Thursday, May 19, 2011

Investing In Your Investment - Part One

(Road King Shock, Femco Valve, Aluminum Wheel, Crude Oil Container, Quick Disconnect, Tire Pressure Monitor)

Eighteen-wheelers don't come cheap. A new conventional sleeper truck starts at around $110,000.00. Used, you can probably pick one up for less than $20,000.00.  To get started as an owner-operator, that's a pretty good deal. Trucks with custom sleepers like ours are a little pricier. And then you have to consider the trailer - depending on the type you plan to pull, they can run anywhere from $30,000.00 for a standard van trailer (or cheaper, if you go with a used one), into the six-figure range for a specialized setup.

As an owner-operator, the tractor you choose to drive and the trailer you choose to pull is going to be the way you make your money. You're going to want to keep those investments in the best shape possible, maintaining and/or improving their condition whether you decide to keep them for ten years or trade it in in two.

Ed is obsessed with keeping our equipment in good shape. He is fanatical about oil changes, greases what needs to be greased, and adds whatever doo-dad he can find that will give us the best fuel mileage possible. The less money we give to Exxon, the more we get to keep for ourselves.

In the last year, these are some of the modifications/additions we've already made on or have purchased for our truck:

Super Wide Tires

$1,050.00 each (We have 10 tires total)
When one tire takes the place of two, it already feels like a bargain! These tires have superior traction, less rolling resistance, and are significantly lighter. With the addition of these tires alone, we have realized a .5 mile per gallon fuel savings. When Ed is driving, I can swear I see dollar signs in his eyes!

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

$750.00 (for 10 wheels)
This system allows you to check each tire's air pressure with the press of a button! It alerts you to low as well as high tire pressures and will show the location and current pressure of any problem tire. It's in constant monitoring mode and will signal an alarm if there's a problem.

Digital Video Recorder System with Cameras

$260.00 for DVR and four cameras
This system is an invaluable security tool. We have four cameras on our truck; one facing forward out the front windshield, one on each side of the tractor facing the rear, and one on the back of the trailer, facing the rear. It records twenty-four hours a day and holds thirty days' worth of video before recording over itself. Thankfully, we haven't had any security issues, but it did catch my deer collision as it happened!

Quick Disconnect Air Lines

$21.00 each, four total
This pneumatic quick connect coupling allows you to remove your airlines and eliminates the need for gladhands; they also don't come loose, which is something that's known to happen with traditional glad hands. And believe me, you'd know if it happened! For more information, see the spec sheet

Alcoa All Aluminum Wheels

$611.00 each, 10 total
Aluminum wheels are great! They're lightweight, they don't rust, and if you get the Dura-Bright ones like we have, you don't have to polish them to keep 'em shiny!

Femco Quick Drain Oil Pan Drain Valve

This item takes the place of a traditional plug, which means you won't have to remove the drain plug, resulting in a cleaner oil change operation. It's easy to install and fits most standard oil pans.

Crude Control Oil Drain Container

In simpler terms, this is a vessel for used oil. We bought this so Ed could do his own oil changes and have a place to store the oil until we are able to find a facility to properly dispose of it. It's got a large pour spout, heavy duty casters for transport, a side carry handle, is constructed of heavy duty plastic and made in the USA.

Road King Shocks

$1,740.00 for six shocks
If you have discerned anything about me through my writing, you know I like creature comforts. Nothing makes creature comforts more comfortable than a smooth ride; something not always attainable in a heavy-duty commercial vehicle. Then along came the RoadKing shocks.

Described as the "Ultimate in Ride Comfort and Control", RoadKing shocks are more than just shock absorbers. And they will last the life of your truck; as the only factory rebuildable shocks on the market, they can be rebuilt every three-hundred to four-hundred thousand miles; up to three times in the lifetime of the shock. They offer ten times the damping force of a regular shock and you will not need to purchase any additional suspension aftermarket enhancements. They are also designed, developed, and manufactured in the USA.

This is only a partial list.  See
part two here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A Tank Full Of Freightliners
2 YEARS AGO: The Sad, Sad Future Of Our Young People
3 YEARS AGO: Sighting The American Idiots
4 YEARS AGO: Orbiting Out Of Control
5 YEARS AGO: Passing Through Life
6 YEARS AGO: Texas Pride?

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