How To Make Your Dump Truck Tarp Cover Last Longer

You rely on your dump truck's tarp cover to keep the contents from blowing out and to keep the elements -- like wind and rain -- from damaging the material you are transporting. These tarp systems are made to be durable, but they can be prone to damage every now and then. Small amounts of damage can add up over time, and before long, the tarp will be unusable. Of course, there are plenty of ways you can make sure your dump truck lasts longer. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Check the arm springs.

Your tarp system has two arms that move to guide the tarp over the top of the load. If these arms do not extend properly and at the same time, they could rip the tarp as they attempt to extend the tarp, so make sure to watch carefully. If one arm is extending faster than the other, this is a sign that the springs that control the arms are failing. This is a pretty common problem, as the springs tend to get stretched out and lose elasticity as they are used. A repair shop can replace the spring or springs that are losing tension. This is a much cheaper repair than having to replace your tarp because it ripped.

Install a wind deflector.

Another source of tarp cover damage is wind. When you are driving, if the wind catches under the tarp, it could rip the tarp or every tear if from the truck. You don't even have to be going very fast for this to happen! To prevent such an issue, you need to install something called a wind deflector on your truck. This is a tall piece of hard plastic or metal that extends from the cab on both sides. It pushes wind out toward the sides of the loaded dump truck so it does not catch under the tarp. If you're handy, you might be able to order a wind deflector and attach it to your dump truck by yourself, but this is also something a mechanic can do within a few hours. 

A wind deflector won't block very strong cross breezes. Although cross breezes are not as harmful to a tarp, they can cause some damage. Try to avoid driving the truck during serious windstorms, at least not with the tarp extended.

Don't extend the tarp with an empty truck bed.

Take the time to roll the tarp back up after you've emptied the truck and before you drive. While rolling the tarp up takes some time, it will prevent the wind from catching under the tarp and causing it to flap around. This flapping may not immediately tear the tarp, but it will put strain on it as it flaps around, which can weaken the material and also cause some strain on the arm springs, leading to premature wear.

Never overload the truck.

Make sure you don't put too much material in the dump truck. While it may be tempting to save a trip by forcing everything into a truck at once, you will then have to stretch the tarp over the top of the heaping load. This stretching is not good for the tarp material or for the arms that extend the tarp.

To learn more about properly caring for your tarp system, get in touch with a company such as Glider Systems Inc. You should also check the manual that came with your tarp. It may include some care instructions or specifications for loading the truck with or without the tarp extended over the load.