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What to Consider When Rebuilding Your Diesel Engine

FAQ: Restoring vs Buying New

Every day, all across the country, heavy-duty trucks travel thousands of miles delivering products and keeping our economy flowing. Those miles can be taxing on diesel engines, and without proper care and maintenance, you could find yourself in need of a new one. However, there is another option.

Instead of buying a new engine, you may be able to salvage the one you have by rebuilding it. While the quality of your rebuild depends on the parts and mechanic skills you have, it’s a much cheaper option than purchasing a whole new engine—especially as costs continue to rise.

Is restoring an old engine better than buying a new one?

While it may seem more cost-effective to replace your worn engine with a brand-new one, the fact is rebuilding your engine could save you hundreds of dollars and help you avoid mechanical hurdles.

Overall, it is less expensive to obtain a small repair loan and complete an engine overhaul than it is to finance a new truck. When you buy a new semi, you will be met with a minimum five-year payment plan, eventual repair costs, and more. Repairing/rebuilding your engine will buy you more time with your tried and true truck and save you money in the long run. 

Repairs can be even cheaper (and in some ways easier) if your rig is older. Newer trucks often have computerized systems and components that are expensive and hard to obtain due to the current microchip shortage. However, the parts and labor needed for older semis are relatively easy to get and manage.

To top it all off, older diesel engines are more reliable in some ways. When it comes to your used engine, you know what to expect and prepare for in terms of issues, efficiency, and performance. Plus, engines that have been around for a long time have proven to be longer-lasting, whereas newer engines don’t come with a proven track record.

What you need to know about rebuilding your engine

As previously mentioned, performing proper care and maintenance on your diesel engine ensures optimum performance and longevity. Eventually, you will need to rebuild your engine to improve your truck’s mileage and extend its lifespan. 

When it comes time to rebuild your engine, there are a few things you ought to know. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help.

Q: How do I know if my diesel engine is bad?

The most common ways of detecting a bad diesel engine include:

  • Increased oil consumption
  • Strange sounds coming from your engine
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Issues with engine braking
  • Loss of power/Truck won’t start

–> How to identify when a clutch is failing

Q: When should you rebuild a diesel engine?

Typically, engine rebuilds are performed every 12,000 to 15,000 hours. However, you could extend time in between rebuilds with proper care and maintenance.

Q: How do I know if my engine needs to be rebuilt?

You need to rebuild your engine if:

  • A knocking or buzzing sound is coming from the engine’s bearings.
  • Oil burns on gasoline/Your exhaust smoke has a white hue.

Q: How long will a rebuilt diesel engine last?

If done correctly, an engine rebuild should last more than 100,000 miles. This will depend on the type of engine, however.

Q: What mistakes should I avoid when rebuilding?

The main mistakes to avoid when rebuilding include:

  • Not taking proper measurements of bearing clearances, crankshaft, cylinders, ring end gaps, etc.
  • Not having a clean and organized workstation.
  • Not recording as you dismantle your engine.
  • Using old or worn fasteners or other supplies.
  • Rushing through the process of the rebuild.

Q: Are rebuilt diesel engines reliable?

Yes! It has been proven that engine rebuilds are more reliable, safe, and effective than replacement engines.

Q: How much does an engine rebuild cost?

Engine rebuilds can vary in cost. Everything from the engine’s make to the level of the rebuild can impact the amount you’ll spend. However, the average overhaul cost ranges from $20,000 to $40,000.

–> How to save on diesel emissions repair costs

How a commercial repair loan can help

When your truck engine breaks down or needs parts and repairs, your income and livelihood are put on hold until fixed. And if the repairs or parts required aren’t within your budget, you could be facing quite the predicament. Fortunately, Mission Financial Services can help by offering specialized commercial vehicle repair loans that assist in covering the cost of repairs and help get your rig back on the road

To obtain a commercial vehicle repair loan, you will need to complete and submit three online forms, including a credit application, vehicle spec sheet, and sales order.

Women in the Trucking Industry

It’s officially Women’s History Month! And while women in the trucking industry is nothing new, there has definitely been an increase in the number of females entering the field that has traditionally been male-dominated. 

So, in honor of this month, and International Women’s Day on March 8, we have developed the ultimate trucking guide for women to encourage and aid the industry’s future drivers. This guide will go over how to get started, why more women should enter the field, and why “hiring women drivers is a viable and responsible option for reducing the driver shortage and boosting profitability.”

How to get started as a truck driver

Before starting your career as a truck driver, you will need to obtain proper training and necessary certifications, including a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) license and certificate. To acquire these licenses, you’ll need to complete driving school. However, each state is different, so it’s essential to research your state’s requirements for certification. 

Trucking education and coaching/mentor programs are designed to prepare you for the road ahead and assist you in finding the right job within the industry. Some resources that will help you begin your journey to becoming a driver include:

  • LeadHERtrucking from Women in Trucking (WIT); 
  • Engage Mentor Match through WIT;
  • The Women in Trucking Foundation (WITF) Scholarship
  • WIT Professional Development Certification Training

Once you’ve completed your education and training, it’s time to look for opportunities at companies that are reputable and a good fit for you. 

When it comes to finding a job in the trucking industry, your mentor or trainer may be able to place you in a position that is right for you. However, if you find yourself searching on your own, you can try browsing job boards, bulletins, or company career sites. When vetting these potential workplaces, it’s vital to look for female-specific training options, positive reviews on sites like Glassdoor, a clean track record, and pictures of female drivers on their website.

What makes truck driving a great career for women?

Being a truck driver comes with its fair share of perks that make it a great career choice for women looking to be financially secure and independent, including:

  • Accessible opportunities
  • Competitive salaries
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Full employer benefits
  • Professional training opportunities
  • Thriving freelance market
  • Variety of available jobs and career paths to choose from

Unlike most jobs, truck driving offers reliable income. Plus, it gives drivers the chance to work in an environment free of micromanagement with plenty of opportunities to use unique problem-solving skills. Being a truck driver also allows you to avoid the highly repetitive workforce that most women are corralled into.

Why do women make great truck drivers?

Not only are more and more women becoming interested in truck driving jobs, but recruiters are noticing studies and statistics that prove just how essential women truck drivers are to the industry. 

Here are just 3 of the reasons why women make excellent drivers:

1. Lower driver turnover 

Driver turnover for large fleets typically runs in the 90th percentile, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). However, the driver retention rate for women is much higher, meaning women are more likely to remain with one trucking company for a longer period of time than men. The ability to retain truck drivers allows carriers to avoid turnover and retraining costs, which can be quite expensive and time-consuming.

2. Fewer accidents

Despite the stereotypes, women truck drivers, statistically, are involved in fewer accidents, including rollovers and rear-end collisions. Carriers looking to “boost their profits by curtailing insurance and litigation costs should take note of the reliability and safety records being compiled by women in the truck driving workforce.”

3. Higher mileage 

On average, women in trucking tend to log more miles than men. When drivers are able to keep their wheels turning for longer periods of time, they are able to earn more money for themselves and their employer.

4 tips for women truck drivers

1. Network, Network, Network.

One of the many beauties of being a truck driver is gaining access to the large and strong community of fellow drivers. This network of people is always willing to guide and support new drivers, so take full advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience they offer. Who knows, networking could even help advance your career.

2. Plan your routes.

Planning your routes is a vital component of being a successful truck driver. Not only does it make your job easier by eliminating unnecessary stress, but it also keeps you safer and on time. Need help creating a schedule? Try using scheduling apps and online templates.

3. Find and maintain your support system.

Having a network of fellow professionals is as crucial to your success as having a personal support system when you come home. As a truck driver, you will spend a lot of time on the road, so it is helpful to have people who can handle things at home. This will offer you peace of mind while you are away.

4. Install a CB radio

CB radios have been an essential communication tool for truck drivers and show no signs of disappearing any time soon. Why? Compared to cell phones, CBs are more reliable in areas with poor reception, which can be vital when trying to contact someone for help. Drivers also use them to warn other drivers of upcoming road hazards, traffic, and more.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Top-Selling Transportation Equipment in the U.S.

Over the past two years, a shortage of heavy-duty vehicles has left the shipping industry between a rock and a hard place. This shortage has also caused owners and operators to rely heavily on the trucks they already own or battle for the few that enter the used market. However, depending on your location, some trucks and trailers may not be as readily available as they are in other parts of the country.

In this article, we will break down the top-selling heavy-duty trucks and trailers, what they’re used for, and which regions they are the most popular in.

Most Popular Commercial Trucks and Trailers 

The most commonly sold trucks and trailers include:

  • Box Trucks – Dry Cargo-Delivery: Box trucks (also known as dry cargo-delivery vehicles) are made to transport most goods and products. They are also considered the most common freight vehicle used for shipping. 
  • Cab & Chassis Trucks: These heavy-duty trailers are used when your haul requires unique configurations for safe transportation.
  • Conventional Trucks with a Sleeper & Conventional Day Cab Trucks: Conventional trucks are used for local and regional use, but they also work well for cross-country hauling.
  • Drop Deck Trailers: These trailers are like flatbeds, except they have a lower deck that helps haul taller loads.
  • Dry Van Trailers: Dry vans are typically used for shipments that do not require refrigeration or heating.
  • Dump Trucks: Also known as tippers, dumpers, or tip trucks, dump trucks carry loose materials like construction debris, dirt, or gravel.
  • Flatbed Trailers: Flatbeds are level trailers made from aluminum, wood, and steel and are typically used to haul oversized loads and heavy-duty equipment.
  • Hopper/Grain Trailers: These trailers are designed with sloped sides and multiple hoppers and transport grain and other items in mass quantities.
  • Reefer Trailers: Refrigerated trucks (also known as reefers) are typically used by the meat and dairy industry to transport all perishable food items.

Top-Selling Trucking Equipment by Territory

When it comes to sales, it’s no secret that some products sell better in certain regions. For example, swimsuits and sunscreen tend to sell better in warmer parts of the country, like Florida, as opposed to colder regions, like Alaska. The same idea can be said for heavy-duty equipment, such as trucks and trailers.   

Discover which trucks and trailers pair best with which regions below:

Central

  • Conventional Trucks with a Sleeper
  • Conventional Day Cab Trucks
  • Flatbed Trailers
  • Dry Van Trailers
  • Drop Deck Trailers

North Central

  • Conventional Day Cab Trucks
  • Conventional Trucks with a Sleeper
  • Dump Trucks
  • Hopper/Grain Trailers
  • Box Trucks – Dry Cargo-Delivery

South Central

  • Conventional Trucks with a Sleeper
  • Conventional Day Cab Trucks
  • Flatbed Trailers
  • Dump Trucks
  • Box Trucks – Dry Cargo-Delivery

Mid Atlantic

  • Conventional Trucks with a Sleeper
  • Conventional Day Cab Trucks
  • Dump Trucks
  • Flatbed Trailers
  • Reefer Trailers

Great Lakes

  • Conventional Trucks with a Sleeper
  • Conventional Day Cab Trucks
  • Dump Trucks
  • Flatbed Trailers
  • Dry Van Trailers

Western

  • Conventional Trucks with a Sleeper
  • Conventional Day Cab Trucks
  • Reefer Trailers
  • Dry Van Trailers
  • Cab & Chassis Trucks

North Eastern

  • Conventional Day Cab Trucks
  • Conventional Trucks with a Sleeper
  • Dump Trucks
  • Box Trucks – Dry Cargo-Delivery
  • Cab & Chassis Trucks

South Eastern

  • Conventional Trucks with a Sleeper
  • Conventional Day Cab Trucks
  • Reefer Trailers
  • Dry Van Trailers
  • Flatbed Trailers

Mountain West

  • Conventional Trucks with a Sleeper
  • Conventional Day Cab Trucks
  • Reefer Trailers
  • Flatbed Trailers
  • Dump Trucks
Image Credit: TruckPaper.com

Why a repair loan is important now more than ever

Don’t let the cost of repairs and the current truck shortage slow you down. As a truck driver, your vehicle is your lifeline. When it breaks down or needs parts and repairs, your income and livelihood are on the line. And if the repairs or parts required aren’t within your budget, you could be facing quite the predicament. Fortunately, companies like Mission Financial Services can help by offering specialized commercial vehicle repair loans. These loans assist in covering the cost of repairs and help get your rig back on the road

To obtain a commercial vehicle repair loan, you will need to complete and submit three online forms, including a credit application, vehicle spec sheet, and sales order.

Usage-Based Insurance (UBI): What Owner-Operators Need to Know

The world of insurance has dramatically evolved over the last few years. Companies once offered basic plans for a standard rate. Now, they offer a host of customizable options at different prices and programs that give you the chance to save money. For example, some insurance companies now offer mobile apps or devices that plug into your vehicle and monitor your driving habits. If you prove to be a safe driver, you can save on your monthly costs. This new type of insurance could be transformative to those who own and operate small fleets.

Recently, many providers have introduced a new category of insurance called “usage-based insurance,” or UBI for short. Like the previously mentioned program, usage-based insurance uses different mediums to track drivers’ habits. However, UBI generally focuses on the number of miles one has driven or the usage of the covered vehicle and bills accordingly, hence the name usage-based. This type of plan makes it possible for owner-operators to save significantly on liability insurance and only pay monthly instead of in full.

Let’s discuss usage-based insurance in a little more detail to determine if it’s right for you.

What is usage-based insurance?

In today’s world, there has never been a higher demand for the work of a truck driver. However, like many industries, there are moments of delay or total standstill. It’s for these reasons that those who own and operate the world’s fleets need coverage that offers flexibility.

Usage-based insurance is innovative and customer-centric, offering flexibility and a way for owner-operators to get precisely what they need from their coverage—nothing more, nothing less. Unlike most insurance plans requiring upfront payment and charge fees for excess cargo, UBI allows fleet owners to increase their operational efficiency, minimize their monthly spending, and mitigate load and risks by only paying for coverage when needed.

What are the advantages of UBI?

Advantages of usage-based insurance include:

  • You get great discounts and savings. Most insurance companies who offer UBI also offer a 10-25% premium discount for responsible driving. Plus, you may continue to receive this discount every year if you continue to qualify.
  • Employees can be tracked. Typically, with usage-based insurance, the covered vehicle and driver will receive a physical device or mobile app that provides geofencing and alerts you if the vehicle has gone outside of the predefined limits or even exceeds the speed limit.
  • Drivers will gain better driving habits. As previously mentioned, most UBI coverage includes a telematics device that allows you to monitor your drivers. So, if they brake too hard, drive above the speed limit, or use evasive maneuvers, you’ll know. This “eye on the inside” will allow you to address these unsafe driving habits and save money as they improve.
  • Accident investigations are easily handled. If the insured vehicle is involved in a collision, it’s easier for the authorities and claim investigators to pinpoint the cause of the accident, leading to a more accurate claim.

What are the disadvantages of usage-based insurance?

Disadvantages of usage-based insurance include:

  • It doesn’t recognize defensive driving. As mentioned above, telematics devices can monitor one’s driving habits and report them back to the insurance company. However, there are many instances where drivers must use defensive driving skills to avoid an accident. In many cases, these monitors cannot know the difference between reckless driving and protective measures.
  • Privacy risks included. The trackers used with usage-based insurance store a ton of data, including driving information, location, and more. This data is then linked to your name and stored in a database. How this information can be used past the insurance company is vague, especially since they must always be on, or you risk losing your savings.
  • It can be somewhat of a hassle. For companies with a more extensive fleet, the installation process and overall learning curve require a large amount of effort that may or may not be worth the savings.

Is usage-based insurance the right choice?

There are a few things that can help determine if usage-based insurance is right for you and your fleet.

Usage-based insurance may be right for you if:

  • You travel less than 11,500 miles per year.
  • You are a safe and responsible driver.
  • You don’t mind being monitored by your insurance provider.

If you answered ‘yes’ to these three things, then you may want to look into a usage-based insurance plan.

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5 Ways Truck Drivers Can Avoid Heart Disease

Spreading Heart-Health Awareness This American Heart Month

Question: What’s the leading cause of death in the United States of America and claims more than 650,000 lives each year? The answer: heart disease. 

Luckily, research and new technology have given medical professionals the tools to know more about the condition, prevent it, and treat it quicker than ever before. Despite the extraordinary progress that’s been made, there’s still more that can be done.

This American Heart Month, we celebrate by sharing information regarding the prevention of heart disease to eradicate the illness further. In this article, we will go over heart disease and discuss the top five ways truck drivers can avoid it.

What are the different types of heart disease?

Heart disease is a general term referring to any condition that affects one’s cardiovascular system. Overall, the disease comes in several variations, and they all can have severe impacts on the body.

Different types of heart disease include:

  • Coronary Artery Disease: Coronary artery disease (also known as coronary heart disease) develops when the blood supply to the heart becomes clogged. It is known as the most common type of heart disease. 
  • Congenital Heart Defects: Those with a congenital heart defect are born with it. There are three main types of defects, including atypical heart valves, septal defects, and atresia.
  • Arrhythmia: An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat that occurs when the electrical impulses controlling one’s heartbeat make it beat incorrectly. The variations of arrhythmias include tachycardia, bradycardia, premature contractions, and atrial fibrillation.
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy: A dilated cardiomyopathy is when the heart chambers become enlarged, and it is often caused by arrhythmias, genetics, past heart attacks, and toxins.   
  • Myocardial Infarction: A myocardial infarction (also known as a heart attack) is caused by an interruption of blood flow to the heart, which in turn causes damage to the muscle.
  • Heart Failure: Heart failure is the slow deterioration of one’s heart due to untreated arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and other health conditions.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This condition affects the heart muscle by thickening the walls of the heart and making regular contractions more difficult, thus affecting the heart’s ability to circulate blood to the body. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy commonly develops from inherited genetic issues and conditions. 
  • Mitral Valve Regurgitation: Mitral valve regurgitation happens when the heart’s mitral valve does not close properly, and blood flows back into the heart.
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse: A mitral valve prolapse is caused by the heart’s valve flaps not closing correctly and pushing into the left atrium.
  • Aortic Stenosis: An aortic stenosis happens when the pulmonary valve becomes thick or fuses, preventing it from opening correctly making it harder for the heart to pump blood.

5 Ways Truck Drivers Can Avoid Heart Disease

It’s no secret that most truck drivers are forced into a lifestyle that puts them at a greater risk for health conditions, including heart disease. The main factors contributing to this high risk for heart disease are poor sleep, smoking, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and high-stress levels.  

Luckily, truck drivers can significantly reduce their risk and live long and prosperous lives by implementing a few healthy habits.

1. Get your rest.

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to your well-being, especially your heart health. Unfortunately, a full eight hours is not always possible for America’s truck drivers. However, science has proven that adults who regularly get less than seven hours of sleep per night are at a greater risk for conditions such as heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.

To help truck drivers get the best sleep possible, we recommend:

  1. Parking your rig in a safe and quiet area
  2. Blocking out as much light as possible with curtains or shades
  3. Use an eye mask and earplugs to help block out irritants

2. Quit smoking.

For years, we’ve seen numerous warnings about smoking and the damaging effects it can have on one’s health. A recent study showed that 51% of truck drivers smoke cigarettes, thus increasing their risk for heart disease by four times. Smoking cigarettes also increases the chances of dying from heart disease by three times. Fortunately, there are many ways to help break this unhealthy habit, including nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation hypnosis, and all can be done while on the road.

3. Follow a healthy diet.

Working as a truck driver means long hours on the road with few opportunities for a healthy meal. You can make subtle changes to your diet by stocking your rig with healthy snack options.

These options include:

  • Fruit
  • Granola bars
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Hummus with veggies or crackers
  • Nuts

When you stop at a fast-food restaurant for a full meal, opt for one of the healthier options, including salads, protein wraps, or sandwiches.

4. Get regular exercise.

A lack of exercise can increase your risk of severe health conditions, including diabetes, weight gain, certain cancers, and heart disease. To avoid these health concerns, try to exercise several times a day for three to 10 minutes. This can be done before you start your day, during your breaks, or after you’ve finished your day. It’s essential not to overexert yourself and to start slow. In the beginning, stretch, squat, and walk your way to health for at least 12 minutes a day.

5. Manage your stress levels.

As many can imagine, stress and anxiety can put a strain on your mind, body, and soul. Those who experience frequent high levels of stress are more likely to experience heart disease.

To reduce stress, try these techniques:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Visualization
  • Stretching

For more information on American Heart Month and heart disease, visit heart.org!

How is the Microchip Shortage Affecting Truck Prices in 2022?

In 2021, a supply and demand conflict sparked significant issues within the automotive industry. These struggles spilled over into the trucking industry and left many drivers in a state of shock and awe.

The production of heavy-duty trucks has not only faced incredibly high demand but has also grappled with the continuous constraints of the supply chain. All of this has led to less than ideal prices and unlucky drivers. However, those that find themselves in a seller’s position may have the upper hand in this scenario.

In this article, we will discuss how the current heavy-duty truck market has been affected by the microchip shortage that began in 2021 and take a look at how it may impact the months to come.

What caused the microchip shortage?

The current microchip shortage results from several issues that started in 2020 and have carried through into today’s market. Along with the shutdowns of many manufacturing plants and shipping facilities worldwide, makers of semiconductor microchips have faced extremely high demand for several industries outside of automotive

When the world went into lockdown, many automakers canceled their orders for the microchips, while those who made computers, televisions, and other electronics requested more than usual. Once the world began opening up again, automakers put in their orders and competed against the electronics industry in hopes of making and releasing their highly-anticipated 2021 and 2022 models. However, the world’s top microchip producers couldn’t meet the increasing demand due to a series of natural disasters that forced many facilities into yet another shutdown. 

To this day, manufacturers and shippers of the semiconductors are still attempting to restore balance and fulfill orders. However, experts aren’t sure when or if producers will pull it all together.

So, how does all of this affect the pricing of heavy-duty trucks?

How is the microchip shortage impacting truck prices?

The semiconductor shortage and supply chain disruptions have caused heavy-duty truck factories to fall short in terms of meeting consumer demands. For instance, in July of 2021, Class 8 manufacturers built a total of 14,920 units, whereas only a year prior, the factories were able to produce 262,100 units.

These struggles with production have caused prices to rise continuously, leaving large fleets out of luck. With the world’s economy flowing and freight rates at the highest they’ve been in years, the demand for medium and heavy-duty trucks has never been higher. Other transportation industries, including container shipping, are also experiencing steady price increases, which only further impacts the price of new trucks.

Supply and demand have also justifiably increased the price of used vehicles this year. This rise in value has given those in possession of used heavy-duty trucks the upper hand. But those searching for additions to their fleet may find themselves at yet another disadvantage. According to ACT Research, the average value of used Class 8 vehicles is 68% higher than they were in the previous year, and the average miles and ages of the vehicles are up to 5% lower. For example, the price of a three-year-old heavy-duty truck with approximately 400,000 miles on it would quickly sell for six figures, according to an ACT researcher. However, a year ago, the exact vehicle would not have sold for more than $70,000. 

With no practical solution in sight, many in the industry anticipate a continuous increase in prices for both new and used Class 8 vehicles as we move through 2022.

More like this:

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Where Did All of the Trucks Go?

How to Retain Your Top Drivers During a Shortage

How the Supply Chain Problem will Impact the Holiday Season

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