Ever found yourself in a pinch at a rest stop desperately looking for the perfect tool for the job? Are you wondering what to have handy for your next pre- or post-trip inspection? Maybe it’s your first drive and you are looking for a professional’s checklist on what tools to bring. Look no further! Below we have listed the 10 essential tools every trucker needs to have on standby for all their drives.
1) Small Toolbox
This seems like a given but we are really emphasizing the word small here. You’re going to want something effective and compact that will allow you to optimize your space. It’s important to keep all your tools together for when you need them while also allowing yourself plenty of room for the other essentials that you need to keep handy in your travel kit.
2) Standard Hand Tools and Socket Set
When you are out on the road, you never know what types of repairs you are going to have to make on your rig, or what tools you will need for the job. This is why we recommend keeping a 200-piece set of vises, screw drivers, nuts, and bolts for you to keep in your cab. Most of the time, these sets can go on sale for a decent price, so do not worry about overspending on a kit. If you use it well and take care of it, it will last you a lifetime!
You will want to make sure that you keep a wide range of sizes of this tool with you. The 5-inch size is great for any minor repairs in your cab or on any accessories and furnishings. The 6, 7.25, 10, and 12-inch sizes, however, are great for more demanding jobs that need taking care of on your truck. Like when you need to pull the release arm off your truck’s trailer tandem, for instance.
4) Duct Tape
We, personally, are big fans of clear duct tape and gorilla tape for quick fixes around your truck. Let’s say you find a bald spot on one of your truck’s wires when you’re stopping to do your inspection. With some wire cutters, duct tape, and a careful hand, you will be able to cut and splice the wires in need of repair, which can buy you some time to safely drive to a semi-truck repair shop to get your vehicle serviced.
Clear duct tape and gorilla tape can also be used to provide an extra barrier of protection between any important stickers and placards on your truck and the harsh elements of rain, wind, snow, and gravel. Getting marked up by the Department of Transportation for obscured stickers and placards can be fairly damaging to a trucker’s reputation as a good driver, so it’s important that you make sure these important signs are clearly visible and easy to read.
A multimeter or VOM is a useful tool that can help you measure the current, voltage, and resistance of a wiring circuit. Truckers especially like to use them to test their batteries or other wires on their truck that they suspect might be malfunctioning. However, we do not recommend trying to fix a wiring problem on your own. As we mentioned earlier, you may make small repairs to some wires, but only to buy you enough time to get you over to a semi-truck repair shop as soon as possible.
6) Air Pressure Gauge and Gladhand
While many truckers will use tools like rubber mallets and crowbars to thump tires and do a soundcheck for tire pressure, this is not a strategy we would recommend. Making sure your truck’s tires are filled with just the right amount of air is crucial in keeping all wheels running smoothly while you are out on the road. To do this, you need to get an extremely accurate reading on tire pressure which the sound check does not provide, but an air pressure gauge can give you that. Use this tool with two hoses and a gladhand to connect them to air a tire from the compressor in the truck.
This multipurpose tool will be your best friend when you are out on the road with your truck. You can use it to remove nails from a tailer bed before you load your trailer or to pry open crates and break down wooden pallets. This can help you make a little more space in the back of the truck and keep your load light as you go to different weigh stations on your trip.
Like the crowbar, this is another versatile tool that will help you on your drives out on the road. For instance, when you’re out on the road in frigid climates, it is a good idea to keep this tool on you in case you need to release your truck’s frozen brakes. But you can damage your brakes if this is not done in the proper way, so make sure to look up tutorials that show you how to do this correctly. Staying on this trend of talking about trucks and ice, hammers are also good for knocking off ice from frozen padlocks and latches on your rig, but again, be sure to be careful. You can also use the hammer as a hook to pull the fifth wheel release up on your truck, or to open the flanges of that gladhand mentioned in #6.
You will want to keep a couple sizes of this tool with you in your truck: a small and a large one. The small flashlight can be used to check for 5th wheel coupling, and the large flashlight can help with pre- and post-trip inspections of the vehicle in the early morning or late at night.
Gloves can not only keep your hands warm on cold drives, but they can also help eliminate cuts and scratches when you’re out fixing your rig. We recommend keeping three different pairs on you: canvas gloves, leather gloves, and winter gloves. The canvas gloves are versatile and can be used for all sorts of work with the previously mentioned tools or chains. Leather gloves are especially useful for when you’re re-fueling or when checking oil and belts. Be sure to invest in ones made of soft, deerskin leather. The winter gloves you’ll buy will also need to be durable. These will also come in handy when you must work outside in the cold for long hours.
Bonus: A Certified Diesel Solutions Business Card
While it’s important and necessary to have a reliable set of tools on hand for you to be able to make inspections and repairs to your tractor trailer while you’re out on the road, there are just some things that pliers and some duct tape can’t fix. When you need to take your rig in to get fixed, drive down to Certified Diesel Solutions (CDS). Our tight-knit team of diesel mechanics are all ASE certified and expertly trained in using the latest tools and diagnostic equipment, so you can trust us with all your vehicle’s needs—from an A/C repair to a complete engine overhaul. We take the time to get to know you and your truck because we want you to know someone’s looking out for you while you’re on the road.
A Knoxville TN Mechanic Shop
If you’re ready for a routine inspection—or maybe it’s time to take a closer look at that diesel engine—turn to a semi-truck repair service you can trust. Visit us at 5320 S. National Drive Knoxville, TN 37914 or call us today at 865-964-6598.