4 Tips for Selecting A Truck Mount for Your Carpet Cleaning Business

If you are looking to start a new carpet cleaning business or if you are already in business but need to replace your current truck mount or upgrade from a portable to a truck mount there are a few things you should be aware of so that you make the best choice.

Tip 1 – Bigger does not necessarily mean better when it comes to truck mounts. Fuel economy is important not only when it comes to how much fuel your work vehicle consumes, but also when it comes to how much fuel your truck mount consumes. This is something that is easily overlooked because manufacturers give you claimed fuel economy figures that are based on fuel consumed per hour. Back when gas was less than $2.00 per gallon, fuel economy was still a concern, but now with gas prices above $3.50 per gallon, it is an even bigger concern. Fuel consumption can add up quickly when your hours accumulate over a period of time. When you are running a small business, every little bit of savings is important to increasing your bottom line. If you were to run a truck mount with a 1.4 gallon per hour combined gas and propane consumption rate for 4,000 hours with a fuel cost of $2.00 per gallon, you would have spent $11,200 on fuel. If you were to run that same machine for 4,000 hours at $3.50 per gallon, you would have spent $19,600 on fuel. Units that consume 1 gallon of fuel per hour are usually slide-in truck mounts. A slide-in unit that is not a heat exchanger and has a fuel-fired water heating system actually has more heat performance than a larger direct drive truck mount, consisting of a V8 engine, or a slide-in with a 65 HP gas engine. The direct drive units with the V8 engine and the slide-in heat exchange truck mounts with the 65 HP gas engine actually consume anywhere from 3 – 3.5 gallons per hour. Remember; these units actually have less sustained heat performance under commercial carpet cleaning conditions than a slide-in truck mount with a fuel-fired heating system. Now let’s calculate running the larger machines with less heat performance at 3.5 gallons per hour times $3.50 per gallon. That comes to $49,000 in fuel cost for the same 4,000 hours of time on your truck mount. That comes to a fuel cost difference of $29,400 over 4,000 hours of operating time on your unit. That is a significant savings that you can have by choosing a smaller slide-in truck mount with a fuel-fired heating system versus a large slide-in heat exchanger unit with a 65 HP engine or a direct drive unit with a V8 engine.

Tip 2 – Purchase price: A typical slide-in unit with a fuel-fired heating system will cost anywhere between $15,000 – $18,000. A slide-in truck mount with a 65 HP gas engine or a direct drive unit will run you somewhere between about $25,000 – $35,000. Remember that you will also have less heat performance on the larger units during commercial carpet cleaning conditions due to the accumulative hours. The reason why you will have less heat performance is that heat exchangers have less BTU’s to sustain long periods of cleaning time.

Tip 3 – Vacuum Performance Misconception: A lot of people believe that a larger vacuum blower with a larger carpet cleaning machine will get the carpets drier. However, there are physical limitations to how much air can actually go through the carpet cleaning wand once the wand is on the carpet and is semi-sealed with wet extraction. At this point only about 200 cubic feet per minute can go through the wand. There is an illusion of more power when the wand of a unit with a larger blower is lifted off the carpet. It has a louder sound of rushing air due to less resistance than when it is sealed on the carpet. The heat exchange machines or direct drive, use larger blowers to stress the engines more to produce more heat. You must make a heat exchanger load the engine to produce more heat.

Even though 200 cubic feet per minute is the maximum that can be used by the cleaning head, you need to have about 300 – 350 cubic feet per minute to keep negative pressure on the recovery tank and vacuum hoses. One of the reasons large heat exchange truck mount units consume so much fuel is that the blower requires more horsepower. The larger blower on these units is necessary to load the engine to make the heat for the heat exchanger. Some of the 65 HP slide-in truck mounts run 59 blowers which produce 850 cubic feet per minute. So 75% of the cubic feet per minute being produced by the blower is unusable and being released through the relief valve. A direct drive truck mount which utilizes the truck engine as the power plant, has an electric clutch similar to a clutch on an air conditioner that turns a shaft that operates the blower and pump. This clutch limitation is 20 HP. This is why you are unable to put large blowers on direct drive truck units. So you might have a truck with an engine that develops 350 HP but your truck mount can only use 20 HP of that 350 to operate. Still it is burning fuel based on a 350 HP engine running at 1800 rpm.

Tip 4 – Design Simplicity: This is one of the most important aspects to consider when you are looking at purchasing a truck mount. A truck mount is a mechanical machine and everything mechanical needs maintenance and repair. A heat exchange slide-in machine is an extremely complicated design with a lot of proprietary parts. It also has very complicated wiring. One of these types of truck mounts consists of a lot of safety switches, relays, solenoids, and thermal relief valves. A fuel-fired unit doesn’t require all of these components, because it uses a separate heating device, either propane, or kerosene-fired. You do have the inconvenience of having to purchase a second fuel for these heating devices. The simplicity and reliability of not having all of these extra parts on your machine outweighs the inconvenience of buying the second fuel. You also will have a better sustained temperature with a fuel-fired system. Plus the fuel-fired truck mount is simpler to repair and utilizes common parts that you can find local at auto parts stores, Home Depot, or Lowes. The engines on these units can also be serviced at a local lawn mower shop.

In closing the purchase of a truck mount is no small matter. You are investing a considerable sum of money into your carpet cleaning business. You want to be sure you get a unit that is reliable and easy to repair so that you experience the least amount of downtime possible. Also remember that you want a truck mount that is economical on fuel consumption since every dollar counts towards your bottom line when you are in business.

Clutch Kit: Will A Knock-Off Set Work on Your Car?

It’s all about the money these days. Everyone wants to get the most for their cash without compromising on the quality of the product that they’re buying. But can you get the best of both worlds?

You can get a knock-off version of basically anything these days. If your child likes a particular toy and the original is too expensive, you will be able to find a cheaper version of it at some other store. If your teenager loves branded clothing, which can be really expensive, you know you will be able to find a cheap copy of it at the flea market. The same goes for handbags, designer dresses, shoes, and pretty much anything you can think of.

Why would car parts be any different?

Cars are very expensive objects and maintaining it can cost you an arm and leg. It’s not surprising that many people turn to cheaper alternatives when it comes to car parts. The unfortunate part about all of this is that you never really know when your car is going to break down or when a certain car part will get damaged. So nine out of ten times, you’re financially unprepared. It is in this situation when many people make the wrong call and opt for the cheaper knock-off version of the particular car part they need to get.

Sometimes you may be lucky and the knock-off car part may work almost as good as the original. However, remember that nothing can ever replace an original. The manufacturer of the car is the one who assembled the car, so they know every corner and measurement of that car. The replacement parts are manufactured with this in mind. Every part is made to fit in the car precisely therefore you usually get a guarantee with the original car part you purchase. With a knock-off car part there is no guarantee of this because they weren’t there when the car was made. They use estimations when they make the parts. They copy the original; and we all know that a copy is never like the original.

So if you buy a clutch kit for your car, is a knock-off good enough? I wouldn’t think so. The original clutch kit made for your brand of car is always the better option. A knock-off clutch kit may function normally at the beginning but after a while it could cause damage to your car or break fairly quickly. Rather invest in the original car part to avoid any future problems.

Aftermarket Auto Parts Vs Used OEM Auto Parts Vs Brand New Discounted Parts

Alright! The worst thing has happened to your car and that worn out / damaged part needs a replacement. What is the first thing that comes to your mind?

I am sure it would be, “how do I get a replacement part that fulfills the need at the lowest possible price?” And believe me; most sensible people would think the same way.

Let’s face it; nobody likes to spend big bucks on car repairs and part replacements. In fact, if given a choice, nobody would even want to be in a situation where his/her car needs a repair or a replacement part.

This is basic human nature and we all exhibit it. As far as I am concerned, I would rather spend extra money on a fancy car stereo than go for a costly replacement auto part. I would any day prefer the cheapest possible repair or part replacement that does the job and so would you unless you are a celebrity and money sticks to you like a shadow.

So what are the options you can consider if your vehicle needs a replacement part?

In the current market scenario, we have 3 major options namely:

  • Aftermarket Parts
  • Used OEM Parts
  • Brand New Discounted Parts

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each so that we can make a decision.

Aftermarket Parts for a vehicle may be defined as auto parts made by a manufacturer other than the original vehicle manufacturer.

But that is not necessarily the correct definition as most vehicle manufacturers do not make all the parts themselves. They may ask a different company to manufacture a certain auto part for them. In that case, the first definition would not hold true.

I believe the following example would make the concept clear.

If you are fitting an Air Filter in your ABC car and that Air Filter is not manufactured, not considered a standard fitment (stock option) and not recommended by the ABC Company, it qualifies as an aftermarket part as far as ABC Company is concerned. In that case, all warranty from ABC Company for your ABC car is void.

That is not the only consequence of fitting aftermarket parts in your vehicle. These parts are not tested for compatibility with all makes and models of cars. As a result, an aftermarket part may not function properly in your car leading to unforeseen problems. For example, an aftermarket Air Filter can harm you car engine if it is not compatible with your car model resulting in low engine-efficiency or perhaps total engine damage.

Aftermarket parts don’t necessarily confirm to laws and regulations for quality and performance. For Example, aftermarket headlights may not confirm to the local regulations in your state or perhaps your aftermarket engine does not meet the emission standards in your state. It is imperative that you ascertain correct details and features of an aftermarket part before you purchase it.

Depending on factors like quality and brand-name, an aftermarket part can cost less, equal or more than a brand new OEM part.

A good quality aftermarket part manufactured by a company specializing in a particular domain qualifies as a performance enhancing auto part and usually costs more than what a brand new normal OEM part would. Unless you are willing to shell out money on car customization, you don’t need to tread that path.

One truth about aftermarket parts holds good even today; “use it at your own peril.”

Used OEM auto parts for a vehicle are manufactured by the same manufacturer that made the vehicle. The only factor being, these parts are not brand new. They have been used before, probably in another vehicle of the same make and somehow found their way to a scrap-yard or salvage-yard.

In this case, a fact that one should consider before purchasing a used auto part is that used parts from a certain ABC car most probably will fit only ABC cars of the same model and year as per company standards. This is because manufacturers might introduce slight changes or enhancements in auto part designs and specifications every year for any particular model.

Since all OEM auto parts from a particular car manufacturer are of the same quality and tested for optimum performance by the manufacturer, you don’t end up making any compromises on this front. Remember, this is not the case with aftermarket parts.

Used auto parts could be your best option in terms of cost-effectiveness and quality provided you select the correct auto part online and buy it from a recognized seller only. The advantage of buying from established sellers is that you get original quality tested parts at low prices and usually with no shipping charges.

The only worrying factor about used auto parts may be about their history. The part could be salvaged from a car that got destroyed in an accident or perhaps from a car that was scrapped after serving a lifetime. Then there are also some used auto parts available that were used by the original manufacturer for testing purposes.

Whatever be the history of the part, you can get a confirmation from the seller over the phone before buying. Major used auto-part dealers exercise quality control by maintaining a log about the condition and history of a particular auto part so that the customer knows about the exact age and origin of the part he/she is buying.

Moreover, vehicle’s manufacturer warranty does not get nullified if you install a used OEM part in your vehicle.

Used auto parts are the most cost effective out of all the three options since they cost just about one-third the price of brand new OEM auto parts.

Brand New Discounted Auto Parts probably don’t need any description. These are brand new auto parts sold at discount prices. Definitely a great option but these are not available everyday and at every store. In fact, they are available occasionally and at the sole discretion of the dealer. If you are lucky enough, you might find the part you need on discount but as is the case usually, the parts that are sold at a discount are the ones that have the least demand. Hence, if you desperately need a brand new replacement part for your car, you might have to wait till it is available at discount prices.

To conclude, you can choose any of these options depending on your need and suitability but please remember that in the case of repairs and part replacements, you should take a step only after weighing the pros and cons of each available option.

Happy Motoring!

James Rodham

www.QualityAutoParts.com

Windshield Wiper Blades in Good Condition are Important to Your Safety

Tell me how your windshield wiper blades are and I will tell you the condition of your car. Worn out wiper blades are symptoms of neglected vehicle maintenance that put drivers and passengers at serious risk during rainy or snowy periods.

Rainy or snowy weather also affects driver visibility and control of the vehicle. Because 90 percent of driving decisions depend on good vision, a clean windshield is imperative. Streaking and smearing impair vision and are caused by worn windshield blades. One out of every five vehicles that goes through an inspection has worn wiper blades.

Replacement wiper blades are inexpensive and they are easy to change. Why put it off until there’s a downpour or a major snowfall and your blades are chattering and smearing the windshield?

Do you need different windshield wiper blades for the winter period ?

We all tend to run to the auto parts store when winter is approaching, to get winter replacement wiper blades. Usually, winter blades are covered with a rubber membrane which are supposed to better fight against icing. However, before you make the purchase you should carefully check them. Several types of winter blades listed in catalogs of aftermarket parts or even those recommended by car manufacturers are not that effective. Several models are shorter than the “summer version” and do not cover enough windshield surface. Others are long enough but do not have the “banana” shape allowing for proper contact on the windshield over the full length. In either case this results in reduced visibility for the driver.

Windshield wiper blades should be checked regularly to ensure they offer maximum performance. If you need to replace them do not compromise on the quality and ensure they provide good coverage and adherence to the windhield. If you are unsure if the model you are considering meets those criteria ask the auto parts store about their return/credit policy. Once tested, you should be allowed to return them if the results are not conclusive.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask your local mechanic for some sound advice. They constantly replace wiper blades on a wide range of car models and they should be able to tell you about the do’s and don’t for your particular vehicle.

Replacing windshield wiper blades should be simple process ….. but don’t jump the gun and make a quick desision. You may regret it next time you drive rainy or snowy weather.

Copyright 2005 Marc Deschamps

How to Take Care of Your Car Parts?

When you buy a new car, there is a general tendency of taking extra care and ensuring that the vehicle undergoes servicing and cleaning on a regular basis. However, over time, people tend to neglect the upkeep of their precious vehicles. It is important that worn out auto parts are replaced with immediate effect, especially, if you want better service from your vehicle.

Now, the important thing to keep in mind is that it is not always necessary to replace auto accessories with brand new ones. If you head to your nearest auto part store, you might be able to find used auto equipments. Many times, these used automobile accessories are in excellent condition, which ensures a lower bill and quality performance.

Even though, you might be able to locate cheap deals at automobile equipment stores, when you opt for used auto parts, there are a few issues you need to keep in mind. While choosing auto parts store, make sure that they offer the following:

-Extensive range and styles of vehicle parts

-An assurance of superior quality

-Reasonable prices or warehouse rates

-Convenient and hassle free facilities for shipping

-Efficient customer care and post-sales services

There are also numerous online websites, which offer brand new auto parts as well as used vehicle parts. In addition, once you have purchased these parts, you will need to pay special attention to the care of the same. Regular auto servicing, polishing and oiling are pre-requisites of taking care of many car parts.

Make sure that you take your car to a recognized service station on regular basis, because the mechanics will check your vehicle as well as the automobile parts, and suggest replacement or repair. It is also essential that whatever fuels, oils and other lubricants are being utilized in the vehicle are of superior quality. Low-grade additives can cause engine troubles and lead to higher expenditures.

Therefore, it is important that you choose car parts with care, ensure that these are purchased from recognized car part stores, and are eventually well taken care of.