It is incredible what you can learn about your vehicle when you do a little research.  Looking back to a time long, long ago, I had an old car which was used to go to and from work.  This old car was referred to as a “beater.” The car was purchased at an auction for $75.00 and served me faithfully for eight years.  

Not having much of an investment in this car also led to not doing much research in its operation. Two of the really nice features I enjoyed while owning the car is that it had an ice-cold air-conditioning system and an excellent heater in the winter. There was one odd thing about the car that puzzled me for years.  Every winter it would always start right off, but the heater fan would never turn on ‘til you were about five to ten minutes down the road. In the back of my mind, I thought I would have to replace the blower fan motor. The colder it was out, the longer it took ‘til the fan turned on.

Then one day while waiting to pick someone up, I was bored, and my wait was going to be over an hour. I opened the glove box and pulled out the owner’s manual to this old car and started to read. Some of it was interesting, some of it was boring, and most of it I really did not care about as this car was relatively simple to figure out.  As I read the owner’s manual for my 1974 Spirit of America addition Impala, I learned the heater fan would not come on until the engine reached operating temperature so that it would never blow cold air out onto its occupants. I said, “how about that... there is nothing wrong with the heater fan and the colder the temperature outside, the longer it took for the fan to come on.”  It was a shazam moment. I never did have to replace the heater fan and when I was done with the car I sold the engine for $400.

This leads me to my point, which is know the vehicle you drive.  We make our living in what, from a historical standpoint, are the most sophisticated trucks to be used upon our highways.  There are more features and more information accessible than ever before. If you are driving a Freightliner branded truck, there is a great resource called “Freightliner Smart Source.”  This is a simple app that you can get on your phone. The beautiful thing about this app is that you put in the last six numbers of your VIN and it unlocks a plethora of information regarding the particular truck you are driving.  Get the app for free on your phone.  

While sitting at the dock being bored, enter your VIN number into the app and learn the features and functions of the truck with which you ply your trade in.  You never know what you might find out as I did with my Spirit of America “Beater” 1974 Impala.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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