Blue Ink Tech Blog

What documents are required in a truck driver's DOT permit book?

Jun 1, 2023 2:01:55 PM / by Mike Riegel posted in Trucking, Growth, FMCSA, Business Management, IFTA, CDL, Hours of Service, Insurance


When it comes to trucking, one rule of thumb that remains constant is "be prepared." Among the numerous documents that help a truck driver stay prepared on the road, the Department of Transportation (DOT) Permit Book holds an essential place.

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How much do BIT Air Scales cost and what value do they bring fleets?

May 26, 2023 10:14:26 AM / by Mike Riegel posted in Safety, Overloaded, Blue Ink Tech, Truck Scale, Fines, Fleet, Growth


Being in the trucking industry one thing that drivers always have to look out for is making sure their gross and axle weights are legal. Getting overloaded can cause a lot of wasted miles and lost drive time if the only way you can get your weight is to drive off-site to a scale miles away.

We get thousands of requests from carriers and drivers who want to be able to easily get their gross and axle weights on their phones, tablets, and back office. One of the first questions people ask are "how much do the air scales cost?".

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Shifting Gears: A Beginner's Guide to an 18-Speed Transmission

May 23, 2023 1:58:02 PM / by Mike Riegel posted in Trucking, Fleet


Learning to drive a truck with an 18-speed transmission can seem like a daunting task, especially for new drivers. Having a basic understanding of the gears and switches can give you a leg up before CDL school, and with some practice you'll master shifting and floating gears. Correctly and efficiently shifting gears will extend the life of your truck and save you lots of money in fuel and maintenance costs over time

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Understanding Runaway Trucks and the Role of Runaway Truck Ramps

May 19, 2023 7:19:31 PM / by Mike Riegel posted in Safety, Overloaded, Maintenance, Trucking


What Makes a Truck Run Away?

A "runaway" truck typically refers to a heavy-duty truck that is unable to slow down or stop due to a malfunctioning or overstressed braking system. There are several reasons why this may occur:

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How to change a tire on your semi truck and trailer

May 16, 2023 10:00:00 AM / by Mike Riegel posted in Tires, Safety, Fines, Maintenance, FMCSA, DOT


If you drive an semi truck, you know how important it is to maintain and replace your tires regularly. Driving with damaged or worn-out tires can lead to accidents, costly repairs, fines and delays in your delivery schedule.

In this blog post, we'll provide a comprehensive guide on how to change a tire on an semi, discussing the required tread depth, tire issues, and leaks to look for during a pre-trip inspection.

We'll also compare the pros and cons of brand new tires vs. recapped tires and discuss proper inflation methods, and why maintaining adequate tire pressure is crucial for your truck and trailer.


Required Tread Depth, Tire Issues, and Tire Leaks

Pre-trip inspections of DVIR's are a crucial part of any truck driver's routine, as they help identify potential issues before you hit the road. Tires should be thoroughly inspected for tread depth, damage, and leaks.

Tire violations fall under vehicle maintenance issues as part of the 7 FMCSA BASICs and can drivers can get placed out-of-service until the issues are fixed. Tire related violations carry a large severity weight and can drastically impact a carriers CSA score. It is important that checking tires be a top priority from drivers during their pre-trip inspections because this is one of the easiest violations for a DOT officer to find during a level 1 inspection.

Let's discuss some of these factors in detail:


Tread Depth

The tread depth of your tires is a critical aspect of ensuring their safety and performance. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the minimum required tread depth for steer tires is 4/32-inch, while other tires on a commercial vehicle should have a tread depth of at least 2/32-inch. To measure the tread depth, you can use a tread depth gauge or a simple penny test. If the tread is too worn, it's time to replace the tire.


Tire Issues

During your pre-trip inspection, look for common tire issues such as sidewall damage, irregular wear, exposed cords, cuts, punctures, or bulges. These issues can be signs that a tire is approaching the end of its life or has experienced damage, increasing the risk of a blowout or failure on the road. If you discover any of these issues, replace the affected tire as soon as possible.


Tire Leaks

Slow leaks can be difficult to detect but can cause a significant loss of tire pressure over time, resulting in poor fuel efficiency, uneven tire wear, and even a blowout. Inspect your tires for any signs of leakage, paying close attention to the valve stem and the area where the tire meets the rim. If you suspect a leak, have it professionally inspected and repaired.


Changing a Tire on a Semi Truck or Trailer

If you find that your tires tread depth is off, the tire has leaks or other damage then it is time to change the tire. Changing a tire on a semi truck or trailer is a challenging task, but with the right tools and knowledge, it's manageable. Here are the steps to follow:


Gather the Necessary Tools

To change a tire on a semi, you'll need a heavy-duty hydraulic jack, a torque wrench, wheel chocks, safety gear (gloves, safety glasses, and reflective vest), a tire pressure gauge, and a new or recapped tire.


Park the Truck on a Flat Surface

Find a level, solid surface to park your truck and engage the parking brake. Place wheel chocks on both sides of the wheels on the opposite end of the truck to prevent any movement while working.


Loosen the Lug Nuts

Put on your safety gear and use a torque wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the wheel you're replacing, turning them counterclockwise. Do not fully remove the lug nuts yet.


Raise the Trailer with the Hydraulic Jack

Position the hydraulic jack under the trailer's frame, near the tire you're changing, and pump the jack until the tire is lifted off the ground.

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