitts off on a cold December morning and click the banner to start shopping today. The deals last until March but winter won’t wait for anybody.
Truck driver appreciation week is wrapping up for 2014 and we at Raney’s want to make sure everyone out there that operates a truck knows how much we value what they do for this country and how we want to make it our goal to deliver only the best products and service to our customers. The above coupon is good through the rest of the week and, as always, make sure to look for other deals and discounts featured in our email blasts and on social media. Our “What the Truck?” competition is also continuing through the 26th so make sure to submit your picture soon! Details can be found here.
Every year, the trucking industry dedicates a week to drivers and to honoring the hard work they do while on the road. News outlets, forums, blogs and business organizations spanning the political spectrum all take the week to thank the drivers who make America great. The ATA (American Trucking Association) reports hosting their first truck driver appreciation week in 1998 and now just about every group has some form of appreciation or “thank you” posted to their websites, in their magazines or with social media. Some groups also use the week as a time to raise money for good causes. Landline Magazine reported having an influx of donations for a charitable organization they work closely with, the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund. Part of what makes the trucking industry, and truck drivers, great is the ability to band together and help those in need. Trucker’s Against Trafficking is helping to combat the epidemic of human trafficking by bringing awareness to the industry and supporting victims of the crime.
People tend to see truck driving as just a job but during weeks like this it is so clear that truck driving is a way of life. You meet tons of people on the road, see the country in a way many people don’t get to and forgo the luxuries of a desk job to keep this country moving. In our humble opinion, driver appreciation shouldn’t be confined to just a month. The world needs to realize that if you bought it, a truck brought it.
It is very easy to tell if a product is good or bad if you use it all day, everyday. A seat needs to be comfy, cushioned and adjustable to your size. Even the slightest imperfection can nag at you as you finish up a long day’s haul. A chip or imperfection in the grip of a steering wheel can cause your hands to slip and distract you. Even static in your headset or a low volume output on your phone can be extremely annoying, forcing you to repeat yourself or ask someone to repeat themselves over and over. Having quality equipment is paramount to having a stress-free and enjoyable work environment and for drivers, that means a lot of different things. This article will focus on the constantly evolving blue-tooth headsets and how picking the correct one can make your work life so much easier. Having your hands free to shift and steer is required so drivers need headsets that give the best sound quality without being too large or distracting. Bluetooth headsets are a great way to continue doing business while on the road and hopefully this article can shed some light on them.
A few things to know when picking a headset – Am I picking a DOT approved headset? Some headsets are too bulky or do not meet individual states qualifications for wear while operating a motor vehicle. All of our single ear headsets meet DOT requirements. What is Bluetooth and how do I use it? Bluetooth is a wireless technology that lets you quickly connect devices to one another. The idea is to connect your cellular device to your headset to free up your hands for vehicle or heavy machinery operation. Bluetooth devices tend to stay charged for a very long time and don’t require much maintenance or technological know how.
Below are some of the most popular models of Bluetooth Headsets for drivers and anyone else who needs to communicate on the go:
The Blue Parrot Express is the brand’s sleek, smaller headset perfect for anyone that needs maximum mobility. Some of the key features of the headset include:
- Sound cancelling technology, perfect for the cab of an 18 wheeler.
- A highly encrypted signal so your conversations are never monitored or stolen.
- Ultra-lightweight design (0.06 oz)
- 7 hours of talk time without charging
The Blue Parrot B250-XT is the brand’s most popular headset and the flagship design of the brand. Here are some features:
- Lighted alert system on the side so you can know when your headset is active
- Flexible noise-cancelling microphone for crisp conversations
- Voice recognition so there won’t be added, unnecessary feedback on your calls
- Over 20 hours of talk time with a 66 foot talk range (from the cellular source)
- Voice alert system for low battery, being out of range and when pairing the device
- Accommodates most hearing aids
Blue Tiger headsets are a premium product with exceptional sound quality and components. The Elite Wireless Headset, pictured above, is a great representation of the brand’s dedication to only putting out the best headsets on the market. Some key features of the Elite are:
- Elite noise cancellation
- 34 hours Of Talk Time
- The speaker is louder and clearer than its contemporaries and has a wide dynamic audio range
- The quality padding and contoured fit of the headset make sure you don’t spend time having to adjust it
- A2DP to use with GPS, Music Players, Laptops, & Other Bluetooth Devices
- Includes DC (Vehicle) and AC (Home) Adapter Charging Cord
One of Blue Tiger’s other premium headsets is the Pro Wireless Headset. This is is a leaner, lighter version of the elite but still has many of the great features.
If you are interested in learning more about the headsets make sure to click the images. There are more images, technical specifications, installation instructions and ordering information on the product pages. And, as always, feel free to call any of our parts specialists for help.
The Great American Truck Show marks the midway point of the truck show season and of the long Texas summer. Every year people flock to Dallas Convention Center to see some of the industries newest products, equipment and trucks as well as the culmination of the Pride and Polish trucks show events where the best looking truck in America is crowned. This year is no different, with the biggest truck builders and aficionados in the business displaying their newest creations. Some of the show trucks are even 2015 models such as K&S Snow’s Peterbilt 389 with a Cummins ISX550. You’re guaranteed to see something new each year and many of the truck designers are committed to changing the game every time they hit the drawing board.
For purchasing managers, small businesses and owner operators there is also plenty to do outside of the Pride and Polish events. They’ll have guest speakers, such as Trucking Radio host Kevin Rutherford, to discuss business opportunities with Overdrive Magazine as well as giveaways and educational seminars to help you improve how you do business. All of this information is available here on the Great American Truck Show Website. These seminars can be a great way to ask questions and have discussions with other people in the industry. It can also be a great way to meet other drivers and businesses that can be beneficial in helping you achieve your personal goals. Some of the subjects covered are: Common hazardous material violations, CSA pre and post trip inspections, how to prepare for a safety audit, updates on medical certificates for your CDL license, hours of service regulations and laws and how natural gas is changing the industry.
After (or before) you decide to check out all of these great options, make sure to visit us in our booth and see some of our great new products. We’ll be featuring some of our coolest new locking gas caps, LEDs and t-shirts as well as our LED light giveaway featured in the image below.
We love to see our existing customers at shows and meet new ones as well so make sure to stop by.
The diesel engine is a constantly evolving machine. Since its inception in the late 18th century it has changed countless times to better suit the needs of industry. Diesel engines have the highest thermal efficiency of most standard internal and external motors and can last for decades with proper maintenance and care. To understand the heavy trucks of today it’s important to know how the diesel engine evolved from stationary industrial applications to the efficient motor that drives today’s economy. Knowing the history will also help predict where diesel engines will be in the future and the overall direction of the industry. In the early stages of the diesel engine’s development, power was the main metric for success. It isn’t until recently that fuel efficiency and emissions have become a serious issue. Many of the first engines emitted large amounts of harmful chemicals into the environment and, when multiplied by tens of thousands of trucks, the impact was severe. Many states, such as California, are pushing for more and more efficient engines with less and less emissions. California publishes their compliance guides and regulations here on there website but sometimes locating this information from state to state can be difficult. If you own a truck or fleet of trucks make sure you are up to date with your state’s current requirements.
The history of the diesel engine starts with it’s namesake, Rudolf Diesel. In 1885 Diesel began construction of the first prototype of the engine in Paris, France. At the time, steam power was the predominant source of locomotion and had Diesel not shown his engine’s merits we might be driving giant, steam-powered big rigs. Diesel’s engine, after a few years of modifications, showed a 26.2% rate of efficiency blowing out the current steam engine’s of 10% (Source.) From there, the engine quickly made its way into industrial equipment and locomotives and in 1923 companies MAN and Benz created the first truck with a pre-chamber diesel engine. Injection engines and two stroke engines quickly followed and by 1938 GM had formed what is now known as Detroit Diesel and Caterpillar had started making diesel engines for their tractors.
Fun Fact: In 1932 the strongest diesel truck in the world operated at 160 horsepower. It would be hard to get anything done with that today!
In 1956 the Federal Aid Highway Act was passed allowing construction of today’s interstate system of commerce. The interstate system allowed for large, powerful trucks to be manufactured and utilized, greatly increasing the efficiency at which goods were distributed throughout the country. The interstate system was loosely based on the German autobahn and serves many purposes other than the transport of freight and passenger vehicles. In a time of war the interstate can even act as a landing strip for military planes. During the sixties and seventies turbo-diesels ruled the road and gas-guzzling semis were the norm. It wasn’t until the price of gas began to skyrocket and after the Environmental Protection Agency’s formation and subsequent rise to authority that stricter fuel and emissions regulations began to form.
Fun Fact: Double digit interstate roads are considered “primary” routes and triple digit roads are considered “auxiliary roads”. So if you are on a triple digit interstate road you are probably going around something important.
Now, in the age of electronics and four dollar gallons of gasoline, efficiency is taking precedent over power. With today’s manufacturing technology, engines can be tremendously powerful while still minimizing emissions and fuel consumption. We covered, in an earlier article, how a Cummins engine was able to maintain a 13.4 MPG average in a revenue producing trip pushing the limits of fuel efficiency. Comparing this to the 1970′s Peterbilt 359 averaging under 5 MPG it is a tremendous gain in cost savings and environmental impact. Certain baseline requirements are set by the government, such as DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) boxes, but for the most part, a truck owner’s fuel consumption is largely dependent on the management and purchasing decisions they make. Programs like MyGauges.com allow you to monitor a truck or fleet of truck’s performance digitally and electronic on board recorders (EOBRs) can track engine temperatures, mileage and malfunctions and owners can use this information to fine tune their truck’s engines. The diesel engine has become a sophisticated machine that takes feedback from all parts of the vehicle. As we move towards the future in the commercial trucking industry, engines will continue to adapt to the needs of the market. Truckers will continue to try and push the diesel engine further and further, getting every last bit of horsepower and piston stroke they can from these wonderful machines.