Manually covering a load every time you fill up your dump truck's container can greatly slow down your workflow and add a lot of back and neck strain to your daily routine. While investing in an automatic tarp system costs a bit of money, the system will last for years if you treat it properly. Use these four tips to keep your tarp system in tip-top shape for as long as possible.
Inspect the Arms
Before you use the truck each day, take a moment to visually inspect the lifting arms responsible for moving the tarp back and forth as needed. The arms must be parallel as they move to operate properly without tearing the tarp or putting strain on the motor. If the arms are out of alignment, then the problem is likely just a worn spring. If this is the case, you'll notice that the spring reaches full compression before the arm is completely extended. Worn springs are pretty easy to replace yourself.
Minimize Wind Damage
It's true that dump-truck tarps are designed to handle tough conditions, but all that wind still puts wear and tear on the material over time. Installing a wind deflector is a great way to reduce the amount of strain on the tarp itself. While a deflector won't prevent a worn-out tarp from tearing apart as you go down the road, a deflector will extend the lifespan of each tarp you use, therefore saving you a surprising amount of money over the course of a few years.
Remember to Roll
There's no reason to keep your tarp extended when your dump container is empty either. Driving back to a depot with the bed covered does nothing but put unnecessary wear and tear on the system. Take a minute or two to roll the tarp back up after you empty your load, and you'll appreciate how much longer your tarps last. It's fine to leave the tarp out if you're in a hurry and can't stop to roll it up, but remember that every mile driven contributes to the wear and eventual fraying of the material.
Finally, try to avoid filling your dump container higher than the top edges so that the tarp has to stretch over a hump of material. Putting the tarp in contact with rough gravel or even sharp-edged wood chips creates a lot of friction and can cause a tear either immediately or much later due to weakened material. Stretching the tarp beyond its usual limits could also bend or break the arms.
Talk to a company like LoAlbo Enterprises Inc. for more information about dump-truck tarp systems.