If you're in the hauling business, your livelihood can depend on the condition of your truck tarp. Truck tarps from D.S. Sewing — made of the highest quality vinyl-coated polyester — can last up to three years with proper care. Fortunately, proper care doesn't involve anything complicated. There are just a few simple steps you must take to protect your investment from the worst enemy of tarp fabric: abrasion. "Since the tarp is a tool that you have to use everyday, it's best to take care of it," says D.S. Sewing President Dave Steinhardt.
To illustrate how destructive abrasion can be to a truck tarp, Steinhardt likens highway driving to a hurricane. Winds in a hurricane can reach 60 mph and higher — just like your flatbed truck on an Interstate.Even when there is no wind, your entire truck is shaking and rattling all day long as it barrels down the freeway. Under those conditions, objects as small as splinters or burrs can rub against your truck tarp and wear through even the best fabric.
If a hole develops, you've got a problem. How are you going to keep rain and salt off a load of lumber? Or paper bags filled with concrete mix? Or skids of nails in cardboard boxes? Here's one suggestion for keeping your tarp in tip-top shape: after your flatbed is loaded with cargo, take a walk around the truck. Look for points sticking out — even small ones, that might rub against the tarp. It is often easy to smooth over these areas if they are noticed in time. For example, metal crimps on bundles of lumber could wreak havoc on a tarp. Use duct tape to cover the crimps, or pound them down with a hammer.
Harmful abrasion can even result from improper installation of the "s" hooks securing a tarp to your truck. Steinhardt once sold a tarp to a truck driver who fastened the hooks with the bottoms facing inward. When Steinhardt noticed the mistake, he had to remove and re-attach every hook — with the bottoms facing outward. If the hooks had remained the way the driver installed them, the sharp edges could have cut right through the tarp in dozens of places.
Finally, remember that abrasion can work against your tarp even when you're not carrying any cargo. A folded-up tarp sitting directly on your empty flatbed will rub against rocks and other tiny particles at 60 mph until they become lodged in the fabric. To avoid having your tarp resemble a giant piece of sandpaper, place a carpet or piece of cardboard underneath before strapping it to your empty flatbed. Drivers have also been known to place their idle tarps on the deck plates behind their truck cabs. But these areas have rough surfaces to avoid slippage, so use carpet or cardboard there as well. These simple steps will ensure you get the longest possible life out of your D.S. Sewing tarp. "We're saying, 'Take care of your tarp,'" Steinhard says. "Remember, you're in a hurricane all day long."