Trucking 101: How to Reduce Your Truck’s Aerodynamic Drag
Hauling heavy cargo is not just about using a powerful truck to make the delivery process efficient and streamlined. You need more than the right truck to perform your logistics needs; you must also have a proper understanding of aerodynamic drag and how it affects your drivers’ handling of your fleet.
Aerodynamic drag has a considerable impact as to how well your drivers can maneuver your fleet. Since semi-trucks have box-shaped trailers attached, they have limited ability to withstand the effects of aerodynamic drag. However, you can modify specific areas where pressure buildups are apparent to improve fuel efficiency through small yet effective installations.
How Does Aerodynamic Drag Affect my Trucks?
Aerodynamic drag is a form of force that pushes against your semi-trucks during high-speed drives. All vehicles experience this form of air resistance, forcing the driver to accelerate accordingly to maintain speed. However, this pressure is more noticeable for semi-trucks in terms of fuel usage. Although most semi-trucks have rounded front ends to cut through the air better, different rigid components can affect the aerodynamic properties of your fleet.
The drag-pressure your fleet experiences is significant in affecting your trucks’ fuel efficiency. Since most semis travel long distances for deliveries and material transport, your corresponding drivers’ fuel costs can rise to surprising amounts. Thankfully, you can reduce drag by upgrading your trucks without requiring permanent exterior modifications.
In this article, we share three ways you can improve your trucks to reduce aerodynamic drag.
Every surface of a vehicle contributes to resisting aerodynamic drag. These areas include anything from a vehicle’s frame to its wheel covers. Most standard-issue wheels have factory rims containing bumps, indentations, and holes necessary to optimize speed and reduce weight restrictions. Attaching wheel covers to hide your rims’ indentations allow for smoother gliding through high-speed driving, especially if you’re driving a semi. It’s a simple and cost-effective solution to reduce the impact of air drag.
It’s common for newly bought trucks to have factory-issued rubber or PVC mud flaps. These are necessary to protect nearby vehicles from getting debris flung from your trucks’ tires. It’s most commonly used for construction and development vehicles that travel to and from building sites.
The simple addition of ventilated slats can maintain its purpose of protecting our vehicle from side spray while reducing air drag. Through the louvers, air passing through is better to allow opposing air to pass through seamlessly. This also contributes to better heat ventilation during long drives.
Although they’re more commonly seen in aircraft, vortex generators are aerodynamic tabs that redirect airflow in a vehicle’s different parts. It’s an effective way to increase the stability and performance of anything as large as semis or as compact as SUVs. You can attach these installations in between gaps of your semi running along your separate rigs to delay flow separation.
Understanding the concept of aerodynamic drag will give insight if your trucks are performing well during long drives. Increasing expenses due to expensive fuel runs can significantly affect your operation. This is why it’s vital to fit your vehicles with the proper protections against air drag. However, remember that no amount of equipping your fleet with modifications will resolve any pre-existing issues with your trucks. If you notice the overhead costs of your trucks going beyond your allotted budget, it may be time to upgrade your vehicles. Thankfully, you can compare vehicles for purchasing online from the right vendors.
At Gerry’s Truck Centre Ltd., we keep our clients supplied with the best quality trucks for their trucking needs. If you need a capable heavy-duty truck dealer in London, ON, call our toll-free number at 1-800-363-4380.