Trucker 5741 Spotlight Mckinleye

Spotlight on an American Trucker: Bob McKinley, owner-operator, leased to Climatic Carriers LLC

Feb. 15, 2017
Owner-operator Bob McKinley’s first job was working for his grandfather, driving a GMC box truck for the HVAC wholesale distributor in Southern Michigan.

Owner-operator Bob McKinley’s first job was working for his grandfather, driving a GMC box truck for the HVAC wholesale distributor in Southern Michigan. After 10 years in the HVAC business (including a short stint repairing AC units in Iraq working for Halliburton), McKinley went to trucking school. He hired on with Swift’s flatbed division and spent two years there before moving to a small, local company in his hometown of Coldwater, MI. There he learned how to handle tankers, end dumps and even some hopper bottoms. He now hauls produce with a 2006 International 9400i powered by a Cummins ISX, and he pulls a 53-ft. reefer.

Q: What are some challenges you face with your maintenance program? How do you resolve each?
A: On-road breakdowns are my biggest headache. I try to do research on shops before deciding where to go. Second is trying to decide what actually needs to be done and what is just profit for the shop. Finally, I prioritize things that need to be replaced when cash flow is tight.

Q: How are maintenance and repairs handled?  Do you stock any parts for your trucks or purchase as needed?   
A: I try to do as much repair on my own [as I can], but when it comes to preventive maintenance, I prefer to use TA Petro just because I can’t do it as cheap at home. I try to get repairs done at smaller, independent shops. For major repairs, I use independent shops if at all possible. OEM shops are normally my last resort.

Q: What do you do to ensure CSA compliance for your truck/trailer?   
A: Climatic Carriers handles that for me. (Thanks, Bekah, Jodi and Marsha.)

Q: What do you do to minimize maintenance-related downtime?
A: I do pre-trip and post-trip inspections. Whenever I’m home, I go over the truck with a fine-tooth comb, then I have one of my sons do the same in case I’m just missing something.

Q: Which brand of tires do you use? Retreads? How do you ensure good mileage?
A: Tire pressure is always biggest for mpg, plus or minus. I like the BF Good­rich virgins, and I’ll use recaps on trailer and on drives if it’s in a pinch.

Q: How do you determine when it’s time to replace a truck or trailer?
A: I run them to death. I can do lots of work on this one before $150,000 sounds like a good investment.

Q: What are your specifications for your trucks? Do you find these on the used market?

A: I doubt I’d ever own a new truck. I like the idea of spending under $20,000 and driving the wheels off it. I may spec a few things, but I prefer to buy what will work. Some of these mega-carriers do a real good job of spec’ing trucks.

Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?    
A: I love to see different parts of the country. I’ve always been a history buff, and a little sweet-talking will get you into RV parking areas. I even had a ranger at Gettysburg put cones in the parking area to save me a spot.  
 
We want to hear from you. Know of a trucking business we should feature? Send their contact information to [email protected].

About the Author

Tim Brady

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry at our April 16th webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive pay...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!