- Father and son share a love of life on the road, even if it makes visits rare
- This driver always makes time to mentor the next generation — whether at home or on the road
- This driver helps rookie truckers learn the ropes
- Home-schooling in a truck means the country is a classroom
- This driver sees the world through Google Glass
- A career trucker brings his tales of the road to people in hospice
- How driver Paul Sedlak finds motivation to reach his fitness goals
- I Love Trucking: More than a job, driving is a way of life
- Big Rig Books: Driver delivers books to underprivileged kids
- Driver Chris Jackson captures moments of beauty on the road
Put the Fun in Functional
Now more than ever, it’s important to get the most bang for your buck when you purchase parts and accessories for your truck. Here are a few items to enhance your rig that are handy, practical/functional, and look good too!
Hood wing or aero style bug shields. There are a lot of manufacturers and styles of bug deflectors, from the small stainless wing style, the smoked acrylic style, to the polished stainless steel aero type. These deflectors really cut down on the bugs that cover your windshield — plus they can add one-tenth or better to your fuel mileage due to the aerodynamic effect created as the air starts up and over your cab.
Roof top air wing or whale tail. If you have a sleeper with no rooftop air foil device, consider adding a bolt-on wing, deflector or small whale tail, and you could see increased fuel mileage by 8-10 percent. That is a pretty substantial savings, and as trends come full circle, the stainless chicken slide type roof wings are lookin’ good again!
Window tint. It may not be legal in all states, but a light window tint on your cab door glass helps take some of the strain off your A/C system and keeps the cab a little cooler in the summer. Don’t go too dark, as it will decrease your ability to see well after the sun goes down.
Seats. The chair on the driver’s side of your rig is your office. Take a little time and inspect various manufacturers and styles to find the one you like best. Spend a little extra money, and get the best one you can afford — after all, this is your office chair and you deserve the best. After eight hours of driving, a good seat can play a big part in how you feel and greatly reduce fatigue.
Frame cover. If your truck is equipped with a small cheesy frame cover that is only two or three feet long, you may want to invest in a frame step and an upgraded frame cover that covers the entire frame from the back of the sleeper to the front of the fifth wheel. These covers are available in extruded aluminum, diamond-plated aluminum, and even in polished stainless steel. Many trailers are set up so the driver would not typically need to climb up on the truck frame to access the nose of the trailer, but if you ever do find it necessary to stand on the frame of your rig to connect to or access the trailer, this is a nice feature that adds a little more safety, functionality and appearance to the truck.
Just for fun. It won’t enhance fuel mileage or reduce fatigue, but a custom floor treatment is a simple way to give your rig that custom look! If you have carpet in the cab/sleeper, you may want to have a hardwood floor or a custom-painted aluminum floorboard installed. These floors are easy to clean and maintain. Simply spray and wipe with Windex or 409, and they are good as new. They do tend to scratch; whereas carpet or OEM rubber won’t have that problem. But, these floors can be painted to match if you go with a smooth metal floorboard, or there are dozens of wood laminates available.
Bryan Martin leads the Chrome Shop Mafia at 4State Trucks in Joplin, Mo.