Today's Trucking
opinions Rolf Lockwood

BIG ISSUE, SIMPLE FIXES

Posted: March 3, 2014 by Rolf Lockwood

November 2, 2011 Vol. 7, No. 24

Wheel security will always be an issue, in spite of endless service bulletins and instructional videos and training programs. I mean, truck wheels and hubs and bearings and all that are mechanical things, and mechanical things fail. Worse, maintenance practices are sometimes a bit hit and miss with some trucking operations, to be charitable. Simple ignorance often plays a role. Put all of that together and we’ll have wheel-off issues as long there are wheels to roll.

However, things have changed with the advent of very stringent safety laws and what amounts to a no-tolerance approach via the CSA 2010 regime. Quite apart from the moral demand that owners keep their trucks safe, the practical need to do so has jumped up the priority ladder a rung or two in the last year.

And I guess that explains why there’s been serious interest in the wheel-security things I’ve been posting on todaystrucking.com through this newsletter.

I wrote about the simple little Hub Alert decal from Toronto’s Spectra Products recently, for example, and company principal Andy Malion reports that his phone’s been ringing off the hook. I exaggerate, but not a lot.

To remind you, it’s a one-time-use, heat-sensing label that will alert you to above-normal wheel-end operating temperature by a simple colour change. Cheap as hell and very effective, assuming someone takes the time to look. The sensor decal will turn from white to black once the hub/hubcap surface has reached the critical temperature.

As I wrote at the time, catching bearing and seal issues early will reduce the need for over-the-road emergency repairs and will avoid additional and costly repairs due to a failure. Might prevent a fire, for that matter, and could even save a life or two.

THE THING IS, SIMPLE SOLUTIONS like that are not in short supply. This week I posted another one on todaystrucking.com, the Lug-Lock from SKF.

SKF’s lug-lock device is designed to warn of a loosened wheel nut before it backs off the stud, providing a timely flag when a nut needs re-torqueing. It slips over the nut and grips tightly. Made in the U.S. of a premium-grade polymer, for virtually all two-piece wheel-nut systems, it’s said to resist water, road salt, and debris.

It’s actually a re-design of a product I wrote about back in June of 2008, I’ve realized. It looked familiar, and after wracking my tiny brain for a while, I got it. Impressive piece of recall for an oldish guy, I must say.

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