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Baltimore Still Prohibiting Conventions, Forcing American Towman to Postpone Expo to 2021

The Road Calls

PURCHASING

The Trailer A Primer 101

Understanding a Trailer’s Load Capacity

Androids Walk

AT Expo Aisles

You Won’t Be There, They Will

TowIndustryWeek.com

OCTOBER 2020 AmericanTowman.com

$10


Contents

Cover Feature

Volume 44 Issue 10

October 2020 44

Androids Walk AT EXPO Aisles

Departments 6

The Walkaround

8

News Share

12

Tow Manager

34

Ad Index

36

Road Tools - Trailers

38

Tow Engineer

68

Tow Boss

72

Repo Run

78

Towman’s Market

Thinking of Moving into the Trailer World?

80

My Baby

82

Lowdown

84

Work Horse

by Paul Stephens

90

Adventures of A.T.

Imagine you’ve sent your proxy-android to the Exposition where humans are not permitted. by Steve Calitri

Features

18

A primer on preparing to purchase your first, or next, trailer.

24

Between the Road and the Load Understanding a trailer’s load capacity, the long and the short of it. by Troy Geisler

62

Tanker in the Creek

With a Holmes 750, Bruner’s pulls a whopper out of the creek. by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

4 • October 2020 | Towman.com

First on the scene since 1977


The Walkaround Virtual Expectations

Dennie Ortiz Publisher

As we enter into the fall, I along with many others are lamenting the absence of what we have come to expect in this season: regular school year for children, regular work schedule for parents and for many towers the annual tradition of attending the American Towman Exposition. It is not just towers but the suppliers as well that look forward every year to the largest event in the towing industry. The American Towman Expositions unfortunately have been one of many sacrifices that we’ve made due to the pandemic. In lieu of our in-person, face-to-face events, we have created an experience which would allow towing business owners to still benefit from a very important aspect of a trade show. Tow bosses typically walk the show floor searching for companies whose products and services will better their businesses. Virtual Aisle at VirtualTowShow.com features not just exhibitors that you would have encountered in Baltimore this year but also vendors from our other three trade shows in Las Vegas, Cleveland and San Antonio. This unique combination of all vendors will allow for towers that may have only been able to venture to one venue to now virtually visit suppliers from all of the four shows. When you visit the Virtual Aisle, you may do so at your own speed and on your own time schedule, offering a unique aspect to this year’s new normal for expositions. In the spirit of ‘playing the hand that you’re dealt’ we have included a section in this issue to learn more about the vendors within the trade shows we are all missing. Here you will find many different products, equipment and services from these premium suppliers that can give you ideas and tools to help your business grow. Of course we will miss all the people and personal interactions that the trade shows bring, though in keeping with a positive mindset, this longing will make next year’s shows that much more memorable exciting and imperative to attend. For those who have yet to experience an American Towman show this will provide a small glimpse into the trade show world we deliver throughout the country. In quoting a friend and tower from the midwest about this year’s travails ... “We are missing so much of everything, aren’t we? I guess seeing you and all the others in the T & R industry is what I miss most.” So while right now we are forced to walk this walk be sure to visit Virtual Aisle at VirtualTowShow.com to get a peek of the shows that were to be and perhaps a feeling of nostalgia as you travel down the American Towman Expo’s well known roadway.

6 • October 2020 | Towman.com

Dennie Ortiz Steve Calitri Brendan Dooley Randall Resch Terry Abejuela Jim “Buck” Sorrenti David Kolman Bill Simmons Mark Lacek Brian Riker

Publisher Editor-In-Chief Editor Operations Editor Field Editor, West Field Editor, Northeast Chassis Editor Safety Editor Repo Run Editor Contributing Editor

Editorial Board Tommy Anderson Roy Carlson Debbie Collins Belinda Harris Bill Johnson Ron Mislan Kurt Wilson

Dallas, Texas Saint Paul, Minn. Las Vegas, Nev. Greensboro, N.C. South Hadley, Mass. Warren, N.J. Creve Coeur, Ill.

American Towman Staff Page Layout Artist Advertising Sales Mgr. Senior Account Exec. VP of Accounts Customer Service Subscription Manager Regional Advertising Sales iMarketing Manager ATTV Producer President

Gina Johnson Dennie Ortiz Ellen Rosengart Norma Calitri Henri Calitri Patrice Gesner Peggy Calabrese Ryan Oser Emily Oz Steve Calitri

American Towman Media Headquarters 2 Overlook Drive, Suite 5, Warwick, NY 10990 800-732-3869 or 845-986-4546

E-Mail: Publisher Editor-In-Chief AT’S Digital Edition AT’S Website AT’S Weekly ATTV

dortiz@towman.com scalitri@towman.com itowman.com americantowman.com towindustryweek.com americantowmantv.com

Copyright ©2020 American Towman Magazine is published 12 times a year by American Towman Media, Inc.

Subscription: Single Copy: $10 1 yr: $60 – 2 yrs: $110 International: $75 & $135

All material published through American Towman Media (AT), to include American Towman Magazine, iTowman.com and TowIndustryWeek.com, including advertisements, editorials, articles and all other content is published in good faith. However, AT accepts no liability for any errors or omissions, and does not endorse any companies, products or services that appear. AT does not test or review products submitted for inclusion in its publications. AT does not accept responsibility for the accuracy of content, warranties or claims made or implied by its advertisers. The views expressed are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of AT. The act of mailing or delivering a letter, email or article to AT shall constitute permission to publish that letter or article or any portion thereof. AT reserves the right to edit any and all material submitted. No part of the magazine or websites may be reproduced without prior written consent of AT.


News Share VA Tow Company Suing for $800,000

Wesley Ashe, owner of 3:16 Towing of Hampton, Va., is suing the city for $800,000 for allegedly breaching its contract. In 2015, 3:16 Towing was added to the Hampton Police Division’s oncall rotational list, but this January the company was removed from the list, due to claims of overcharging, which Ashe has denied. Ashe was forced to leave Hampton, selling several trucks while others were repossessed. Taking the city to court, Ashe says he didn’t want to go down this path, but he just felt there was no choice. He said, “When you had a clear path and you never saw it coming, it is really devastating.” https://www.wavy.com/

Man Arrested for Assaulting Repo Company On Tuesday, 67 year old Christopher Denio was arrested by Bennington, Vt. Police after he allegedly threatened an employee of an auto repossession company with a rifle and shot out two tires of a company tow truck. According to police dispatch, the repo men from Location Services, of Burnt Hills, N.Y. claimed that Denio tried to drive an SUV off the lift. Soon after, he obtained a rifle from a residence. When he returned, they stated that the barrel of the rifle was making contact with the driver side window while they were sitting inside the wrecker. Denio then shot the driver side tire and passenger side tire, deflating each, telling the victims to “drop the SUV or I’ll shoot you.” Denio was released on court-ordered conditions to appear in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division to answer to charges of aggravated assault with deadly weapon, criminal threatening, unlawful mischief; reckless endangerment; persons prohibited from possessing firearms, and aiming a gun at another person. https://www.benningtonbanner.com/

8 • October 2020 | Towman.com

Fire Chief Awards

Towman Medal of Honor

Tow truck driver Derrick Hamilton of Aber’s Towing was honored in Ashland, Ohio for his heroic acts in helping to save the lives of 3 people. He was awarded the Ashland Division of Fire’s Civilian Medal of Honor. His actions took place on July 29th when a tractor-trailer slammed into a moving vehicle carrying seven occupants. Both cascaded off the road as the tractor trailer became lodged on top of the vehicle. Four of the passengers were killed. According to Ashland Fire Chief Rick Anderson, Hamilton found a way to get the tow truck in a tight space between trees so that the tractor trailer could be lifted from the vehicle. Hamilton said, “He truly was the one, the pivotal person. His work let the guys

Derrick Hamilton receives Civilian Medal of Honor

get in and do their job and do it safely.” In response, Hamilton stated, “I was going to do whatever I had to do to get something done. “ https://fox8.com/

The family of Tristan Cother

Towers Gather in Memory of Tristan Cother

Towers gathered on Friday, August 28, in a funeral procession for 22 yearold Tristen Cother, who was killed on August 20th in Kyle, Tx. when the tow truck he was driving was struck by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 35, killing him on impact. Cother was a tow operator who worked for the family business, The Wrecker Man.

In honor of Tristen, thin yellow line flags representing tow truck drivers, loss prevention personnel and security officers blew in the wind at his memorial service at Oakwood Church. The flags are displayed by truckers in support of the move-over law. Source: http://herald-zeitung.com/


News Share Woman Sentenced in Hit and Run of Tower

Emily Lowe, who struck a tow truck driver in Woonsocket, RI in 2019, was sentenced to 90 days at an Adult Correctional Institution and another 21 months in home confinement. She was charged for leaving the scene of an accident. The accident seriously injured tow truck driver Kenneth Young, who was hit from behind while loading a disabled vehicle on his flatbed around 2:30 a.m. Lowe’s car was found at a nearby McDonald’s restaurant with its front end severely damaged. Police tied the registered vehicle to Lowe, using DNA evidence. A witness also corroborated that Lowe was driving the vehicle, giving her a ride home on the night of the crash. In addition to the sentence, Lowe will lose her license for one year and complete 100 hours of community service. Source: https://www.providencejournal.com/

Florida Tow Co Pay Back Servicemen

ASAP Towing and Storage of Jacksonville, Fl., has agreed to pay back servicemen for vehicles they illegally towed and auctioned off from 2013 to 2020. After prosecutors from the U.S. Justice Dept. showed that ASAP violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, the company agreed to pay a $20,000 fine and pay up to $99,500 to compensate the service members whose vehicles were sold while they were away. In one case, Lt. Zane Berry, a Navy Lieutenant, said that in 2018 his car was towed from his apartment complex for having a flat tire while he was deployed. Berry said, the company stated, “We sold it because you never responded and we’re allowed to do that.” Vince Serrano, who is the co-owner of ASAP towing, said the company didn’t knowingly sell a running vehicle that belonged to military members. He said, “The process to identify an owner being in the military is not as easy as it sounds. We get a name when we run the vin #. We don’t get social security #’s, or some states don’t show drivers license #. We go through the vehicle and attempt to identify if owner is military or not. Our process has been updated and we have created a training program so that each employee will check for any possibility that owner is in the military.” https://www.news4jax.com/

10 • October 2020 | Towman.com

Towers in Kansas City honoring the memory of Blake Gresham

Tow Trucks

Light up the Sky

Tow Trucks throughout Kansas City’s metropolitan area once again came out in full force on August 27 to honor the memory of tower Blake Gresham and to raise awareness of Missouri’s Move Over Law. Gresham was only 18 when he was struck and killed by a driver in 2012 while helping a motorist. A yearly event - friends, family and fellow drivers turn their lights on to create a stunning display of lights.

Since his death, the family has established a non-profit called ‘Mover Over for Blake’ and have fought to pass legislation that includes tow truck drivers in the move over law. Blake’s mother said the goal of the event was to raise awareness. She said, “People stop while driving by and seeing it and they ask questions. It just brings attention to it and helps everybody in the long run.” https://fox4kc.com/

Tow Company Returns $32K Found in Car A tow truck company in Ephrata, Pa., returned over $32,000 of cash that was found in a totaled vehicle. Mark Steffy, the owner of Steffy’s Towing, said he found the wet and moldy money while he was preparing to scrap the car that they had received from another company. His wife Alicia added that they hadn’t searched it earlier because they don’t go into a car until the salvage process is complete and “the state actually declares the car and its contents ours.” That way, she said, if the owner turns up during the process, “they’ll find everything in their car exactly the way they left it.”

Mark and Alicia Steffy

The owner of the car, which was totaled in October, said he reported the money missing in April, after searching the car himself and only finding his wife’s empty purse. Source: https://lancasteronline


Tow Manager

Making the Most from Unclaimed Vehicles in Your Lot By Brian J Riker

Brian J. Riker is a third-generation towman, with 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator, and president of Fleet Compliance Solutions. He specializes in helping navigate the complex world of federal and state transportation regulatory compliance. He can be reached at brian.riker@fleetcompliancesolutions.net

D

isclaimer, this is not legal advice. Not every state will allow the remedies suggested in this article. Please check with your state towing association and legal council familiar with the vehicle storage and disposal regulations in your area. It is important to note that several states do not allow a warehouseman to profit from the disposal of abandoned property. If this is how your state works you may be required to return any proceeds above your invoice and reasonable costs incurred to the vehicle owner or law enforcement agency that initiated the tow. If your towing operation does any work for law enforcement or parking enforcement chances are you have a bunch of unclaimed vehicles taking up valuable real estate inside your storage lot. In most cases it doesn’t have to be this way. How often do you look at the inventory in your lot and ask yourself what to do with these vehicles? When I had my lot some

12 • October 2020 | Towman.com

of the unclaimed units had been sitting long enough I couldn’t remember when they came in. This realization sparked wholesale change to how I manage unclaimed or abandoned vehicles. Before you can dispose of a vehicle you must know a few things with the most important being when did it arrive and from what source? Law enforcement initiated storage may need to be handled differently than PPI or a consent tow that later was abandoned in your lot. The best way to manage this information reliability is with a good dispatch software program that automatically captures most, if not all, of these data points when the call is received. The best of these programs will even automatically generate alerts to remind your administrative staff to create and send notices or complete other required paperwork to streamline the disposal process. A defined and managed process is a must for the modern tow storage lot.


We can no longer just drop a car out back and then hope to remember the details days or weeks later when the customer or their agent comes looking for the vehicle. A good dispatch software will have a storage lot component built in just as it will the notification and reminder processes. A well-managed storage program will allow anyone in the office to know how many vehicles are in which lot, how long they have been there, their general condition and any special release conditions such as a police hold. Your lot management program should be able to tie a specific vehicle to the tow ticket, invoice the driver with a click of a button, as well as help you identify the vehicle when someone goes out back to find it. I highly recommend marking all vehicles as they come into the lot with a unique number such as the tow ticket, call or invoice number as well as the date and driver that dropped it. This makes for a good backup system should the software fail or a vehicle is inputted incorrectly into the system. Sometimes turning an unclaimed vehicle into a paid invoice is as simple as notifying the proper person with an interest in the vehicle. Without a good software program and access to the registered owner’s information this is an almost impossible task. These notifications, friendly at first, are the second step in managing your storage lot and a critical step in being able to legally dispose of unclaimed vehicles. Make sure you are sending these notices within the legally required timeframe and by the method prescribed by law in your area. The ability to dispose of unclaimed vehicles relies upon the lien process as permitted by your 14 • October 2020 | Towman.com

state laws. Every state is different although there are general issues that are common among most lien laws. The most important thing to consider when applying for a lien on an unclaimed vehicle is proper notification of interested parties. How many notices must be sent and by what means? What is the process if a notification is returned as undeliverable? What, if any, stays or holds have been put in place in light of COVID-19 regarding debt collection in your state?

proceedings or service members vehicles. Keep in mind that the process of disposing of unclaimed vehicles is a type of debt collection and is subject to several state and federal regulations beyond just the process to obtain a title or permission to scrap a vehicle. Liens and sale or disposal of vehicles as a debt collection process is not something to attempt without help or at least training in the applicable regulations. This is applicable to more than just abandoned and

Sometimes turning an unclaimed vehicle into a paid invoice is as simple as notifying the proper person with an interest in the vehicle. An interested party is anyone with a claim to the vehicle such as the last known registered owner, a financial institution or even a bankruptcy receiver. It is your responsibility as the person storing the vehicle to research the title and notify anyone with an interest in the vehicle within the time frame prescribed by your local laws. Even when your local law enforcement agency does this service for you it is still your ultimate responsibility to ensure all interested parties are properly notified. Without following the exact procedure a tower can find themselves on the wrong side of the law after obtaining title and disposing of an unclaimed vehicle. This happens most often with vehicles that are involved in bankruptcy filings, divorce

PPI tows, even collecting on an accident tow and storage can find you on the wrong side of the law if bankruptcy has been filed by any interested party (common with small trucking companies after a major crash) or you failed to notify everyone legally associated with the property you are attempting to sell or dispose of. Imagine a truck crash with a half dozen interested parties and ask yourself, does my state allow me to sell the contents of the vehicle as part of the lien process or am I liable to store and protect those contents? This is just one of the many questions that may need to be answered to effectively process lien sales. A relationship with an attorney or lien processing service that understands these rules in your


area combined with a good software program with a database search service will make this process a breeze. This will help you process lien notices while meeting the ever-growing list of requirements to protect the vehicle owner and other lien holder’s interests in the unclaimed vehicle. Gone are the days of simply waiting a few months then filing for ownership. There are law firms that specialize in recovering damages from towers that

other method of disposal you still should take the time to determine a fair value for the vehicle and take a few actions to maximize the return you will receive from the auction. Often something as simple as airing up flat tires and hosing the grime off a vehicle that has been sitting for a few months will add hundreds of dollars to the auction price. If you can obtain a set of keys and check that the vehicle runs you may add thousands of dollars to the value.

Without following the exact procedure a tower can find themselves on the wrong side of the law after obtaining title and disposing of an unclaimed vehicle. improperly take ownership of abandoned or unclaimed vehicles, waiting until just before the statue of limitations has run out hoping the tower does not have good documentation of their prep work. This leaves the tower an easy target for a quick settlement in favor of the former owner of the vehicle in question. What is next? After proper notifications have been sent and the prescribed waiting period for a response has elapsed you will then need to make a decision as to the best avenue to dispose of these vehicles while capturing the maximum amount of revenue as possible. This can be tricky, especially in a state that does not allow a tower to use any method other than a public auction to dispose of unclaimed vehicles. Even when you do not have any 16 • October 2020 | Towman.com

The bigger question surrounding auctions is in-house or off-site? With the onset of virtual bidding technologies online auctions have quickly become a formidable competitor to the traditional live on-site auction model we have used for decades. One of my earliest jobs outside the family business was as an operations manager for a large salvage auction where every week I would supervise the lineup of about 300 vehicles, predict what they each would sell for and on sale day interact with the hundred or so live buyers that came to our facility. We rolled out the red carpet providing breakfast and lunch, snacks and coffee -even picking up several of the big players at the airport free of charge. Today that company sells more vehicles at a much higher return without a sole every stepping foot

in the yard on the sale day thanks to technology. Towers can benefit from this as well by partnering with one or more of the large auction houses. With some pictures and a detailed condition report these auction services can market and sell your unclaimed vehicles right where they sit in your lot, which leads to secondary revenue in the form of loading fees or transport fees to deliver the sold units to the buyer. Or perhaps you prefer the old-fashioned offsite model where the vehicles are transported to the auction house. If so, maybe you can get the transport work to move your own inventory to their lot? It usually makes more sense to use a professional auction company rather than try to conduct your own auction unless you sell a large volume of unclaimed vehicles monthly. The benefits of using a professional auction service include stellar marketing of your inventory to just the right potential buyers, auction staff that are intimately familiar with the potential value of special vehicles and experts regarding the title process across the entire nation. Another consideration of online or off-site auctions is the reduced exposure to your company because you no longer are allowing dozens of buyers inside your lot on sale day. The risk of theft or injury are great on sale day as it is impractical to keep a close watch over a large group of buyers during the sale, especially if it is a public sale and the buyers are not accustomed to how a live auction works inside an active tow storage facility. You will find reputable online auction services with Insurance Auto Auctions (live auctions with online bidding an option), TowLot. com (place your unclaimed vehicle


inventory online for scheduled online bidding), Copart Auto Auctions (also 100% online auto auctions), and Joyrideautos.com (online auctions from AutoReturn). Online auctions are free of weather and crowd issues that make auctions in your yards a challenge to manage. Online auctions can also expand your pool of bidders. It never hurts to explore these options. You may even want to use more than one auction method depending on the predicted value and condition of the vehicle you are disposing of. It may be possible to select a few of the best unclaimed vehicles in your lot and offer them for retail sale (depending on your local laws) or donate them to a worthy local charity in exchange for publicity. I have given unclaimed vehicles to employees in the past or even used a few as service loaners for mechanical or collision repair customers. It may even be possible to partially dismantle some of these unclaimed vehicles, although most local ordinances prohibit all but the most basic auto dismantling without a special permit. Many states may even require storm water sampling and monitoring, special fluid containment and storage and many other requirements to operate as a dismantler. Please check with an expert on these regulations before you begin dismantling unclaimed vehicles for parts or scrap value. Although individually the components that make up a vehicle have a higher value, especially items such as catalytic converters, batteries and aluminum components this extra value compared to the “whole car” scrap price may quickly be lost to the additional compliance requirements and labor to legally dismantle the vehicles. My final thought on disposal Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

of unclaimed vehicles from your storage lot is to challenge yourself to think outside the box, look at all angles of the vehicle disposal process and see if there are areas you can improve. Diversification is not just hauling other freight besides cars or offering repair service to compliment your towing services. Diversification includes finding new revenue streams in all areas of our business. After all the old adage is true, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Impound Advertisers Auto Data Direct.... see p. 21 Beacon Software... see p. 75

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AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 17


THE

Trailer World? I

by Paul Stephens

remember my first experience with a trailer purchase. This would be somewhere in the later part of 1988. The decision did not come lightly and having done some research, it made sense to buy one at the time due to price and need. I was continually calling another company near me to transport equipment or to have them haul in a wrecked unit. We decided to look at a traveling axle due to versatility over a lowboy. Each had its benefits, however being able to roll the axles and deliver into a tight spot would be more in our favor with the areas we’re going to use regularly.

Paul Stephens is a towing industry trainer with more than 34 years of towing experience. He has served as a consultant for many automobile manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, and companies for service provider education, towability and road service procedures.

18 • October 2020 | Towman.com

Working with a salesman who understood our needs vs. just trying to sell us a unit was very beneficial as he understood this would either be the first of many units or the only sale he would make to us. Today there are many salesman in the truck and trailer world who are just that, willing to sell you anything to make a dollar with no thought to your needs or application. There are also many who actually care about you, your business, and making sure you get the right piece of equipment for your specific needs and not selling you something you don’t actually need.

Exploring the trailer market can be a bit rough if this is your first time around. There are many type of trailers, with many variations that can make a rookie a bit overwhelmed especially if working with a salesman who does not specialize in a particular type of equipment. The decision to purchase should be based on current need, or anticipated application. The old adage, “I just want one” strategy may not be the best here as buying a lowboy to move buses can be an issue if the deck is not long enough to fit, and even harder to load if the bus doesn’t run.


Trailer Manufacturer Advertisers Kalyn-Siebert ............................. see p. 34 Landoll Corp............................... see p. 41 Talbert Mfg.................................. see p. 76 Trail King..................................... see p. 39 Valor Trailers........................... see p. W 84

Optional Long Power Ramp on Landoll 800CE affords a low load angle of 8.5 degrees for loading a variety of construction equipment and most pavers.

There are specific trailers for specific applications available in today’s market. The more complex and versatile the trailer is the more expensive it will be. Decisions are similar to a truck purchase, your probably not going to buy a light duty tow truck to move semi tractors so buying for your need will help your decision process along with your wallet and/or budget. How much you are willing to spend also needs to equate to return on investment so choose with a budget so you know money is well invested. New model trailers are being built with the towing and transport industry in mind as they have specific purposes, such as bus transport, container hauling, car hauling, the newer lower beds that can be used for higher loads, more axles to spread the weight, the list goes on. We all have wants and needs but looking into the trailer market can add value to your company in areas not explored previously. Low boy or step deck equipment hauling seems to be the starting point with most towing companies. This appears to be an easier area to jump into with equipment moves for construction companies, rental companies, and auctions. These types of trailers allow for multiple load variations and tend to lead into larger loads like supersize, oversized, and heavy specialized loads where having the right equipment, permitting, and escorts can be very lucrative for a diversified company. Having the right trailer and relationship with a customer can be

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 19


Kalyn Siebert VersaMAXX-EXT 50 ton trailer. Available in lengths of 48’-53, 53’-58’ & 58’-63’

a good move for as the customer grows, your business can grow with them in the hauling industry. Smaller companies can excel in this area if the hauling market has space availability. You do not want

many have failed. The work must be lined up before you make the trailer purchase even if there is a known gap in the market space. A deeper dive into the trailer industry shows that auto transport

We all have wants and needs but looking into the trailer market can add value to your company in areas not explored previously. to purchase a trailer hoping to get some work only to find out there is none available. There is always the thought that someone else has the work if you do not know the market. Not exploring a customer can be costly as someone is always willing to take a chance on a new or up and coming company with the right relationship. Know the market when exploring this part of the industry as cheaper is not always better, most of these companies are looking for a competent and punctual company which may come with a premium price. Do not make the mistake of buying a trailer, then looking for the work as many have tried and 20 • October 2020 | Towman.com

trailers also have a large market. If your business is close to car dealers, auctions, and moving companies you may have an abundance of work. If so, then you definitely want to explore this part of the industry. They make units from three car haulers to full tractor trailers. Transporting each car for a price adds up but traveling to multiple locations for pick up and drops can also add to the expenses. Growing this type of trailer transportation takes a bit more work, these units are very common and have large companies competing for the same haul but servicing smaller car businesses and auctions is a good place to start

building the foundation. Researching, understanding, and asking questions can solve a lot of your anxiety when moving into other areas in business. Knowledge of legal requirements and having the right operators can help ease into this part of the transport world. These auto transport trailers, low boys, bus trailers, or sliding axle trailers added to your fleet can build a solid revenue stream for your business and should not be overlooked as this is a wellestablished industry. Talking with owners who have moved into the trailer transport world often speak of their entry point and expansion. They seem to find new ways to increase the usage outside of the mainstream markets. According to Larry Kelly, Operations Manager for Eagle Towing, trailers have helped increase their business and revenue. Larry states “In our particular business, we have multiple tractors as well as trailers in our fleet. These units cover multiple types of tasks both for our hauling division and well as towing.” They use regular flatbed trailers which can accommodate commerce, customer freight, and cargo from accidents. They also utilize step deck trailers with lower deck heights to accommodate larger


Optional Short Power Ramp is available on Landoll 800CE Detachable

loads, these trailers have ramps to load drivable units making them even more versatile. The company is also equipped with a gooseneck style lowboy unit for heavier loads, tall loads, and wider cargo. He also advised the most versatile piece of equipment in the transport division is the sliding axle trailer, echoed by several other

22 • October 2020 | Towman.com

owners. The unit allowing to tilt like a large rollback and equipped with a winch, allows the operator to move a multitude of different types of cargo. The unit will allow vehicles to be driven onto the deck, winched, or side loaded with a forklift. The trailer is also integral in hauling any vehicle that cannot be towed due to accident or fire.

Another company owner looks to use the trailer as much as possible and had made the original purchase to use for heavy accident transport related to insurance companies. Once they made their purchase, a local demolition company started using them. Today that same company has nine sliding axle trailers on the road. The owner advises there have been bumps in the road. The trailers stay booked now and utilizing one for an emergency accident can be a bit tough as most jobs are customer scheduled. They have expanded into the transport world and have seen great growth however they seem to be having the same problems as most companies with expediated growth, like qualified employees and collecting invoices in a reasonable time frame. Transport company owners advise there are many lessons to learn even before the purchase.


Do your research and know the business first! Who will operate the unit, will the unit be driven daily, if so, the power unit needs to be considered as it might not stand up to daily driving, a newer unit might be required? Adhering to a strict maintenance program is a must with trailers due to the constant beating and loads being applied. This can be costly if no formal plan is implemented. The type of trailer you purchase may have many and they say the same thing. Make sure your customer is reliable, stable, and understanding of your need to be paid timely. They advise to explore all opportunity’s when making trailer decisions purchasing a lowboy, well the salvage market is always in need of specialized trailers. These owners will tell you that the transport competition level can be intense just like towing however finding a niche such as a equipment rental company, auction company, salvage facility, auto auction, equipment auction can help keep the unit busy. The more you can keep your trailer on the road the more potential income and customers will come your way. New trailers, refurbished trailers, and used trailers, can be an asset to your company, knowing what part of the business is most profitable in your market is the next step towards growing your cash flow.

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 23


The Long and the Short of It Understanding a Trailer’s Load Capacity If the payload is a 100,000-pound excavator that’s only 13 feet long, a trailer rated for the entire deck length, or even for 16 feet, won’t be right for the load. The ideal trailer will be one rated at half the deck length. These ratings give a more realistic indication of the concentrated loads the trailer will be able to handle safely and without structural failure.

By Troy Geisler

About the Author Troy Geisler is the vice president of sales and marketing for Talbert Manufacturing. He has more than 15 years of experience in trailer sales, including five years with Talbert. Troy earned his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

L

ong before a single load is booked or any wheels turn, someone – usually a fleet manager – needs to determine exactly what is going to separate the road and the load. There’s a lot riding on this decision because, as much as some would like to think otherwise, a trailer is never just a trailer. It can be manufactured to many different specifications, with multiple raw material options, dozens of load and geographical considerations, various top speed requirements and hundreds of possible axle configurations coming into play. And it all comes down to one objective – the ideal trailer for an operation’s specific loads. To select the right trailer, the one that will require the least amount of maintenance, provide the greatest lifespan and deliver the highest possible return on investment, it is vital to understand the most important factor of all – capacity.

24 • October 2020 | Towman.com

50 TONS IN THE MAKING

There are five contributors to capacity ratings. They apply to any kind of open trailer, from flat and step decks to lowbeds, and each can be varied to meet a carrier’s specifications. It begins, of course, with the materials used to build the trailer, specifically their sizes and weights. From there, capacity encompasses the overall weight that a trailer can carry, the area of the deck in which it can carry that weight, the speed at which the trailer will generally travel and the safety factor. To make an apples-to-apples comparison, consider one 50-ton lowbed alongside another 50-ton lowbed. Because, just as a trailer is never just a trailer, not all 50-ton lowbeds are created equal.

LOAD CONCENTRATION: HALF DECK, FULL UTILIZATION

There are more than 50 manufacturers of lowbed heavy-haul trailers in North America, and they apply several


Carriers can vary gooseneck lengths in the front to achieve the proper steer weight and drive axle weight. Carriers also can alter the distances between axles and axle groups to hit max weights and remain in compliance with various state laws.

methods of rating the capacity of their trailers. Since there is no industry-set or governmentmandated system, it’s up to every buyer to be in tune with the method each manufacturer uses before making a purchase decision. A key difference between manufacturers’ ratings comes in load concentration, or the length of the deck that can handle the rated weight. Obviously, a 26-foot, 50ton lowbed can haul 50 tons. But how much of the deck those 50 tons occupy is just as important as the weight itself. Whereas one trailer

26 • October 2020 | Towman.com

might need the entire length of the deck to be rated at 50 tons, another can be rated for 50 tons in a 16-foot span, and another can handle that same weight in half the deck length. For example, a 26-foot, 50-ton lowbed might be rated for the trailer’s entire span with equal weight distribution. In that case, the trailer would need to be hauling materials that run the entire length of the trailer, such as long steel poles, lumber or concrete culvert sections. However, if the payload is a 100,000-pound excavator that’s

only 13 feet long, a trailer rated for the entire deck length, or even for 16 feet, won’t be right for the load. Even though the load is only 50 tons, that trailer will be overloaded because the weight will not span the entire length of the deck; making it too concentrated for the area the excavator covers. For a trailer that’s rated at full deck length or 16 feet to safely handle the excavator, it would likely need to be rated at 55 or 60 tons. So again, using the 13-foot, 100,000-pound excavator as the payload, the ideal trailer will be


one rated at half the deck length. Trailers rated for half the deck length can carry a specified load in just that, half the length of the deck. These ratings give a more realistic indication of the concentrated loads the trailer will be able to handle safely and without structural failure. In addition, manufacturers who build trailers with half-deck ratings often do so

with a two-point rigid load base specifically for the tire spacing, or hot spots, of large equipment and heavy machinery.

LOAD DISTRIBUTION: SCALING OUT

How a load is distributed over the deck and the axles can be just as important as the overall weight rating. However, even though the

trailers will be operating in the United States, the states are not very united when it comes to axle weight laws and regulations. All across the country, the laws and regulations related to weight change from state to state. Companies operating in Indiana deal with one set of laws and regulations, but when they cross the border into Ohio they run into an entirely different set of regulations. Pennsylvania has yet another distinct collection of rules of the road and so on along the truck’s route.

There’s a lot

riding on this decision because, as much as some would like to think otherwise, a

trailer is never just a trailer.

Fleet managers need to be aware of, and plan for, variances between states and regions where their trailers will be used. It’s important to have the proper trailer configuration to make the load distribution work for a fleet’s particular area of operation. Manufacturers bear some responsibility, too, and should work with buyers to define not just the best trailer for the cargo those buyers will be carrying, but also the best axle configurations for maximizing the load in every one of the states they’ll be hauling through. Clearly, it’s impossible to max out a trailer’s capacity in every state, but the goal of most interstate heavy-haul carriers is to get a trailer as close to 28 • October 2020 | Towman.com


the maximum as possible across all the states where the carrier intends to operate. There are many ways to achieve the best possible weight distribution over the axles. It may be as simple as adding a fourth flip axle or as complicated as adding two or three axles and spreading them apart to make sure they can each accept an equal amount of weight from the payload. And there are other possibilities in between depending on the specific state’s regulations and the nature of the load. For example, carriers can vary gooseneck lengths in the front to achieve the proper steer weight and drive axle weight. Carriers also can alter the distances between axles and axle groups to hit max weights and remain in compliance with various state laws. With an East Coast trailer, for example, they can add shims to a rigid spread bar or,

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

if the trailer has a nitro version of a spreader bar, use hydraulics to vary the weight distribution. Yet another way is to move the load closer to one end or the other to properly distribute weight over the axles. And, finally, a carrier can use a jeep dolly to add extra axles, thereby lowering the per-axle weight distribution.

SPEED: HOW SLOW CAN YOU GO?

Another capacity determinant is speed. While some manufacturers rate their trailers at 55 mph, others rate them at 65 mph. The slower a rig travels, the less added weight or stress is placed on the trailer. That’s due to the fact that, while road dynamics such as potholes, railroad tracks and so on still come into play, the impact on the trailer decreases along with the speed. However, sometimes a 55 mph rating is

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 29


not as realistic for a carrier as a 65 mph rating. The key is to purchase trailers that will perform at a fleet’s normal operating speeds.

SAFETY: A CRUCIAL MULTIPLIER

A trailer’s safety rating also comes into play when discussing capacity. Without understanding the safety rating, it’s difficult for a carrier to get a clear, comprehensive picture of true capacity. A safety rating is an indicator of how much stress a trailer can safely handle. It encompasses the strength of the raw materials and components that a manufacturer has put into the trailer’s design and construction, how the beams and cross members are configured and so on. A widely accepted average magnification of payload weight on a trailer due to road dynamics is 1.8 to 1 ratio. When a driver is rolling

down the road, the truck is hitting chuckholes, bouncing over bumps and crossing railroad tracks along the way. On average, the stress placed on a 50-ton-rated trailer by a 50-ton load when the rig hits those bumps, chucks and tracks equals 1.8 times 50 tons, or 90 tons. It’s important to keep in mind that the 1.8 multiplier is only an average. On any given haul, the stress placed on the trailer can go above that level multiple times. If no cushion is built in to the trailer to handle those spikes in stress, there will be more potential for long-term, progressive structural damage. Since there is no universally prescribed level for safety ratings, they vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. They range from a safety factor of 1.8 to 1, which allows for no margin, to an industry high of 2.5 to 1, which is considered

an ample cushion for even the most extreme road dynamics a trailer might encounter. Not only does the safety rating tell a carrier how strong his trailer is, it’s also a very good indicator of potential life. The greater the difference between the static design safety factor, be it 2.5 to 1, 2 to 1 or some other factor, and the dynamic 1.8 average multiplier, the longer one can expect a trailer’s useful life expectancy to be. Most trailer manufacturers do not like to advertise safety ratings, often for good reason. To understand why, it’s helpful first to comprehend what a safety rating is not. A safety rating should never be used to determine how much weight can be added over the capacity rating and still keep the load, the driver and other drivers safe. In other words, a 2.5 to 1 safety rating on a 50-ton lowbed should not be used to justify loading a

For the most capacity and smallest impact on the trailer weight, some manufacturers use a T1 material with 100,000 psi minimum yield. T1 not only has maximum strength versus ductility, but also equates to a lighter, stronger trailer frame over other materials.

30 • October 2020 | Towman.com


Apitong decking provides a tougher, longer lasting wood in comparison to other varieties, such as oak or pine. Tightly woven and incredibly dense, apitong is less susceptible to chipping and cracking and provides some amount of traction in comparison to a smooth metal surface.

trailer with 125 tons of cargo. Just as the deck rating indicates, that trailer can safely handle a 50-ton payload under dynamic conditions.

MATERIALS: THE SUM OF THE PARTS

Safety factors are strongly related to the quality of the components incorporated into the trailer, and that gets down to the nitty-gritty of the steel and the deck material. Manufacturers have several options when choosing steel. For the most capacity and smallest impact on the trailer weight, some manufacturers use a T1 material with 100,000 psi minimum yield. T1 not only has maximum strength versus ductility, but also equates to a lighter, stronger trailer frame over other materials. A trailer’s decking is continually exposed to the elements, making durable decking with a long wear life also crucial. Apitong decking provides a tougher, longer lasting wood in comparison to other varieties, such as oak or pine. Tightly woven and incredibly dense, apitong is less susceptible to chipping 32 • October 2020 | Towman.com

and cracking and provides some amount of traction in comparison to a smooth metal surface.

OVERLOAD AT YOUR OWN – AND OTHERS’ – RISK Sometimes trailer owners or operators don’t completely understand the capacity rating and mistakenly put more weight on the trailer than it is built to handle, or more weight in a concentrated area than it can handle. Overloading a trailer once is not likely to make it break. Overloading it twice probably won’t either. But do it consistently over time and eventually it will likely fail. When a trailer breaks, the manufacturer hears about it. But often the complaint will be that a 50-ton trailer broke when it was hauling less than a full payload. For example, a 50-ton trailer might break when it’s only hauling a 40ton payload. The reason is not in that 40-ton load, but the number of times the trailer previously was overloaded and by how much each overload exceeded the yield strength of the trailer’s loadbearing beams and cross members. Yield strength refers to the

amount of stress that the steel can withstand and still return to its original shape when unloaded. The first time a trailer is overloaded, the steel will return to something close to the shape it was in when it came off of the manufacturing line, but not exactly to that original shape. Each time it’s overloaded, the steel will return to something less than the shape it was in the time before. Eventually, the steel, and therefore the trailer, will break. So in our example, even though the trailer only carried a 40-ton payload, it is likely that it had been overloaded to some extent at one or more points in its past. That’s when the damage was done, and that is what ultimately caused the failure. The steel got weaker and weaker and, on the day the trailer failed, it happened to be rolling with 40 tons on the deck.

HELP TO BE HAD

It can be tempting to look at a trailer’s capacity rating and stop there. But for a true sense of how much a trailer can handle and how it will hold up under the stresses of a specific operation, with its individualized loads, geographies, weights and other variables, fleet managers need to consider everything that goes into that rating. Purchasing the right trailers for updating a fleet can be complicated and, clearly, the decision is an important one. But there is help available. Many manufacturers have sales people who know capacity from top to bottom and can help fleet managers select exactly the right trailer with the optimal combination of load concentration, load distribution, speed and safety rating for specific applications and load types. And having that knowledge about each specification will help ensure an investment that leads to a long, smooth ride.


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34 • October 2020 | Towman.com

October 2020

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Road Tools - Trailers

Landoll’s New Trailer for Heavy Hauls

Landoll Corporation announced an all-new non-ground bearing detachable trailer designed for heavy hauls. The 860-CE Construction Detachable trailers’ standard features include 120,000 lb. capacity within 14 feet, 102” wide, hydraulic quick couplers, Grote wiring harness and LED lighting. The trailer has full air with spring brakes on three axles and ABS 4S/2M sensors. The gooseneck features a patented design with seven ride heights to choose from. The operator can lower the deck to within a few inches of the ground and fully operate the trailer with 6.5” of loaded ground clearance. The Model 860-CE comes standard with three axles and provisions for an optional fourth axle flip or add a single axle nitrogen stinger. The Model 860 CE has a heavy-duty neck that comes with dual king pin setting at 90” & 108” and provisions for an optional 36” flip extension. Take this trailer configuration up to an eight-axle combination and gross 160,000 lbs. in some states. Landoll standard equipment includes zinc-rich powder primer, powder coat paint finish, and centralized grease system. Landoll trailers are covered with a 5-year Limited Warranty package.

Trail King Sliding Axle

Trail King’s 2020 update to the Sliding Axle includes features and options customers want and need. Trail King says the TKSA is now the fastest (61 seconds) sliding axle available, with added more corrosion resistance, simplified maintenance, and 100% remote control of the unit. Engineered for speed, the Trail King Hydraulic Sliding Axle is not only fast, but easy to use.

Kentucky Trailers Enclosed Transport Trailers

Kentucky enclosed transport trailers can protect and secure your highly valuable vehicles as they move to their destination. Kentucky Trailer builds enclosed auto transporters for Automobile, Motorcycle, and Vehicle Transport Trailers.

Trail-Eze TE100DGB

The biggest selling point on this trailer is the 22” loaded deck height. The model is a TE100DGBUS but the bus portion is deceiving. “We have numerous clients that haul firetrucks, garbage trucks, semis, etc. These trailers can be loaded from the front or rear to make loading easier. I have a client here in Jersey who is in the tow recovery business and he uses the TE100DGBUS all the time. Very rarely uses it for hauling buses.” — Charlie Cohen, Battelini Wrecker & Trailer Sales

36 • October 2020 | Towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 37


Tow Engineer

Lockout Service by Terry Abejuela

Field Editor Terry Abejuela has 40-plus years of light-duty towing and recovery experience. He is also a light-duty Level 1 instructor for the California Tow Truck Association.

T

owing companies have been providing lockout service for motorists who lock their keys in their vehicles for many years and have been successful in their ability to get into most vehicles. The locking systems on later model vehicles have become more difficult to unlock and damage repairs more expensive. In order to successfully provide this service, you must send a trained operator with the appropriate tools to unlock most newer model vehicles without damages. There are many tools, training programs, videos, and manuals available to assist tow truck operators in offering this service. I recommend you take advantage of all available resources to give your tow operators the skills and tools necessary to be successful and avoid damages when providing this service. The days of being able to effectively unlock vehicles with only a Slim Jim are gone. Although a skilled operator will be able to unlock many vehicles with a Slim Jim, a multi-piece lockout tool kit is required to unlock a significant number of newer model vehicles without damages.

Take care not to use excessive force when wedging. Air Jack (AW).

38 • October 2020 | Towman.com

I recommend the minimum of the following tools: 2 – Slim Jims 2 – Different style Under Window Tools 1 – Air Wedge 1 – Jack Style Wedge 2 – Conventional Style Wedge 2 - Mylar sheets 1 – Long Reach Tool (with some type of sleeve) 1 – Flashlight 1 – Can of Silicone based lubricant 1 – Banding strap Window cleaning materials These are the names I used for these tools but a specific manufacturer may call a similar tool by a brand specific name. Now if you are like me you may have much more of an array of lockout tools. I think I still have every lockout tool I have ever owned. Many older tools are not going to be useful on newer model vehicles but in my opinion there is nothing wrong with having more tools in your toolbox if you have the space to carry them. In this article I will be discussing the use of the Slim Jim. There are some vehicles that I would recommend that tow truck operators not attempt to unlock. Some of the high dollar vehicles like Bentley, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and others may require a locksmith or the dealership be contacted for lockout service. Some vehicles may have a deadbolt system that prevents entry with conventional tow operator lockout kits. Some lockout service manuals may have a list of vehicles that should not be attempted by by a tow truck operator to help make a decision. Manuals may also have current information on specific makes and models that can be reviewed before arriving at the scene. I recommend an inspection of the vehicle for damages before any attempt to unlock. Ask the customer if anyone has attempted to unlock the vehicle and document a previous attempt. Look for any damages


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Steck Mfg. Co.......... see p. 26 in the area you will be working on. If you find any damages, point them out to the customer and be specific as possible with your documentation of the damage whether it be hand written or by taking a photograph. The first thing I do is look for any easy entry opportunities that have less potential for damages such as a window partially rolled down, a door that is ajar, sunroof partially open, or an unlocked wind wing. Anytime you can see the tool and what you are doing you will less likely cause damage. Tools that must enter the door cavity are more likely to cause damages. I have always attempted the passenger door first because it is

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

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AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 39


Simple to use for lockout. Insert inflatable wedge in the top of door and insert the BigEasy to hit the door lock.

unlocked less often and may be less likely to have any wear and tear that may be more easily damaged. On the other hand that fact that the driver door is used more often may make it easier to manipulate the locking system parts. That decision is up to you but obviously if you are near traffic it would be safer to work on the non-traffic side of the vehicle. If you are having difficulty at the passenger door try rear doors or the driver side doors.

SLIM JIMS

There are other tools that work inside the door cavity, but I still prefer to start with the Slim Jim. There are many different variations of a Slim Jim but the one I prefer to use is about 30 inches long. 1 inch wide with a hook at one end and 4 notches at the other end. I also like to have the notch on the tip of each end. Use the rubber handle to cover the end not in the door to reduce the potential for damages and helps protect you from cutting your hand and when using the tool. The most common approach with a Slim Jim is to attempt to move the locking system mechanical linkage. This linkage is what connects the inside locking lever to the latch assembly, usually at the rear of the door. If there is 40 • October 2020 | Towman.com

a locking button at the top of the door near the B-pillar the linkage is most likely running vertically down from the button to the latch at the rear of the door. If the inside locking lever is located forward on the door the linkage is most likely running horizontally from the inside locking lever to the latch at the rear of the door. I prefer to use the notched end in the door when possible. Enter the Slim Jim with the smooth side towards the weather strip to avoid damage. Having multiple notches, with the first one close to the end of the tool, makes it more likely that one of the notches will line up with the linkage rod. You should use a piece of mylar to protect the window glass when using a Slim Jim. Use silicone lubricant if needed to reduce the potential for damage to the weather strip. Make sure to clean up any mess you make. You may need to use a wedge to assist in entering the Slim into the door cavity. Wedges are used to forcibly create a space for a tool to be entered. There are three different types in my recommended list. In most cases when using a Slim Jim you would use what I call a conventional wedge. The air wedge and jack style wedge are normally utilized when prying a door open enough to insert long reach tool.

When using any type of wedge make sure you only force open enough space to enter the tool. Excessive force is a common type of lockout damage and may be expensive to repair. When using a Slim Jim to attack locking linkage you will need to bend the Slim Jim towards the interior of the vehicle. How much depends on the vehicle and how wide the door cavity is. If the door is wide a 90 degree inward bend is often effective. If the door is more narrow a 30 or 45 degree inward bend may be more effective. When you have contacted the correct linkage rod it will normally take no more force to move it than it does to move the inside locking lever. Excessive force may cause damage. The direction the locking linkage rod must move to unlock will normally be the same direction that the locking lever moves. Keep a close eye on the locking lever while attempting to contact the linkage rod. Movement in the locking lever indicates you are contacting the correct linkage rod. Slim Jims can also be used to attack the latch assembly or lock cylinder however most newer model vehicles have designs that make this approach ineffective or likely to cause damages. I recommend that you ask the customer to check the door operation after you have unlocked the vehicle door so they see that everything is working correctly. If by chance it doesn’t operate correctly it gives you the opportunity to work with the customer to correct the issue. If the customer finds the damage later they may expect you to reimburse them for an expensive repair bill. As with most things practice makes perfect. Take advantage of any opportunities to practice the skills of lockout service and any training available.


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 41


News Flash

Free Roadside Assistance in San Antonio

The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) is now offering a new free roadside assistance program in San Antonio to aid stranded motorists. Called “HERO,” which stands for Highway Emergency Response Operator, the government funded program will clear up minor accidents, relocating disabled vehicles from roadways. Tommy Anderson, Executive Director of Southwest Tow Operators, said, “The program aims to promote getting quicker response times to clear the highways. Operators will be driving up and down the highway looking for disabled vehicles and clearing up minor crashes.” In addition the HERO program will provide a host of services to motorists including flat tire repair, jump starts, water and gas fill-up, cell-phone assistance and more. Bobby Tuttle, who is the incident manager for the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD), said, “It will be a help to motorists. In the first day of running, there were over 80 responses.”

42 • October 2020 | Towman.com


Towman Monument

The Glory AND

The Pride By Steve Calitri

The pandemic shut down AT EXPO in 2020 but the show still plays in towers’ hearts and minds.

American Towman Medal Ceremony

Humans Make a Comeback in Baltimore AT Expo 2021: November 11-14 44 • October 2020 | Towman.com


American towmen have a lot to be proud about. There is so much of what they do that can be thrilling to the bone and rewarding to the core. The car winched up the slope, the eighteen-wheeler uprighted in a fierce wind, the stranded motorist rescued, a driver pulled out of a burning car. Towers who have attended the American Towman Exposition remember the sights and sounds that have stirred their blood, swelled their chest. Towing’s Legendary Viewing the Towman Monument, the world’s first Troubadour Mike Corbin statue honoring the towing professional, depicting a tower reaching down to the outstretched arm of a female motorist submerged in a water gully. No tower who had worked the white line long enough hasn’t choked up seeing the Monument and reading its inscription heralding the towman’s dedication and bravery in all weather conditions, in all incidents. Viewing the world’s largest mural portraying towing and recovery, Lifelines, spanning a city block. And marveling at Hero, the Towman Chopper, the world’s only towing theme bike custom built by American Towman. Hearing the Towman Ballads, like The Road Calls and Booms in the Sky, sung by Mike Corbin, the troubadour who has dedicated his music over the past decade to honoring the unique work of the towman. The spectacle of the world’s most amazing trucks in the hall housing the American Towman Wrecker Pageant. The overwhelming sight of 250 exhibitors packing the exhibit floor with boom raised toward the ceiling. No, it’s not the same experience, your robot transmitting signals back to your shop, walking the aisles for you. When your heart cries out for the freedom to be there at the greatest show on the planet. When your son draws in pencil on paper the show he remembers and misses. Sure, it’s a letdown. We’ll have to wait till next year when it all comes roaring back. When you can shelve your robotic proxy and walk again through the show that mirrors the greatness of you and your profession. The American Towman Exposition 2021.

Towman Chopper

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AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 45


Androids Take Over AT Expo 2020 Humans Make a Comeback in Baltimore AT Expo 2021: November 11-14 46 • October 2020 | Towman.com


Sci-FI or a nightmare you haven’t woken from yet: The government has prohibited you from operating your business freely, prohibited you from leaving home unless for essential purposes, all limiting travel and the number of cars on the road, thus limiting incidents that need your trucks, and worse of all, forced the shutdown of large gatherings, i.e. the American Towman Expositions. But you want to go see the equipment, talk to the motor clubs, the industry’s trainers, and more. You want to engage in the seminars of the American Towman Academy and go to the various networking events and celebration unique to the Baltimore event. Imagine in this dream you assign a robot to take your place to attend the Exposition that allows these robotic proxies to attend in large numbers. Your metallic proxy transmits information back to you on your smartphone and computers in the office. So, you are virtually there. Step into this re- imagined event on the pages of American Towman and online at virtualtowshow.com, scout out what our advertising exhibitors are offering, see what deals are being offered, and make sure your proxy is well lubricated. Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 47


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GEICO Come see how you can join the elite in providing exceptional customer service to GEICO’s 14.5 million customers and 22 million automobiles.

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 49


Nothing beats the live experience at an American Towman Exposition. For many it’s like being a kid and visiting Santa and his elves in the North Pole, it’s that magical. But the Virtual Aisle, AT’s show experience online does have an effective format for tow bosses shopping for products and services. Like the American Towman Exposition, where all the suppliers are gathered under one roof, the Virtual Aisle gathers some 260 suppliers, many with custom virtual booths. At the Virtual Aisle one can find video of product demonstrations, product photos and information, and a lot more.

Humans Make a Comeback in Baltimore AT Expo 2021: November 11-14 50 • October 2020 | Towman.com


Miller Industries custom booth can be found on the American Towman’s Virtual Aisle at VirtualTowShow.com

The Android’s hi-tech sensors glean everything, visuals, information, sounds, transmitting the data back to the tow boss’ smartphone back in his shop. The tow boss can see what his android can see. He can speak to an exhibitor’s android through his android. In case you’re wondering, your android can park itself against the wall of the exhibit floor for the night, or, smoke a stogie at Calitri’s Cuba with fellow androids. Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 51


Premium Suppliers Pa See ge 76

Pa See ge 28

Intek Truck & Equipment Leasing/Finance

Integrated Vehicle & Equipment Leasing

As a national direct lender since 1999, Integrated has been providing leasing and financing for the tow truck industry.

Premium Suppliers from American Towman display advertisers

Offers customized and flexible lease & financing options for all new and used towing equipment. Exclusive finance programs for up to 10 years.

Pa See ge 34

Pa See ge 9

Jerr-Dan For nearly 50 years, Jerr-Dan has defined towing and recovery industry standards for performance, reliability, and service offering high quality wreckers, carriers and rotators.

Pa See ge 28

Pa See ge 41

Lodar USA

Kalyn Siebert

Landoll Corporation

Kalyn Siebert’s VersaMAXX series offers versatility and durability for your coast-to-coast needs. Call 1-800-KALYNTX today!

835F Detach series full-width Power Paver Ramp option provides the opportunity to service the forklift, rental and construction industries.

Use the wrecker industry’s standard for wireless control. Lodar keeps your people and equipment safe up to 1,000 ft away.

Pa See ge 77

Pa See ge 13

Pa See ge 73

Lynch Truck Centers Towing Equipment Dealer. Full line of Miller Industries products.The finest towing equipment available. The right equipment at the right price, right away.

52 • October 2020 | Towman.com

Matheny Motor Truck Co. An extensive selection of Miller Industries equipment and a familyowned legacy of customer service. Come see the Matheny difference!

Matjack Jumbo Safelift New Hurricane System uprights casualties in as little as 5 minutes!


Premium Suppliers Pa Se ge e W 87

Pa See ge 31

Miller Industries Industrial LCG™ carriers ranging from 20,000 lbs. to 40,000 lbs. capacity. New 3-stage heavy-duty underlift option available on 30 and 40 series LCG™ LWB models.

Pa See ge 42

Peak Wrecker

Oncall GPS – Live GPS tracking and PTO monitoring. www.mobilebinaries.com (657)210-4756. Easy to use.

Full line Miller Industries distributor with new/used wreckers and carriers. Offering Trail-Eze, popular/ versatile, RGN bus and slide axle trailers.

Pa See ge 15

Pa See ge 42

Sanderson Truck Equipment

All Stainless Toolbox 1.5 mm stainless steel construction with stainless steel hardware, automotive bulb seal, rolled door edge, ergonomic compression latch. Available in 48” x 18” x 18” and 60” x 18” x 18”.

Only Jerr-Dan Sales Dealer in Arizona! Wreckers - Rollbacks Heavys! Large Tow Parts Inventory and Full Service. #MoveOverAz Sponsor.

Santander Bank Santander offers a simple application process, quick credit decisions,flexible programs and customized payment schedules. Finance with a leader.

Pa Se ge e W 83

Sea Crest Insurance Agency

Sierra Pacific Insurance

Leader in Towing & Recovery field over 30 years. Offering several A rated programs that exceed Automobile Club of S CA Highway Patrol, & other municipalities

Sierra is the industry’s leading broker for all your tow insurance needs. 12 years experience writing tow risks.

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Pa Se ge e W 83

Mobile Binaries

Phoenix USA

Pa Se ge e W 84

Premium Suppliers from American Towman display advertisers

Pa See ge 69

Specialty Vehicle Equipment Funding

Specialty Vehicle Funding is a direct lender providing fast financing for tow trucks, trailers, service vehicles and other specialty equipment.

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 53


You can find the Dynamic custom booth at VirtualTowShow.com

Humans Make a Comeback in Baltimore AT Expo 2021: November 11-14 54 • October 2020 | Towman.com


American Towman’s Virtual Aisle at VirtualTowShow.com will be featuring not only the industry’s premier suppliers, but many of the signature events that make the Expo unique. From mini-seminars to world-class pageant trucks, and more, AT’s virtual experience will draw from the greatest trade show and convention on the planet, the American Towman Exposition.

Proxy androids mill about the Jerr-Dan booth Check out the hundreds of suppliers on American Towman’s Virtual Aisle at VirtualTowShow.com

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 55


Premium Suppliers Pa See ge 26

Steck Mfg. Co. Fourth Wheel Loader allows drivers to load and secure vehicles up to 5 tons with broken ball joints and locked wheels on roll back wreckers.

Pa See ge 76

Cloud-based towing software built for towing companies of every size and offering 24/7/365 support! Sign-up for your free trial today!

Since 1938 Talbert has manufactured very high quality heavy haul trailers and specialized transportation equipment, including low bed and travel axles.

Combining your passion for your business, our 20 years of financing experience in the tow industry, you & TCF become one we.

Pa Se ge e W 85

Pa See ge 60

Buy/Sell tow trucks/trailers/service vehicles. Turn unused equipment into cash.

56 • October 2020 | Towman.com

TowMate

Tow Industries 2020 Freightliner M2EC, Cummins Diesel, Auto, Century 4024 Wrecker, Pass Through Box, Single Basic Keypad and 14 Function Wireless Remote and so much more

TM-FLUX32 - Super fast charging wireless light. 8 minute charge time. 4 hour runtime. No battery to ever replace. Made in USA. Lifetime warranty.

Pa See ge 39

Pa See ge 17

Pa Se ge e W 86

TowTruckLocator.com

Pa See ge 5

TCF

Talbert Mfg.

Pa See ge 27

Towbook Management Software

Premium Suppliers from American Towman display advertisers

Trail King Industries

Urgent.ly

Engineered for speed, the Trail King Hydraulic Sliding Axle is not only fast, but easy to use. Time is money, and this trailer will save you both!

Urgent.ly is re-imagining roadside assistance. Our digital platform connects you with more nearby jobs to grow your business efficiently.


Premium Suppliers Pa Se ge e W 87

Utility Trailer Sales S.E. TX New and used trailer sales, finance and lease available, heavy-duty parts, service department, paint and body shop. 10 locations to serve you

Pa See ge 19

Will-Burt Company Night Scan HDT Night Scan is a full line of light towers that improves safety, efficiency, and makes you more money.

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Premium Suppliers from American Towman display advertisers

Pa See ge 3

Warn Industries WARN Series G2 Winches The Series G2 electric and hydraulic winches are more modular, highperformance, and durable than any WARN industrial winch ever.

Pa See ge 70

West End Service 2021 White Pete 389 HD, Miller Spec, Twin Steer, Tri-Axle, Century 1075, 75 Ton Rotator, Cummins X15-605HP, 18 Speed Manual Trans, Raptor Controls, 5 Winch.

Check Out the Virtual Aisle at VirtualTowShow.com

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 57


Exhibitor Roster 360 Payments AAA AAA East Central AAA Texas AASP-PA Access Tools, p. 65 Agero AirDown Alliance Funding Group Allstate Roadside, p. 37 Amdor Amell Insurance Agency American Safety & Supply American Sweeping System American Towman Magazine American Transportation Insurance Group American Wrecker Sales SC AmeriDeck Amur Equipment Finance Anchor Graphics, p. 67 ARI-Hetra Arizona Prof. Towing & Recovery Assn. Ascentium Capital AT&T - The Wireless Experience Atlanta Wrecker Sales, p. 41 Atlantic Emergency Solutions Aussie Rimshine Austin Insurance, p. 60 Auto Data Direct, p. 21 Automobile Club of Southern California AutoReturn, p. 23 B/A Products Bad Dog Tools Battelini Wrecker Sales, p. N 85 Bay Street inc. BBSI Beacon Funding Beacon Software, p. 75

58 • October 2020 | Towman.com

Suppliers Exhibiting at

Bowers Group- farmers Insurance Breg Environmental Car-Part.com Chergey Insurance Chevron Commercial, p. 37 Chevron West/Golden West Towing Equipment Clean Diesel Specialists Collins Dollies Command Light Commercial Best Insurance Services Copart Auto Auctions CrashFilm Crawford Truck Sales Crouch’s Wrecker & Equip. Sales, p. 61 CTTA Custer Products, p. 39 Dedicated Funding NY Detroit Torch DewEze Mfg., p. 19 Dibuduo & Defendis Insurance Discovery Bay Insurance DriverLocator.Com Dual-Tech Wreckers & Carriers, p. 22 Dynamic Towing Equip. & Mfg., p. 25 East Coast Truck & Trailer, p. N, S 83 East Penn Truck Equipment Elite Specialties Agency Enviromotive Environmental Chemical Solutions Excel Sportswear EZ Spare Wheel Farmers Ins / Khasim Ins Agency FCar Tech USA Federal Signal Finex Group LLC First Business Five Star Registration

FleetNet America Flitz International Ford Commercial Vehicles, p. 2 Freeway Service Patrol FULLBAY Repair Shop Software G-Cor Automotive GEICO, p. 91 GM Consultants Guniwheel Distributed by LKQ Corp. Hale Trailer Brake & Wheel Hanks Insurance Group Hino Trucks, p. 92 Honk Technologies Hooks Towing & Equipment Hydraulic Shop, Inc ICW Group Insurance Idaho Wrecker Sales Illusions Wraps In The Ditch Towing Products Int’l Tow & Rec. Hall of Fame & Museum Integrated Veh. Equip. Leasing, p. 28 Intek Truck & Eq. Leasing/Fin., p. 76 International Trucks Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Jerr-Dan Corp., p. 9 Journey Business Solutions Kalyn Siebert, p. 34 Landoll Corporation, p. 41 Leavitt Group Legacy Plus Insurance Lien Enforcement, Inc. Lift Marketing Group Lodar USA, p. 28 Lubnau Gonzalez Insurance Agency Lucky’s Trailer Sales Lynch Truck Centers, p. 73 Magnetworks / Stamp Works Manufacturer Express


Martens Johnson Insurance Maryland Carrier & Wrecker Sales Matheny Towing Equipment, p. 77 Matjack Jumbo Safelift, p. 13 Menzel Technologies MercurySend.com Metro Tow Trucks Metrocom, p. 66 MFC International Miller Industries, p. 31 Mobile Create USA Mobile Road Service Solutions Mobile Video Computing Solutions Motorcycle Towing Services Muncie Power Products Murphy Bank Mytee Products Nation Safe Drivers (NSD) National Automobile Club Nottingham Insurance NRC Industries NXGEN Olson & Company Omadi OMG Tow Marketing Peak Wrecker Sales/Trail-Eze, p. W 83 Penny Pockets Penske Truck Leasing People’s United Equipment Finance PGM Recovery Systems Phoenix USA, p. 42 Planet Halo Pop - A - Lock Pro-Vision Video Systems Prof. Exchange Service Purpose Wrecker QuestX Towing Services R & A Insurance R.A. Storelee Insurance

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Ram Trucks Ramos Oil Company Ramsey Winch Ranger SST RC Industries RealWheels Corp. Ricky’s Sales & Service Riggs Truck Roadside Pro Robert Young’s NRC Sales & Service Robinson Oil Rocky Mountain Wrecker Sales Rocky Mountain Wrecker Sales Roush Clean Tech RP Recovery Consulting RRA Tow Truck insurance Rush Towing Systems Rydin Decal Safety Up Safety Vision Sam Winer Motors Sanderson Truck Equipment, p. 42 Santander Bank, p. 15 Santiam Enterprises SBA Loan Group Sea Crest Insurance Agency, p. W 84 Secure Tow Sepson US Sierra Pacific Insurance, p. W 83 Southern California Tow Equipment Specialty Vehicle Equip. Funding, p. 69 Spill Tackle Steck Mfg. Co., p. 26 Sterling National Bank Talbert Mfg., p. 76 TCF Capital Solutions, p. 5 Time-Out Seated Massage Corner TJR Equipment Todd Equipment

Tow Brokers Tow Industries, p. W 85 Tow Life Tow Times Towbook Management Software, p. 27 Towing & Recovery Assoc. of America Towing Insurance Specialist Towing.com TowingWebsites.com TowLien.com TowMate, p. 60 TowToolz TowTruckLocator.com, p. W 86 towXchange Tracker Management Sys. Trail King Industries, p. 39 Transit Pros Truck Body Sales, Inc. UniFirst Corp. Urgent.ly, p. 17 US Fleet Tracking Utility Trailer Sales S.E. TX, p. W 87 Verdant Commercial Capital VTS Systems Warn Industries, p. 3 Webfleet Solutions Weego Portable Power Wellnex Group West End Service, p. 70 Whelen Engineering Co. Whiterail Reviews Will-Burt Company, p. 19 WorldClass Insurance Services Worldwide Equipment Sales WreckMaster WStar USA Inc. Xpress-Pay Zip’s AW Direct

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 59


News Flash Michigan Tow Truck Driver Injured in Hit-and-Run

Michigan tow truck driver David Salomon of Lavish Towing was badly injured in a hit and run incident after trying to tow a vehicle. He suffered a head injury and a broken foot. Lavish Tow owner Lavish Williams stated, “I got a strange voice over the 2-way radio from a lady who was hysterical. She was pretty much saying, ‘Your driver just got hit on the freeway.’” Salomon’s partner Juhnn’e Bailey said, “I heard the crash and when I turned around, his legs were in the air.” Salomon said, “I don’t think I’m supposed to be here. I was up about at least 8 feet in the sky. Came back down and I don’t remember nothing else after that.” https://www.clickondetroit.com/

60 • October 2020 | Towman.com


A 1978 Pete with a Holmes 750, once used by the Army, works with a 1996 GMC Top Kick and 16-ton Nomar unit

Tanker in

the Creek

D Jim “Buck” Sorrenti, a longtime editor of American Towman, has been our field editor for the past 10 years. He is a freelance writer and photographer with more than 40 years of experience covering motorcycle, hot rod, truck and towing culture. He writes weekly for TowIndustryWeek.com.

avid “Dave” Bruner was in the towing business for years before retiring. That changed when his son Justin graduated from high school and told his dad he wanted to start a towing business. Dave wished him luck. Justin explained, “My dad actually retired out of the business in 1998 and I graduated high school in 2006 and decided to get back into the business. After a year of saving up money I bought a 1985 Chevy 1-ton conventional wrecker and pulled dad out of retirement because I was too young to get the insurance. So in July of 2007 we started back up and have grown ever since.” This year younger brother Jarrett graduated high school and joined his father and brother in the family business.

62 • October 2020 | Towman.com


A longtime Oklahoma tower and his sons go fishing for a loaded propane tanker overturned in a creek. by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Bruners Towing & Recovery LLC, based in Stilwell, Oklahoma, is a home town family owned and operated towing business that serves the towing needs for the Stilwell area performing roadside calls like tire changes, lockouts, fuel deliveries and jump starts. With a small, specialized fleet of five trucks along with a lowboy trailer for heavy equipment, they handle all kinds of towing and recovery, no matter the size or situation. The Bruners specialize in technical recoveries and operations, pride themselves on a strong work ethic and love the challenge, so when this call came in on November 20, 2019 they loaded up and rolled out. Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Justin informed, “We got the call from Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) at around 11:30 am that a propane truck had run off a bridge and overturned in the creek on Caney Creek Road in Stilwell. We knew from the location the OHP gave us that it was going to be tight quarters to work in.” Dave, Justin and Jarrett responded with Truck #3, a 1996 GMC Topkick with a 16-ton Nomar, Truck#4, a 1978 Pete with a Holmes 750 and what they call the Army Truck, a 1973 AM General. The AM General 5-ton 6×6 truck was a class of heavy-duty trucks used by the US Armed Forces. The basic cargo version was designed to transport a 5-ton

load over all roads and crosscountry terrain in all weather. The M816 medium wrecker was used to recover disabled or stuck trucks and lift large components. A rotating, telescoping, and elevating hydraulic boom could lift a maximum of 20,000-pound. Although the truck was not meant to carry a load, the boom could support 7,000-pound when towing. They had 20,000-pound front and 45,000-pound rear winches, outriggers, boom braces, chocks, block and tackle, oxygen-acetylene torches, and other automotive tools. Once the Bruners got on scene they were told that the truck was fully loaded. With the truck on its side they couldn’t pump the

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 63


The Bruners specialize in technical recoveries and operations, pride themselves on a

strong work ethic and love the challenge. Holmes 750 that was once used by the U.S. armed services

propane off. Propane is a Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) class: 2.1 flammable gas. With flammable gas it is most important to stop the flow of gas and use water spray to disperse vapors. Propane can form an ignitable vapor/air mixture in closed tanks or containers. The crew monitored for any

64 • October 2020 | Towman.com

leakages throughout the process of the rolled-over tanker that was in the creek. The crew continued to check for hazardous material throughout the incident and ensured any potential hazard was contained. A second tank truck was brought to the scene to offload the propane prior to lifting the

damaged tanker out of the creek. “After looking everything over dad said that we could pump the gas off, but we were going to have to build a PTO shaft and bring a tractor out,” said Justin. “So with permission from the propane company we had a local tractor shop make a PTO shaft and


The propane was pumped off the tank onto another truck before the downed truck was recovered.

bring us a tractor.” While the PTO was being built the crew started rigging the truck to be uprighted. Justin explained, “We took chain binders and chained the rear axles to the frame of the truck and took an 8-inch belt and went over the

66 • October 2020 | Towman.com

top of the propane barrel and under the truck to the frame to help give us some leverage.” Once they had all the rigging done the tractor had showed up and they pumped off the propane onto another truck. While that was taking place they brought in


a backhoe to smooth out a spot for Truck #4, the Holmes 750, to sit. Bruners staged their specialty units to ensure the tanker was safely and properly removed from the creek. The 1973 AM General army truck was staged in the creek and tied it to the rear of the propane truck once the propane was pumped off. They took one line off of the Holmes 750 and went to the belt on the high side and blocked low on the passenger side and went to the high side on the front of the truck. Dave and Justin uprighted the propane truck with the Holmes 750 and the AM General and Jarrett used Truck#3, the 16-ton Nomar, to winch it out forward while the other two trucks helped hold it upright. Justin stated, “Once we had it back out and on flat ground we towed it back to the propane company office in Stilwell. Luckily the truck rolled over softly and didn’t do much damage. It never leaked a drop of fuel, oil or propane out since it rolled so softly. The whole job took about 4 1/2 hrs to complete.” When the job was done the crew went back to the shop and got the rigs ready for the next call (catch). As stated in capital letters on the boom of the 750 the Bruner boys are always ready for another fishing trip ANYWHERE ANYTIME!

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

Call for Next Class

508-763-5474 OSHA first session immediately following class

“An organization dedicated to teaching fellow towers how to become more profitable for the work they do”

We Teach:

Instructors Bob & Eric Fouquette

Visit us on Facebook

• Building the proper tow business foundation • Remediation of the accident scene to free you from future liability • Proper way of writing acceptable recovery invoices • Obtaining payment from insurance companies for proper billing • Billing on property damage liability coverage only • Laws to help get you paid • Guest speakers: Attorney, Insurance Executive

508-763-5474 Call for Class Schedule

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 67


Tow Boss

Hours of Service Updated by Brian J. Riker

Brian J. Riker is a third-generation towman, with 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator, and president of Fleet Compliance Solutions. He specializes in helping navigate the complex world of federal and state transportation regulatory compliance. He can be reached at brian.riker@fleetcompliancesolutions.net

I

n response to industry requests for greater flexibility in the Federal hours of service regulations the FMCSA published a final rule updating several key areas of the HOS regulations effective September 29, 2020. Many of these changes are very beneficial to short haul and vocational fleets such as towers, salvage yards and construction companies. Here are the highlights.

SHORT HAUL CHANGES

Mostly harmonizes the non-CDL and CDL required short haul regulations. The update allows a driver to claim the short haul exception from maintaining a log book (or ELD) when operating a property carrying commercial motor vehicle requiring a CDL if; • Leave from and return to the same location and are relieved of duty within 14 hours • Stay within a 150 air-mile radius of the work reporting location • Has at least 10 consecutive hours offduty before reporting for their next shift • Carrier maintains true and accurate records of dates/times worked for 6 months It is important to note that short haul drivers required to have a CDL still only get one “big day” in any 5 consecutive days where they are permitted to drive after the 14th and up to the 16th hour since coming on-duty, however that day must be recorded on a log sheet or by using an ELD. Short haul drivers not required to have a CDL still retain two “big days” and are allowed to drive up to the 16th hour since coming on duty without requiring a log book or ELD. See 49 CFR 395.1 (e)(2)(B) for more on the non-CDL “big day” rule.

68 • October 2020 | Towman.com

ADVERSE DRIVING CONDITIONS CHANGE

The new regulation clarifies what is considered an adverse driving condition to claim this extension of driving time. The previous rule was unclear and only permitted an extension of the 11 hour drive limit by 2 hours, the new rule also extends the 14 hour window as well as the 11 hour driving limit by 2 hours. The key clarifications to the definition of adverse driving conditions was the inclusion of traffic delays that were or could not be known to the motor carrier or driver prior to dispatch or when resuming driving after a rest break. This will allow a driver to claim the 2 hour extension should they be caught in a severe delay due to an unplanned event such as a crash blocking the highway. It can not be used for traffic that is normal, or should have been expected, such as rush hour in a metropolitan area or construction related delays in established work zones.

30 MINUTE REST BREAK CHANGE

The previous rule required a driver to take 30 consecutive minutes of off-duty time before driving after the 8th hour since the start of their tour. The new rule requires a 30 minute interruption before accumulating 8 hours of drive time rather than only counting the elapsed time since the start of the tour. The interruption of driving time can now be satisfied with 30 consecutive minutes of any non-driving duty status such as off-duty, sleeper or on-duty not driving (fuel, loading, etc). These periods may also be combined to satisfy the 30 minute interruption as long as they are consecutive. The 30 minute drive time interruption (break) does not apply to drivers


claiming the short haul exception and not required to complete a log book or use an ELD.

SPLIT SLEEPER BERTH BREAK CHANGES

Previously to satisfy the 10 hour break requirements using a sleeper berth the driver had to either take at least 8 hours in the sleeper followed by an additional two hours of off-duty time with only the shorter period pausing the 14 hour clock. The new rule allows a driver to “pause” their 14 hour clock by taking at least 7 consecutive hours of rest in the sleeper berth and up to an additional 3 hours of rest as offduty or sleeper berth at a later time. To use the new split break option a driver must; • Take two periods of rest with neither being less than two hours •  Take at least 7 consecutive

70 • October 2020 | Towman.com

hours in the sleeper berth •  Together the two periods must add up to 10 hours •  When used together neither period counts against the 14 hour window •  Team drivers may count up to three hours riding in the passenger seat either immediately before or after a 7 hour sleeper berth period as off-duty time towards their 10 hour break It is important to note that both the driving time limit (11) and 14 hour duty window must be recalculated from the end of the first of the two periods used to satisfy the split break requirements.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS

These regulatory changes are applicable to any motor carrier of property that engages in interstate

commerce including private fleets, towing companies and other operators of commercial vehicles. Additionally, 35 of 50 states adopt federal regulations by reference which will make these changes applicable to intrastate carriers in accordance with state laws as they are adopted either automatically or through legislative or administrative actions. It is highly likely that your operation will be affected by these regulatory changes. This press release is not intended to be legal guidance and is for informational purposes only. Please contact a competent professional to verify how these regulations apply to your individual situation or operation. Please direct any questions or comments to brian.riker@ fleetcompliancesolutions.net


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 71


Repo Run

Imagine this: If unable to reach the debtor by phone, send the truck to the given residence during the day and knock on the door with a smile. Ask for the car.

Reimagine the Repo Man By Mark Lacek

Repo Editor Mark Lacek authored the Certified Commercial Recovery Agent certification program and has more than 30 years of recovery experience. He is the former editor of “Professional Repossessor” magazine. Email him at Mark@commercialassetsolutions.com.

[R

eimagine: reinterpret imaginatively; rethink.] The talking heads of the daily news are using the phrases like “reimagine the police” in the context of public safety. I choose to use “reimagine” in another perspective and that we “reimagine repo agent.” For those readers not in the business of repossessing assets, you need to understand that before anything can be repossessed … it must be located. My associates who are still in the business of repossessing planes, trains and automobiles all agree: mortgaged collateral has become harder and harder to locate. Time and resources spent searching for the intended bounty has become increasingly costly, taking away from the bottom line.

72 • October 2020 | Towman.com

There was a time when a recovery agent could drive by the given address (provided by the finance company) or check the place of business and, most of the time, the agent would have another repo on the hook. That was the good old days (pre-2008). Most in the repossession industry will agree, the U.S. has become more transient than ever. After 2008, when Wall Street turned everything upside down, lots of people lost their jobs, their homes and became displaced. It became more difficult to locate the collateral without having to check several addresses. A repossessor would have to run the address during the day, then at night only to find out the customer had moved. In 2016, things began to change towards profit again, but just as the


dust was settling and everyone was comfortable with a strong economy, the sociopolitical nightmare of COVID-19 hit worldwide like a rabid tornado. My July 2020 column, “Pivoting after the Pandemic,” talked about the automobile lenders offering extensions on car payments and some states calling for a moratorium on repossessions. I wrote about many well-established repossession agencies not being able to weather such a storm and falling out of business.

agencies were at 40% at best. Valuable resources were spent on the 60% of those assignments never located and recovered, lowering the profit margins of the 40% that were picked up. The cost of checking three, four or five addresses searching for a car is costly, only to return to the yard with nothing on the hook. With the Reimagine strategy, it just makes common sense the recovery percentages would be higher. Recovery agencies and agents

Just as the dust was settling and everyone was comfortable with a strong economy, the sociopolitical

nightmare of COVID-19 hit worldwide like a rabid tornado.

This month I offer some advice to help all of my colleagues in these difficult times. Welcome back to profit town! I believe I have a solution for higher profits, and lower expenses. I believe I can thank the news talking heads for introducing me to the concept to “reimagine.”

REIMAGINE

The new post-pandemic repossession agent has only to make contact with the debtor and, with a kind heart, ask quite politely for the keys to the car. The post pandemapocalyptic (pandemic apocalyptic) recovery agent should conduct a door knock with a smile and ask for the car’s location. In the past, recovery percentages of most automobile repossession 74 • October 2020 | Towman.com

(me included) have complicated the repossession process. A few years ago, one agency I know stopped going out at night and began implementing a new strategy. Instead of searching parking lots and grocery stores, he decided to knock on more doors and ask for the collateral. He then began the habit of contacting the bank’s customers by phone and asking for the collateral. He stopped introducing himself as a repossessor and explained he was the transport driver working for the bank. “I’m here to transport the car,” he would say, and people would treat him like just another working stiff trying to pay his own mortgage … just like them. Something amazing started to happen. People started to like him.

He was making friends. It turned out to be the best business strategy he’d ever implemented. His recovery percentages were higher, his profits were greater and the mileage on his truck was less. My advice to everyone in the repossession business takes four easy steps: 1.  When a repossession assignment is received, call the debtor on the phone and explain to them you are the transport driver and you would like to make an appointment to pick up their car. Stop using the words repo agent or repossessor altogether. The word repossessor automatically puts a person in the negative state of mind. 2.  Stop sending your agents out at night to “hook-andbook.” If unable to reach the debtor by phone, send the truck to the given residence during the day and knock on the door with a smile. Ask for the car. If no one is home, leave a “please schedule an appointment” card with your contact phone number. 3. Never check more than one residence address. Let your client do their job and run reports and make calls. 4. Stop thinking most debtors are hiding the car; they’re not. Try these four easy steps and you will increase your bottom line, make more friends and people will like you, too.

Find us on Facebook Read more towing news at towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 75


Supplier Scoop

FleetPride Expands Operations Through Acquisition

Texas based FleetPride, Inc., the nations’s largest distributor of truck and trailer parts in the independent heavy-duty channel, announced today that it has acquired the assets of Triple K Fleet Services, based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with two other locations in Carlisle and York. Owner Rod Coupal named Triple K for his three children (Kellie, Kyle, and Kaitlin) and opened it for business in 2006. “The addition of Triple K expands our ability to reach new customers in all three markets,” said Mike Harris, FleetPride senior vice president of sales and branch operations. “Triple K offers extensive maintenance and repair for truck, trailer, and body, as well as a significant towing operation. We welcome Rod Coupal and the employees at Triple K to the FleetPride team.” “We are thrilled to join FleetPride,” said Coupal. “This will give us the ability to expand our assortment of parts and service options for our customers throughout southern Pennsylvania. It also creates new growth opportunities for our employees.” The acquisition gives FleetPride a total of seven branches in Pennsylvania. All three Triple K locations offer repair and maintenance, which will bring the number of FleetPride-owned Service Centers up to 46. SOURCE FleetPride, Inc.

76 • October 2020 | Towman.com


Towman’s Market

R

FO

LE LE OR LE OR A A F F S S S A

Very profitable 20 year established Auto Service & Towing Business, 7 bay shop on major hwy. 2 tow trucks, fenced storage lot. Too much equipment to list. Mechanic w/ 40 yrs experience can stay w/ business. Owner retiring and some owner financing possible.

864-303-6179

Software for the towing industry since 1997

USED TRUCKS FOR SALE

• 2015 Ford F450, Vulcan 810 wrecker • 2015 Ford F550, Jerr Dann 19RRSB • 2017 Ford F550, Dual Tech 1035 Rollback • 2014 Ford 550, Danco 19’ Rollback • 2016 Ford F550, Dual Tech 19’ Rollback • 2006 Peterbilt 335, NRC 22’ • 2017 Ford F550, Dual Tech Wrecker • 2018 Kenworth T370, Miller Multi Deck Bed - 25’ • 2020 International MV607, Century LCG Carrier- 30’ • 2018 Hino 258 ALP, Century Series 10 21.5’ steel carrier • 2017 Hino 258 ALP, Century Series 10 21.5’ steel carrier • 2016 Freightliner M2 Business Class, Jerr Dan 28’ Steel Carrier/ aluminum top deck

631-531-0773 | 631-258-1756 abrussel@santander.us

For details, please call or email AnneMarie Brusseler

78 • October 2020 | Towman.com

Dispatch - Lot Management Lien Sale - Billing Driver Commission and More

CALIFORNIA TOW TRUCK ASSOCIATION INTRO TO TOWING The California Tow Truck Assn. presents INTRO TO TOWING. A new 5-part online course for towing beginners and new hires! Through five videos and corresponding quizzes, operators will learn the basics of towing. Students will receive a certificate of completion, and company owners are able to track their progress! Available now at: ctta@ctta.com

CALL OR EMAIL TO TRY OUR FREE DEMO!! towtracksoftware.com stevew@towtrack.com 772.223.5351

To Advertise In Towman’s Market CALL

800-732-3869

Ellen Rosengart x 203 erosengart@towman.com


Towman’s Market SPECIALTY VEHICLE U & EQUIPMENT FUNDING GROUP S Craig R. Nadolny E CNadolny@easternfunding.com D 2007 Ford F550/ T 2007 Jerr Dan 19’Carrier R 2017 Sun Country 53’ U Single Axle 4 Car C 2019 Peterbilt M2/ K Chevron 30’ 4 Car Carrier S 646.723.6393

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USED TRUCKS & TRAILERS FOR SALE • 2016 Dodge D5500, vulcan trailer 807 • 2017 Freightliner M2, chevron • 2016 Dodge Ram 500, Century 10 Series • 2018 Hino 258, Century 12 Series LCG • 2018 GMC 3500 HD, Vulcan triler 807 • 2018 Hino 258, vulcan trailer attached • (2) 2017 Great Dane Trailer • 2012 Utility Reefer • (2) 2018 Great Dane Trailer • 2019 XL Specialized 100HDG Trailer • 2019 XL Specialized 60JPS • 2019 XL Specialized 24FA • 2018 Dorsey Trailer

631-531-0773 | 631-258-1756 abrussel@santander.us

For details, please call or email AnneMarie Brusseler

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 79


My Baby

Unit 25: Building On The Family Legacy This one is a Century 60-ton rotator with the 5 winch option making it utmost capable of handling any job. By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

P

Jim “Buck” Sorrenti, a longtime editor of American Towman, has been our field editor for the past 10 years. He is a freelance writer and photographer with more than 40 years of experience covering motorcycle, hot rod, truck and towing culture. He writes weekly for TowIndustryWeek.com.

earce Truck & Auto is a family owned and operated repair and towing business based in Martin, Tennessee. Eddie Pearce started out as Pearce DX Service Station in Martin in 1965, offering tune-ups, brake repair, service, clean-up, and gas. In 1967 he purchased a tow truck with a hand crank winch using his savings. He used the hand crank rig for a few years before he was able to save enough to purchase a new Holmes 500. He got into heavy-duty towing and invested in a Holmes 600 on a C70 Chevrolet chassis. Eddie worked side by side with his wife, Judy, and sons Joe and Michael for decades until he passed away in September 2016. In 2017 Judy, Joe, and Michael formed a partnership with the company and became Pearce Truck and Auto LLC. Judy handles the dispatching and accounting, while Joe and Michael do what they do best and deal with the heavy loads. Over the years Eddie moved and added equipment to accommodate his growing business. His sons have followed in their dad’s footsteps adding equipment and have recently opened their second location of Pearce Truck and Auto LLC on Hwy 641S in Holladay, TN. Featured here is Unit 25, the newest addition to their fleet. Joe informed, “With a new location comes new equipment, as you probably expected. We recently purchased another

80 • October 2020 | Towman.com

rotator wrecker. This one is a Century 60ton rotator with the 5 winch option making it utmost capable of handling any job. This new truck is Unit number 25 in our fleet. We’re so thankful to have these opportunities.” Unit 25 is a 2011 Century 1060 60-ton mounted

on a 2000 Kenworth T800. Powered by a N14 Cummins engine backed by a High Tune Program 18-speed transmission, it has a five winch package; two 50,000-pound main winches, a 50,000-pound deck winch and two 24,000-pound turret winches. 4-stage low rear outriggers and low H-beam front outriggers with the large foot upgrade and spade attachment for front and rear to anchor for side pulls, keep it stable. It also has a Coach Lowrider underlift setup. A Kenworth eight bag air ride rear suspension makes the ride comfortable and it is fully equipped with all the cab


options including a sunroof for added luxury. Unit 25 is double framed throughout with heavy haul options. Classic chrome is placed everywhere imaginable with all aluminum toolboxes with a 48” front tunnel box. Unit 25 is a working rig with the versatility to handle many different types of jobs. Joe informed, “Having two rotators gives us the ability to handle a variety of situations. We have worked together on many jobs with Michael in Unit 21, the 70ton and me in this Unit 25, the 60ton. One job we worked together in June was a burnt up dump trailer loaded with 50,000 pounds of powered clay we were called to recover and transport. Mike

did the initial lift and loaded it on our Landoll. I used Unit 25 and did the unload at the company’s terminal. “Unit 25 came from a company in Englewood, Ohio. The chassis originally had a Challenger 9909 body, but was traded in for the 1060 as it has better outriggers and a longer boom reach. It went to Miller for the swap over. We saw this would be extremely handy for when it’s called upon to work accidents on I-40. With it Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

being stationed within 200 yards of Exit 126, it’s very handy as well as capable. It has the chain packages, spreader bar and all the shackles and straps/endless loops that we need.” Jowers Sign Company, also located in Martin, did the clean vinyl graphics on Unit 25. Company owner/ operator Randy Jowers started his business in 1984. Always looking for innovative techniques, he became one of the area’s first vinyl graphics providers. Joe informed, “This beauty was an Ohio Tow Show winner numerous times while in the possession of its previous owners.”

Joe added, “We have had many milestones. In 2008 we became a direct distributor for PAI Industries. In 2013 we were ranked on the “Towman 500,” a list of the most experienced towmen in America compiled by American Towman Magazine. To help put this prestigious award into perspective there are almost 700 towing companies in Tennessee alone. In recent years, we have become authorized distributors for Dynamic Towing Equipment & Mfg., Danco Products, B/AProducts and In The Ditch, and have opened our second location in Holladay. Michael and I are working out of our home office in Martin and helping our crew in Holladay whenever they need us. We will be keeping our 70-ton rotator in Martin for Michael and I to use here (the one that dad tried to buy before his passing). Our second location is where Unit 25 is located.” During this writing Joe stated, “I’m actually in the middle of doing an upright of a tractor-trailer that went over near our new location. Unit 25 hasn’t had a rest since we put her in service.”

Tech Highlights Chassis: 2000 Kenworth T800 Wrecker body: 2011 Century 1060 60-ton rotator Engine: N14 Cummins Trans: High Tune Program 18-speed Winches: Main (2) 50K, turret (2) 24k, deck winch (1) 50K Built by: Miller Industries Extras: Too much to list. See text. Nickname: Unit 25 Graphics by: Jowers Sign Company in Martin, TN

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • 81


Lowdown

Realizing Opportunity in the Pandemic By Steve Calitri

Steve Calitri Editor-in-Chief scalitri@towman.com

Save Your Day contracts with many individual service providers using their own service trucks and also owns and operates their own trucks.

T

he commercial shutdowns during the Pandemic have slowed the business of many, if not the majority of, tow companies. But some are thriving. One company has seen opportunity where other towers have pulled back. Save Your Day Roadside Rescue operates in several cities in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Michigan, including Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Richmond, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, to name but some of them. The majority of areas the company covers involves contracting with individual service providers of roadside calls for battery boosts, tire changes, lock-outs (car entry), gas runs, and other light-duty car services. The company offers towing service right now with its own company wreckers in Kalamazoo, and soon, Pittsburgh, with imminent purchases of three wreckers for that location. Company president Ronald Hayes says he saw opportunity to grow when towers were asking clubs for more money for the calls, citing that the Pandemic was cause for hazardous pay rates. One club, Agero, instead of raising pay levels, waived signature requests, asking

82 • October 2020 | Towman.com

towers to simply take extra pictures of the vehicle, before and after pictures, to protect both tower and club in the absence of signatures on waivers. “We were fine to work with Agero in this way. We did not ask for more pay,” said Ron, who is also a service provider for Allstate Roadside. “My attitude is we are in business to help people. I hire drivers whose attitude is all about helping people. There were stranded motorists that needed our help during this Pandemic, motor clubs who needed calls to be serviced. While other businesses scaled down I hired more dispatchers and more drivers. “At other companies drivers wanted to go on unemployment to make the money the relief bill passed by Congress was adding to unemployment benefits, and maybe those company owners were grateful for it during the slowdown. But here we’re busy. I’ve doubled staff.” Hayes is also offering to contract his dispatch services to other service companies via Save Your Day Digital Dispatch. In short, from this entrepreneur’s perspective,the Pandemic has opened the door for opportunity.


Work Horse

Six Approaches to Equipment Maintenance By David A. Kolman

R

AT Chassis Editor David Kolman is a multi-faceted trucking trade journalist with experience in print, online and broadcasting. He has hosted trucker television and radio programs and helped write trucking industry documentaries and video programs.

egardless of the size of your operation, performing effective maintenance on your vehicles and equipment is essential. All of them require good, periodic maintenance. This helps prevent a device or component from failing and causing a breakdown, resulting in the loss of productivity and unplanned expenses. Additionally, properly maintained vehicles/equipment operate more efficiently and have extended life, which saves money in the long run. Nevertheless, many companies in the towing and recovery industry fail to devote the necessary time and resources to maintain vehicles/equipment in proper working order. Rather than performing maintenance activities, these companies wait for problems to occur and then take

North 84 • October 2020 | Towman.com

whatever actions are necessary to repair or replace the vehicle/equipment. Over the years, different approaches to how equipment maintenance can be performed developed. The challenge is to select the most suitable maintenance strategy that will: • Increase uptime. • Improve operating performance, reliability and safety. • Ensure vehicles reach or exceed their life expectancy or operational life. • Have the most maintenance costeffectiveness. There are two foundational elements to determining the appropriate maintenance strategy: • What is the cost — in terms of money and time — of a equipment breakdown?


• How easy is it to monitor the equipment? To help with this decision, the following is a rundown of the more common maintenance strategies. These approaches can be used in combination, depending on the vehicle or equipment, the size of your operation and your maintenance team’s experience.

1. BREAKDOWN MAINTENANCE

This is a straightforward maintenance strategy that requires minimal planning. The vehicle is deliberately operated until it fails. Then the necessary maintenance and repairs are performed to restore the equipment to its normal operating condition. Because repairs are not planned, this maintenance strategy is best suited to non-essential vehicles and equipment. A disadvantage to this approach is that failure is highly unpredictable and tends to occur at the most inopportune

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • North 85


times. Another drawback is that repair costs are usually higher than maintenance expenses because a failure often requires more extensive work than would have been necessary if the vehicle had not been run to failure.

2. CORRECTIVE MAINTENANCE

This is maintenance done to identify and correct a problem with equipment and get it back to an operational or optimum condition. Corrective maintenance can be planned/scheduled (a repair is required but doesn’t have to be made right away), or unplanned/ unscheduled (when a vehicle shows signs of potential failure or fails unexpectedly). Corrective maintenance is typically less efficient and more costly than preventive, routine or planned maintenance since the work is not planned for in advance.

3. PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE

This is maintenance performed at predetermined intervals or done according to  prescribed criteria of time and/or usage. The objective is to increase equipment efficiency, reliability and life by conducting the scheduled, routine maintenance activities recommended by the OEM to detect and reduce or prevent breakdowns from occurring. A downside to this maintenance strategy is that if maintenance schedules are not regularly monitored, audited and improved, there is the risk of over-scheduling because the maintenance is planned on time or usage rather than actual equipment conditions.

4. CONDITION-BASED MAINTENANCE

This strategy is based on performance monitoring of a vehicle

North 86 • October 2020 | Towman.com

while it is in operation. Real-time data is gathered from sensors and other devices that measure specific conditions against known parameters of failure. Then, action can be taken only when indicators show signs of decreasing performance but before component failure. This allows vehicles and equipment to remain productive for as long as possible and helps avoid costly downtime. Moreover, with condition-based maintenance, rather than scheduling maintenance based on miles or time intervals, maintenance can be performed on an as-needed basis.

5. PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE

Like condition-based maintenance, predictive maintenance is a proactive maintenance strategy intended to improve equipment reliability and decrease downtime. It, too, is based on the actual condition and performance


of in-service equipment rather than on a preset schedule. Predictive maintenance incorporates condition-based maintenance with real-time data that is extracted, integrated and analyzed from a variety of sources, including vehicles and their operating environments. Predictive formulas are used to identify a failure before it occurs so maintenance and repair can be planned and lost time in-service is minimized.

6. RELIABILITY MAINTENANCE

This is a mix of vehicle maintenance strategies, integrated to take advantage of their respective strengths to maximize equipment reliability and cost-effectiveness. Reliability-centered maintenance is an in-depth process that analyzes component failures and breakdowns for vehicles and then develops a customized maintenance

strategy for each individual piece of equipment. The goal is to increase vehicle performance and productivity while reducing maintenance costs.

PLAN, EXECUTE

To lessen the costs associated with equipment maintenance, reduce unplanned expenses for breakdowns and have higher equipment reliability and availability, wisely evaluate the pros and cons of each maintenance strategy. Take into account that each approach has different costs with regard to labor, shop time, replacement parts, maintenance materials and supplies, etc. Once you have decided upon the maintenance strategies that makes sense for your vehicles and equipment, the next step is to implement them. Formulate an execution plan, especially if the strategy is a big shift from how vehicle maintenance is

North 88 • October 2020 | Towman.com

currently done. Determine if additional training for personnel is necessary. Adapt maintenance policies and procedures accordingly. Then monitor the progress and make any adjustments as you go along to further improve things. Regardless of the strategy you use, a well-managed vehicle maintenance approach will: • Lower maintenance costs. • Decrease major repairs. • Reduce costly downtime. • Increase equipment productivity, efficiency, reliability and life … which helps eliminate early vehicle replacement. • Improve equipment safety. • Increase residual values; well-maintained equipment typically has higher value and trade-in values. This all adds savings to a company’s bottom line.


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • North 89


Work Horse

Six Approaches to Equipment Maintenance By David A. Kolman

AT Chassis Editor David Kolman is a multi-faceted trucking trade journalist with experience in print, online and broadcasting. He has hosted trucker television and radio programs and helped write trucking industry documentaries and video programs.

R

egardless of the size of your operation, performing effective maintenance on your vehicles and equipment is essential. All of them require good, periodic maintenance. This helps prevent a device or component from failing and causing a breakdown, resulting in the loss of productivity and unplanned expenses. Additionally, properly maintained vehicles/ equipment operate more efficiently and have extended life, which saves money in the long run. Nevertheless, many companies in

South 84 • October 2020 | Towman.com

the towing and recovery industry fail to devote the necessary time and resources to maintain vehicles/equipment in proper working order. Rather than performing maintenance activities, these companies wait for problems to occur and then take whatever actions are necessary to repair or replace the vehicle/equipment. Over the years, different approaches to how equipment maintenance can be performed developed. The challenge is to select the most suitable maintenance strategy that will:


• Increase uptime. • Improve operating performance, reliability and safety. • Ensure vehicles reach or exceed their life expectancy or operational life. • Have the most maintenance cost-effectiveness. There are two foundational elements to determining the appropriate maintenance strategy: • What is the cost — in terms of money and time — of a equipment breakdown? • How easy is it to monitor the equipment?

The challenge is to select the most suitable maintenance strategy.

unplanned/unscheduled (when a vehicle shows signs of potential failure or fails unexpectedly). Corrective maintenance is typically less efficient and more costly than preventive, routine or planned maintenance since the work is not planned for in advance.

3. PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE

This is maintenance performed at predetermined intervals or done according to prescribed criteria of time and/or usage. The objective is to increase equipment efficiency, reliability and life by conducting the scheduled, routine maintenance activities recommended by the OEM to detect and reduce or prevent breakdowns from occurring. A downside to this maintenance strategy is that if maintenance schedules are not regularly monitored, audited and improved, there is the risk of overscheduling because the maintenance is planned on time or usage rather than actual equipment conditions.

To help with this decision, the following is a rundown of the more common maintenance strategies. These approaches can be used in combination, depending on the vehicle or equipment, the size of your operation and your maintenance team’s experience.

1. BREAKDOWN MAINTENANCE

This is a straightforward maintenance strategy that requires minimal planning. The vehicle is deliberately operated until it fails. Then the necessary maintenance and repairs are performed to restore the equipment to its normal operating condition. Because repairs are not planned, this maintenance strategy is best suited to non-essential vehicles and equipment. A disadvantage to this approach is that failure is highly unpredictable and tends to occur at the most inopportune times. Another drawback is that repair costs are usually higher than maintenance expenses because a failure often requires more extensive work than would have been necessary if the vehicle had not been run to failure.

2. CORRECTIVE MAINTENANCE

This is maintenance done to identify and correct a problem with equipment and get it back to an operational or optimum condition. Corrective maintenance can be planned/scheduled (a repair is required but doesn’t have to be made right away), or Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • South 85


4. CONDITION-BASED MAINTENANCE

This strategy is based on performance monitoring of a vehicle while it is in operation. Real-time data is gathered from sensors and other devices that measure specific conditions against known parameters of failure. Then, action can be taken only when indicators show signs of decreasing performance but before component failure. This allows vehicles and equipment to remain productive for as long as possible and helps avoid costly downtime. Moreover, with conditionbased maintenance, rather than scheduling maintenance based on miles or time intervals, maintenance can be performed on an as-needed basis.

5. PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE

Like condition-based maintenance, predictive maintenance is a proactive maintenance strategy intended to improve equipment reliability and decrease downtime. It, too, is based on the actual condition and performance of in-service equipment rather than on a

preset schedule. Predictive maintenance incorporates condition-based maintenance with real-time data that is extracted, integrated and analyzed from a variety of sources, including vehicles and their operating environments. Predictive formulas are used to identify a failure before it occurs so maintenance and repair can be planned and lost time in-service is minimized.

6. RELIABILITY MAINTENANCE

This is a mix of vehicle maintenance strategies, integrated to take advantage of their respective strengths to maximize equipment reliability and cost-effectiveness. Reliability-centered maintenance is an in-depth process that analyzes component failures and breakdowns for vehicles and then develops a customized maintenance strategy for each individual piece of equipment. The goal is to increase vehicle performance and productivity while reducing maintenance costs.

PLAN, EXECUTE

To lessen the costs associated with equipment maintenance,

South 86 • October 2020 | Towman.com

reduce unplanned expenses for breakdowns and have higher equipment reliability and availability, wisely evaluate the pros and cons of each maintenance strategy. Take into account that each approach has different costs with regard to labor, shop time, replacement parts, maintenance materials and supplies, etc. Once you have decided upon the maintenance strategies that makes sense for your vehicles and equipment, the next step is to implement them. Formulate an execution plan, especially if the strategy is a big shift from how vehicle maintenance is currently done. Determine if additional training for personnel is necessary. Adapt maintenance policies and procedures accordingly. Then monitor the progress and make any adjustments as you go along to further improve things. Regardless of the strategy you use, a well-managed vehicle maintenance approach will: • Lower maintenance costs. • Decrease major repairs. • Reduce costly downtime. • Increase equipment productivity, efficiency, reliability and life … which helps eliminate early vehicle replacement. • Improve equipment safety. • Increase residual values; well-maintained equipment typically has higher value and trade-in values. This all adds savings to a company’s bottom line.

Find us on Facebook Read more towing news at towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • South 87


Supplier Scoop

NEXT for NAVISTAR Electric Vehicle Customers

Navistar announced its NEXT eMobility Solutions business unit has signed a master services agreement with In-Charge Energy, an energy solutions company based in Los Angeles, California, to provide charging infrastructure and consulting services to Navistar and its electric vehicle customers. Since its launch in October, NEXT has focused its eMobility development on a comprehensive “four Cs” approach – Consulting, Construction, Charging and Connecting. This partnership strengthens Navistar’s ability to provide customers with superior support in each of these categories. “With electric vehicles, it’s important to understand that we can provide the very best bus or truck for our customers, but if they don’t have a partner to show them how to operate it, charge it or take care

of it in the long run, it likely won’t be a successful deployment,” said Jason Gies, director, Business Development, Navistar. “This partnership ensures that IC Bus and International Truck customers have the infrastructure support they need to ultimately be successful in electric.” Electrifying a fleet requires much more than just purchasing an electric vehicle. Customers need to consider the impacts on maintenance and facilities such as increased

South 88 • October 2020 | Towman.com

electricity demand, utility upgrades and other factors. “The total cost of ownership with electric vehicles promises to be less than conventional vehicles; however, that is only possible with well-designed charging infrastructure and a trusted partner,” said Cameron Funk, chief executive officer, InCharge. “Navistar has the right vision and In-Charge is pleased to provide their end-to-end charging solution.”


Workhorse

Six Approaches to Equipment Maintenance By David A. Kolman

AT Chassis Editor David Kolman is a multi-faceted trucking trade journalist with experience in print, online and broadcasting. He has hosted trucker television and radio programs and helped write trucking industry documentaries and video programs.

R

egardless of the size of your operation, performing effective maintenance on your vehicles and equipment is essential. All of them require good, periodic maintenance. This helps prevent a device or component from failing and causing a breakdown, resulting in the loss of productivity and unplanned expenses. Additionally, properly maintained vehicles/equipment operate more efficiently and have extended life, which saves money in the long run. Nevertheless, many companies in the towing and recovery industry fail to devote the necessary time and resources to maintain vehicles/equipment in proper working order. Rather than performing maintenance activities, these companies wait for problems to occur and then take whatever actions are necessary to repair or replace the vehicle/equipment. Over the years, different approaches to how equipment maintenance can be performed developed. The challenge is to select the most suitable maintenance strategy that will: • Increase uptime. • Improve operating performance, reliability and safety. • Ensure vehicles reach or exceed their life expectancy or operational life. • Have the most maintenance costeffectiveness. There are two foundational elements to determining the appropriate maintenance strategy: • What is the cost — in terms of money and time — of a equipment breakdown? • How easy is it to monitor the equipment? To help with this decision, the following is a rundown of the more common maintenance strategies. These approaches can be used in combination,

Midwest 84 • October 2020 | Towman.com

depending on the vehicle or equipment, the size of your operation and your maintenance team’s experience.

1. BREAKDOWN MAINTENANCE

This is a straightforward maintenance strategy that requires minimal planning. The vehicle is deliberately operated until it fails. Then the necessary maintenance and repairs are performed to restore the equipment to its normal operating condition. Because repairs are not planned, this maintenance strategy is best suited to nonessential vehicles and equipment. A disadvantage to this approach is that failure is highly unpredictable and tends to occur at the most inopportune times. Another drawback is that repair costs are usually higher than maintenance expenses because a failure often requires more extensive work than would have been necessary if the vehicle had not been run to failure.

2. CORRECTIVE MAINTENANCE

This is maintenance done to identify and correct a problem with equipment and get it back to an operational or optimum condition. Corrective maintenance can be planned/scheduled (a repair is required but doesn’t have to be made right away), or unplanned/unscheduled (when a vehicle shows signs of potential failure or fails unexpectedly). Corrective maintenance is typically less efficient and more costly than preventive, routine or planned maintenance since the work is not planned for in advance.

3. PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE

This is maintenance performed at predetermined intervals or done according to prescribed criteria of time and/or usage. The objective is to increase equipment efficiency, reliability and life by conducting


the scheduled, routine maintenance activities recommended by the OEM to detect and reduce or prevent breakdowns from occurring. A downside to this maintenance strategy is that if maintenance

The challenge is to select the most suitable maintenance strategy. schedules are not regularly monitored, audited and improved, there is the risk of over-scheduling because the maintenance is planned on time or usage rather than actual equipment conditions.

4. CONDITION-BASED MAINTENANCE

This strategy is based on performance monitoring of a vehicle while it is in operation. Real-time data is gathered from sensors and other devices that measure specific conditions against known parameters of failure. Then, action can be taken only when indicators show signs of decreasing performance but before component failure. This allows vehicles and equipment to remain productive for

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • Midwest 85


and performance of in-service equipment rather than on a preset schedule. Predictive maintenance incorporates condition-based maintenance with real-time data that is extracted, integrated and analyzed from a variety of sources, including vehicles and their operating environments. Predictive formulas are used to identify a failure before it occurs so maintenance and repair can be planned and lost time in-service is minimized. as long as possible and helps avoid costly downtime. Moreover, with conditionbased maintenance, rather than scheduling maintenance based on miles or time intervals, maintenance can be performed on an as-needed basis.

5. PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE

Like condition-based maintenance, predictive maintenance is a proactive maintenance strategy intended to improve equipment reliability and decrease downtime. It, too, is based on the actual condition

Midwest 86 • October 2020 | Towman.com

6. RELIABILITY MAINTENANCE

This is a mix of vehicle maintenance strategies, integrated to take advantage of their respective strengths to maximize equipment reliability and cost-effectiveness. Reliability-centered maintenance is an in-depth process that analyzes


component failures and breakdowns for vehicles and then develops a customized maintenance strategy for each individual piece of equipment. The goal is to increase vehicle performance and productivity while reducing maintenance costs.

PLAN, EXECUTE

To lessen the costs associated with equipment maintenance, reduce unplanned expenses for breakdowns and have higher equipment reliability and availability, wisely evaluate the pros and cons of each maintenance strategy. Take into account that each approach has different costs with regard to labor, shop time, replacement parts, maintenance materials and supplies, etc. Once you have decided upon the maintenance strategies that makes sense for your vehicles and equipment, the next step is to implement them. Formulate an execution plan, especially if the strategy is a big shift from how vehicle maintenance is currently done. Determine if additional training for personnel is necessary. Adapt maintenance policies and procedures accordingly. Then monitor the progress and make any adjustments as you go along to further improve things. Regardless of the strategy you use, a well-managed vehicle maintenance approach will: • Lower maintenance costs. • Decrease major repairs. • Reduce costly downtime. • Increase equipment productivity, efficiency, reliability and life … which helps eliminate early vehicle replacement. • Improve equipment safety. • Increase residual values; wellmaintained equipment typically has higher value and trade-in values. This all adds savings to a company’s bottom line.

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • Midwest 87


Midwest 88 • October 2020 | Towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • West 83


Supplier Scoop

NEXT for NAVISTAR Electric Vehicle Customers

Navistar announced its NEXT eMobility Solutions business unit has signed a master services agreement with InCharge Energy, an energy solutions company based in Los Angeles, California, to provide charging infrastructure and consulting services to Navistar and its electric vehicle customers.

West 84 • October 2020 | Towman.com


Since its launch in October, NEXT has focused its eMobility development on a comprehensive “four Cs” approach – Consulting, Construction, Charging and Connecting. This partnership strengthens Navistar’s ability to provide customers with superior support in each of these categories. “With electric vehicles, it’s important to understand that we can provide

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • West 85


the very best bus or truck for our customers, but if they don’t have a partner to show them how to operate it, charge it or take care of it in the long run, it likely won’t be a successful deployment,” said Jason Gies, director, Business Development, Navistar. “This partnership ensures that IC Bus and International Truck customers have the infrastructure support they need to ultimately be successful in electric.” Electrifying a fleet requires much more than just purchasing an electric vehicle. Customers need to consider the impacts on maintenance and facilities such as increased electricity demand, utility upgrades and other factors. “The total cost of ownership with electric vehicles promises to be less than conventional vehicles; however, that is only possible with well-designed charging infrastructure and a trusted partner,” said Cameron Funk, chief executive officer, In-Charge. “Navistar has the right vision and In-Charge is pleased to provide their end-to-end charging solution.”

West 86 • October 2020 | Towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2020 • West 87


West 88 • October 2020 | Towman.com


Episode 187

CopyrightŠ2020 American Towman Magazine. Characters and stories are fictitious; no resemblance to real life characters is intended.


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American Towman Magazine - October 2020  

American Towman Magazine - October 2020