Friday, November 10, 2006

To Veterans

Thank you very much for your service to our country. Happy Veterans Day. Even though the election is over, let's make sure we keep an eye on our politicians and make sure they take care of the people who put their lives at risk to take care of us! As the last three elections have shown us, every vote counts! Democrat or Republican or Independent-- we all have to take care of returning soldiers, as well as the ones that are currently in harm's way.

Auto Tie-Down Wheel Straps for Take 3, Kaufman, etc.

This is the sweetest set-up for securing cars to wedge trailers that I've ever seen!
I know a lot of guys like to use a ratchet and the 8 foot lasso straps with loop or steel ring, but that type of tie-down was originally designed to secure vehicles to a wheel lift while in tow. A wheel lift has a concave shape that the wheel fits inside,plus a towed vehicle is also secured by tow chains, so the lasso strap or wheel lift strap just keeps the wheel of the vehicle from bouncing out during transport.

If you have a wedge type carhauler, and you want to use wheel strap tie-downs, you have two basic choices if your trailer came with diamond plate decking.

1. Take a plasma cutter and cut holes in the deck so that you can use the wheel straps designed for open car haulers like Cottrell, Boydstun JM Trailer, Delavan, etc. This way, the vehicle is hooked directly into the structure of the trailer, and you're not securing by friction alone.

2. Use a double strap, cinch-style tie-down like the one pictured above. The advantage to a double cinch is that it will not loosen, and it is truly adjustable. The old-school style basket tire harnesses (or wheel bonnets as some call them) are not really one-size-fits-all. The larger basket strap gets hung up on the inside of the tire, and you run the risk of doing damage to brake lines on some low profile cars.

That picture above is of a strap manufactured by Starr Manufacturing. It is model SP-EBSIDESTRAP.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Toyota posts massive profits

Carhaulers, you'd better start learning how to tie down Toyotas!

This is from Reuters:
TOKYO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T: Quote, NEWS, Research) reported a 44 percent rise in quarterly operating profit on Tuesday as healthy sales, cost cuts and a soft yen offset higher raw materials prices, and it lifted its forecasts for the full year.

Operating profit at the world's second-biggest auto maker totalled 581.0 billion yen ($4.92 billion) for the July-September second quarter, outpacing an average estimate of 527.6 billion yen in a survey of six brokers by Reuters Estimates.

Net profit jumped 34 percent to 405.7 billion yen, compared with a market estimate for 372.5 billion yen.

Toyota, worth $215 billion and the world's most valuable car maker, now expects a full-year operating profit of 2.2 trillion yen and net profit of 1.55 trillion yen. Three months ago, it projected a record group operating profit of 1.9 trillion yen and net profit of 1.31 trillion yen for the year to March 2007.

Japan's top auto maker has been expanding rapidly in North America and Europe with popular cars such as the Camry sedan and Yaris subcompact, leaving big local brands struggling to defend market share.

Toyota shares gained 7.2 percent in July-September, in line with the transport sector subindex's (.ITEQP.T: Quote, NEWS, Research) 6.9 percent rise.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Are you looking to get started as a car hauler?

Seems like about once or twice a month we get a call or email from someone interested in getting started as a car hauler. A lot of times, it can be that old "We can't hire you until you have experience." situation.

Whatever you do, make sure you check out this catalog of parts if you're fixing up an old car hauler that may need cluster chains or cylinders.

The fact of the matter is that car hauling is a profession that takes a lot of different skills. A good car hauler has good driving skills, plus he (or she) must be able to load and unload vehicles safely,and understand all the little details of hauling cars that can make or break an auto transport company.

There's tons of stuff you just wouldn't think of, for instance:

Clothing. No Levi's with rivets. Rivets might scuff leather upholstery or sctatych paint if you brush up against someone's prized vehicle in a tight spot. No belt buckles to scratch paint.

Companies like United Road Services have training for their drivers to help them with this stuff (in fact, that might be another outfit for you to try to get hired on with if you're a newbie).

Mabro Auto Transport is willing to train you if you have three years experience on your CDL. I checked out their website, and it looks like they offer some pretty decent pay, benefits and bonuses.

I think Blue Thunder and the Waggoner's Trucking Company will train you as well, but don't quote me on that!

Car hauling is not a good profession if you just want to get your hours in. Dealers don't show up when they're supposed to. Customers will complain that the scratch on their 1992 Ford Escort was caused by you. (Don't even get me started about Ebay) Sometimes cars won't start.

Having said all this, however, I do know that some folks make a darn good living hauling cars from point a to point b. If you're willing to pay attention and learn and pay your dues, you'll probably do OK.

So I guess car hauling is probably like any other profession, really. You've got to work hard, work smart, and a little luck doesn't hurt either!