House cleaning

Sept. 9, 2014
Manager: Hayden Eady Title: Professional driver & maintenance manager

Fleet: Detroit Radiator Corp.

Operation: Operating and maintaining a tractor trailer-based mobile trade show exhibit

Manager: Hayden Eady

Title: Professional driver & maintenance manager

Fleet: Detroit Radiator Corp.

Operation: Operating and maintaining a tractor trailer-based mobile trade show exhibit


One of the ways Detroit Radiator Corp. (DRC) promotes its line of aftermarket products for heavy-duty trucks at trade shows and other public events around the U.S. is via a one-of-a-kind custom truck and trailer dubbed “Dr. Cool.”

Crafted by Outcast Kustoms, Dr. Cool is a 1999 Kenworth model W900 tractor with a 475-hp. Caterpillar engine mated to a 13-speed manual transmission. The trailer serves as a rolling exhibit for DRC, showcasing its aftermarket cooling products.

Since DRC puts Dr. Cool on the road to visit about 15 industry events a year, the company needed to hire someone on a part-time basis to drive the tractor-trailer and  serve as its maintenance overseer and cleaning crew.  That’s not necessarily an easy task with a tractor sporting over 1 million mi. on the odometer or when repairs are required during an exhibit stop.

So DRC went looking for someone who could serve as a jack of all trades for Dr. Cool, someone capable of driving, maintaining, and ensuring that the truck would be spic and span come show time.


Nearly two years ago, DRC came knocking on Hayden Eady’s door.  Eady is a long-time DRC customer who runs his own maintenance shop in Alabama called Hayden’s Truck Repair.  A third-generation truck driver and old school mechanic, Eady signed on to be point-man for Dr. Cool in November 2012 and quickly got to work.

“I take time off from my own business to do this,” he explains.  “The first thing I do is ensure the engine oil is changed every 15,000 mi.—no exceptions—and usually we conduct a full service at the same time as well.”

Looking regularly for leaks, keeping the chassis greased and lubed properly, and using quality engine oils, coolants, etc., may cost a little more on the front end, but it helps preserve vehicle uptime in the long term.

To prep Dr. Cool for a trade show or other public event, Eady first runs it through a commercial truck wash to get the bulk of the road dirt and grime off the vehicle. He then settles in with his own wash bucket and rags to clean out all the cracks and crevices.

“That’s where road salt and other corrosive grime can hide. You’ve got to get that off the chrome and metal,” Eady says.  He even keeps an old toothbrush handy to get the dirt out of the tight spots.

While all this might seem like overkill, Eady points out that keeping any tractor-trailer clean, much less one as eye-catching as Dr. Cool, tends to help avoid excessive attention from roadside inspectors.

At a trade show, he’ll constantly wipe the truck down with a microfiber towel to remove fingerprints from the vehicle.  “About 96% of my time at the Mid-America Trucking Show was spent cleaning fingerprints off the truck,” Eady says.  “The hardest part is getting people to stop touching the truck.”

Inside the cab, Eady is fastidious about vacuuming the floor carpets, hand-polishing the wood and chrome accents, and applying Armor All regularly to the seats and other upholstery.  The regular use of Febreze helps eliminate odors from the cab, he adds.

“I also favor these strawberry Christmas tree air fresheners,” he adds.  “I even keep a little pump-bottle with this solution in it to keep the interior smelling fresh.”

And while he readily recognizes that every driver wants to freshen a cab interior with their own particular favorite scent, the emphasis on why each keeps a truck clean inside and outside is the same.

“I like to keep the truck as clean as I do my house,” he explains.  “It’s also because it is my house when I am on the road.”


About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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