Every tarp wears out eventually, even a well built tarp from Central Tarp, but there are two items that can quickly end the life span of your tarp. They are Wind Whip & Abrasion.
If these two items could be avoided, then there would be no reason for your tarp to not last well into its 7th or 8th year. The good news is that both of these items can be either greatly reduced or even eliminated at the same time by simply properly securing your tarp before you hit the highway.
Abrasion Damage: Abrasion of the tarp comes from excessive movement of the tarp over the various wear points on the trailer. These points do not always have to be sharp or rough to damage your tarp. A slight movement of the tarp over a pressure point will obviously not damage a tarp, but if this movement is done tens of thousands of times, over and over again, eventually wear will start to show up. Loose tarps can produce this damaging movement literally thousands of times per day at highway speeds. The vibrating and pulsing action of the wind on the tarp can very quickly turn a new tarp into a rag with enough abrasion cycles.
Wind Whip: Wind whip damage is also typically caused by loose tarps. It can show up in unusual places, but it is typically found on the tarp, near the rear of the trailer. Wind whip in this area is usually caused by air being forced under the tarp at the front of the trailer and then it travels under the tarp, exiting out from under the tarp at the back. When the high pressured air is exhausted from under the tarp it causes the tarp to flap or cycle very quickly over a small area. If this cycling movement is fast and severe enough, it can cause the vinyl to crack and fracture apart, exposing the woven scrim base of the tarp. Once the tarp’s scrim base is exposed to the elements, the life span of the tarp is quickly reduced. The Shelter-Rite vinyl that Central Tarp uses is the only vinyl product that has an anti- wind whip feature built into its design. Shelter-Rite is made with multiple coatings of PVC vinyl over the scrim base. This multiple layer technique creates many layers of protection against the cracking and fracturing effects of the wind.
Solutions: As previously mentioned, both of the damaging effects caused by these issues can be virtually eliminated by properly securing your tarp before transport. Here are some key tips that will eliminate these issues.
- Use a wind deflector at the top of the trailer – A wind deflector will help force air up and over the tarp, rather than allow it to get under the tarp.
- Use load binders on the front and rear of your tarp – A load binder or “chain Cinch” gives you the ability to keep the tarp tight and secure, unlike a bungee which has elastic properties.. The load binder helps keep the wind from getting under the tarp as well as helps lock it into position, reducing movement. On very long trailers, it can be a good idea to also use a load binder for the middle tie-down point as well to keep the roll pipe from bowing.
- Use self adjusting Arctic Bungees – These bungees are used in between the load binders. They apply a constant tightening force to the tarp. This action is important, in that, as the load settles in transport, the bungees are able to take up the slack in the tarp. Arctic bungees from Central Tarp, ensure that they will do their job in all weather conditions, including severe Canadian winters.
- Use a tarp company that knows where and how to add in wear reinforcement pads on your tarp – A wear reinforcement pad adds an extra layer of protection into the typical wear points of the tarp. These pads are placed only where needed so that they add years of life span, without adding excess weight or reducing the roll ability of the tarp.
- Re-check the tightness of tarp over long hauls – We have all seen it, a chip trailer heading down a freeway with the front of the tarp billowing up in the air. It important on long hauls to make sure your drivers are periodically checking the tightness of the tarp. A brake check or bathroom stop is a great time to make sure your tarp has not come loose during the trip, due to a settling load.
- Make sure your tarp is made using Shelter-Rite Premium Vinyl – Shelter-Rite has a proven track record for exceptional performance against wind whip and abrasion.
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