Guide to Safe Transport of Forklifts

Ensuring safety is not just important when operating forklift equipment but also during occasional transportation of the equipment to different sites. Forklift towing is one of the toughest jobs fleet managers encounter. Aside from being tasked with the responsibility of moving heavy machinery from one location to another, these managers are also expected to make sure the job is done with safety being given the utmost priority.

Forklift transport is not an easy job, but if you know how to go about it like an expert, you should not have any problems safely delivering your machinery at the location where it is needed. Here are some important tips you should keep in mind.

Select the right mode of transport: Forklift machines come in different sizes. The bigger the size of a machine, the heavier its weight. Therefore, the first thing to take into consideration is the weight of the machine you want to transport. Smaller forklifts may fit well at the back of large flatbed towing trucks. Plus, their relatively small weight shouldn’t be a problem for a powerful truck to manage. But if you are going to transport a medium to large-sized machine, you might need something a bit larger than a towing truck. Usually, a tractor trailer will be the safest choice.

Get secure restraints for the machine: Once you have selected the safest mode of transport, you will have to shift attention to how you can secure the load at the loading area. Load securing is the most important part of the entire transport process because it affects the ability of your load to remain steady throughout the time it is being moved. Drive the forklift onto your trailer or into the back of your flatbed truck and tie it down with chains, tie-downs, come-alongs, straps, and any other items that may be needed for securing it. Secure the forklift wheels by placing wood obstructs at the back of each wheel. Make sure the forks of the machine are lowered and pointed toward the rear end of the trailer/flatbed. This way, the forks will not penetrate into the cab of the freight vehicle and cause injury in the event of a road accident. 

Stop fuel supply and disengage the battery: Cut off the supply of gasoline or diesel from the fuel tank, and make sure the tank is tightly closed so that no fuel can spill out during transport. Remove the battery terminal from the battery to minimise the risk of arcing.

Learn More

How to cope with common car problems

As a car owner, you will almost certainly encounter one or two problems with your vehicle at some point, particularly if it is old, or second-hand. As such, it’s a good idea to learn how to cope with the car issues that tend to occur most frequently. Here are two such issues, along with some advice on how to handle them.

A flat battery

If you often use your car for short journeys, live in a cold climate or have a vehicle that is old, it’s quite likely that your battery will eventually stop working. The good news is that in most cases, it is relatively easy to remedy this problem. If the battery dies whilst you are on the road, pull over to a safe spot. If you have a family member or friend who owns jumper cables and is available to assist you, then you should be able to jump-start the vehicle with their help. Whilst it can be useful to keep some jumper cables stored in your car, it should be noted that you will still need a second person to help you with the jump-starting process.

Additionally, it’s worth remember that jumps-tarting is only a temporary solution; if the battery goes flat once, it will probably do so again in the future. Because of this, it’s important to have it checked out by a qualified mechanic as soon as you can.

If you don’t know anyone with jumper cables and do not have roadside breakdown cover, you may need to have the vehicle towed. Car towing prices can vary, depending on which company you use and how far you need your vehicle transported. You should prepare for this situation before it occurs; do your research and find a local towing business that offers a service within your price range. Then, make sure to keep their contact details in the glove box of your car, so that you can get in touch with them if you need to.

A flat tyre

Even if you have roadside breakdown cover, it’s sensible to teach yourself (or have someone show you) how to change a flat tyre. Along with the above-mentioned dead battery, a flat tyre is one of the most common problems car owners are likely to experience. You can look online for free video tutorials on changing tyres, or check your owner’s manual for instructions.

Before you begin to change the tyre, it’s essential to find a safe spot in which to park the vehicle and to check that your hazard lights are on.  

Make sure that you keep all of the tools you will need to complete this task in your car at all times; in addition to the essentials (a spare tyre, a lug wrench and a jack), it may also be helpful to keep a few other items in your boot. Things like a headlamp or flashlight, a fluorescent warning triangle, and a raincoat will be of great use if you need to change the tyre on a rainy night. Additionally, a pair of gloves and a mat to kneel on will keep your clothes and hands clean during this process. 

Learn More

Five Extra Services to Look for When Choosing a Metal Fabricator

If you are trying to choose a metal fabricator, there are multiple factors you should consider such as experience and customer reviews. However, you also want to look for a fabricator that offers the services you need. While all metal fabricators cut metal to size, some offer additional services as well. Take a look at some of the services you may want to look for:

1. Machining

Machining is offered by many metal fabricators. This process also refers to cutting metal, but typically machining is saved for smaller, more precise metal parts. As a result, if you have a range of metal fabrication needs, you may want to select a fabricator who also does machining, as they can help you with everything from small metal parts to large pieces of sheet metal.

2. Molding or Casting

Rather than just working with sheet metal, some fabricators can cast metal for you. This process involves setting up a mold, pouring molten metal into it and then waiting for the metal to set. It’s a great way to get unique shapes of metal for your project.

3. Metal Stamping

If you tend to create pieces of metal that you want marked with your logo, your company name, or any other decorative embellishments, you may also want to select a fabricator who offers stamping. This process involves placing the metal into a stamping press which uses dies to create shapes or stamps in the metal.

4. Welding

Welding is a fairly common offering at most metal fabrication shops, and it can be essential for some metal designs. In particular, if the fabricator cannot make the type of metal you want out of a single piece, he or she may need to weld the pieces together. When choosing a fabricator, talk with them about their experience welding and what type of welding they offer. If you like, you may also want to look into the other methods the fabricator uses to put together pieces of metal. For example, some fabricators use a process called crimping, and you may want that available from the company with which you decide to work.

5. Coating

Finally, consider exactly what you want the metal to be like when it’s done. In particular, if you are likely to want a coating for rust resistance, decoration or any other reason, you need to choose a fabricator that offers coating services. Even if you don’t want coating on your existing project, it’s great to have it as an option for future projects.

Need more help choosing a metal fabricator? Contact one directly to hear more about what these companies offer.

Learn More

When Is a Diesel Engine the Better Buy for Your Vehicle?

A diesel engine is usually chosen for its overall strength; it’s typically found in heavy-duty cars and trucks and any vehicle that will be towing or pulling any type of load. However, this is not the only time when diesel may be the better option for your vehicle’s engine. If you’re looking at new vehicles and don’t assume you need a diesel engine because you don’t necessarily tow or pull anything behind you, consider some other factors that might make diesel the better choice.

Resale value

You may not be doing any towing with your truck or car in the future, but would future car buyers prefer a diesel engine in your vehicle in particular? For example, you might be considering an SUV just for the interior room, but a future car buyer might want this type of vehicle for towing a caravan for family vacations. Check on the resale value of your preference and note the difference between a diesel engine and standard petrol engine and how these affect its value.

Emissions

Diesel engines emit less CO2 than standard petrol engines. You may be concerned about how CO2 affects the environment, but note that in some areas, car taxes or road taxes are sometimes based on the overall emissions produced by an engine. You might check with your local department of motor vehicles and note if the taxes you would pay on the vehicle, fees for renewing your registration, or any other such costs would be affected by the emissions produced by your vehicle. Depending on the vehicle’s weight and other such factors, a diesel engine may mean lower road taxes for the life of your vehicle ownership.

Your driving habits

A diesel engine may need to work less strenuously during highway driving than a petrol engine. If you drive on the freeway quite often, this can mean better fuel economy with a diesel engine.

Consider, too, if you do any off-roading with your vehicle. You may not think of the strength of a diesel engine when you’re simply driving on a beach or along the outback or other such rough terrain, but if your vehicle gets stuck, you may need a more powerful engine to pull it out from sand, mud, and the like. Investing in a diesel engine for a vehicle you take off-roading, even on occasion, can keep you safe and help you forego the need for a tow truck to drag the vehicle back to solid ground.

Learn More

Brake Trouble? 3 Plausible Symptoms Of A Failed Brake Master Cylinder

A brake master cylinder is an integral part of the hydraulic system of your car’s brakes because it converts power placed on the brake pedal into hydraulic pressure to slow your car down. Identifying a specific problem with the brake master cylinder can be difficult for a person with little experience, so it’s best left to experienced brake specialists. This guide offers you plausible symptoms of a failed brake master cylinder so that you can head to a professional immediately.

Abnormally Functioning Brake Pedal

If you find your brake pedal working abnormally or if it is unresponsive, then there is a strong possibility that the problem lies with the master cylinder. Since the master cylinder provides requisite pressure for the brakes to operate, a failed master cylinder will lead to a lack of pressure when you step on the brake pedal. The brake pedal may start to feel loose or spongy and will hit the floor too quickly. Experienced brake specialists will need to examine the entire system before getting to the exact cause.

Contaminated Brake Fluid  

Another sign of a failed brake master cylinder is when your brake fluid is contaminated. The brake fluid reservoir is set on the master cylinder and enables the pressure provided by the master cylinder. Over time, outside impurities and dirt can enter the brake fluid reservoir and contaminate the brake fluid. Sometimes, the rubber seals found around the reservoir in the master cylinder can break down and contaminate the brake fluid. This will prevent the master cylinder from functioning at the right pressure, which will impact your entire braking system.

Leaking Brake Fluid

If you find that your brake fluid levels are abnormally low, then there could be a leakage in your master cylinder. Leakages can also occur in the metal brake lines that go to the master cylinder. Worn out or leaking brake lines may result in your brake pedal becoming too hard to press down. Brake fluid can also leak through the O-rings inside the cylinder. Fluid can also leak through the rubber grommets that hold the plastic reservoirs and are attached to the master cylinders. Any leaks in the hydraulic chambers of the master cylinder will also affect the functionality of the master cylinder. Identifying the source of the leak is best left to experienced brake specialists because of the complexity of the braking system.  

The best way to avoid master cylinder damage is to get your car checked regularly. If you notice any of these problems, head to experienced brake specialists immediately to prevent them from getting worse.

Learn More

Renting a Car: How to Overcome the Petrol Pricing Problem

How do you like to get around when you’re on holiday or on a business trip? Depending on your schedule (and the quality of the transport network at your destination), public transport might be perfectly adequate. If you’re on a tight schedule and need to visit numerous places at your destination, then you might be looking for a car to rent in the city you’re travelling to. You have probably heard about the so-called petrol problem when it comes to rental cars. This is essentially a surcharge that can be applied when you fail to return the vehicle with a full tank of petrol. Of course you want to avoid this surcharge if possible, so what can you do to overcome it?

Schedule a Refill

It’s really just a question of scheduling enough time to fill the car up before you return it. This can be easier said than done. On the last day of your trip, you might be more concerned with checking out of your accommodation and getting to the airport in time for your flight. So really, you just need to allocate enough time to fill up the car at a competitively-priced petrol station. You could consider making use of a real-time petrol price app. This allows you to find the best price en route to returning the car at the rental depot, thus avoiding the petrol surcharge entirely.

Prepaid Petrol

Some car rental companies offer the option of a prepaid tank of petrol. But how does this work?

  • You still pay a surcharge, and this covers the cost of refilling the vehicle once it has been returned. You will pay significantly less than if you had not opted for this inclusion and then returned the car without a full tank of petrol.
  • The cost of the surcharge varies from company to company and also changes as petrol prices change. You should enquire about the price before committing to the rental. Cross reference the car rental company’s price for prepaid petrol with the average price of petrol in the area (which you should check beforehand).
  • You should also remember that you will not be compensated for any petrol that might be left in the tank when you return the car. The surcharge covers a full tank of petrol, and you will pay the same regardless of whether the rental company needs to refill the entire tank or only to top it up.

These options are cheaper than if you were to return the vehicle without a full tank of petrol and no prepaid scheme. It’s really important that you remember to take care of the petrol issue when you rent a car, otherwise you might be out of pocket.

Learn More

How to Prolong the Life of Your Automatic Transmission

If you have an automatic transmission, you might not pay much attention to it unless you deal with severe issues. However, by this point, you are already at risk of replacing it, which is a very expensive repair. To prevent this from happening, follow these easy tips for prolonging the life of your transmission.

Keep an Eye On the Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid is a lot more important than you might think, and just as important as your water and oil. Make sure you are checking the fluid regularly, including the levels and the condition. If the transmission fluid turns from a pink or red colour to a cloudy brown colour, it probably needs to be flushed and replaced. On the other hand, if you notice it looks fine, but the level seems to be going down rapidly, you probably have a leak somewhere. Make sure you tend to any potential leaks or other problems with the fluid before it turns into a more serious problem.

Have the Cooling System Inspected

The cooling system in your car is not just important for the engine, but for the transmission as well. It helps to keep the transmission cool, since heat can be very bad for it. You will need to make sure the cooling system is always in good condition by checking the radiator for cracks and the hoses for any potential holes or cracks. Also make sure the thermostat is working and that there is an adequate amount of water and antifreeze. If you have issues with the cooling system, have them fixed right away before it affects your transmission.

Be Easy On the Car When Its Cold

Most automatic transmissions need a few minutes before they heat up to the desired temperature. Try to sit in your car while it heats up for several minutes before you start to drive. If you can’t do that, at least drive slowly and cautiously during those first few minutes while the transmission heats up. This can help protect the transmission and avoid premature issues with it.

Get Your Car Serviced

Having your car serviced with a tune-up and inspection is something you need to do for the transmission and other parts of the car. These inspections are important for letting the various components last longer and looking for potential repairs that need to be done. Bring your car for servicing on a routine basis, making sure they look over the transmission thoroughly.

Learn More