orange dump truck unloads fresh asphalt into the spreader on a road in the city

Asphalt Hauling with Dump Trucks: What You Need to Know

One familiar material we often see on the road is asphalt. Its story began thousands of years ago. The basket of the infant, Moses, was waterproofed with asphalt. The ancient Egyptians used it as mortar for rocks to prevent erosion in the Nile bank. The ancient Mesopotamians used it in proofing baths and water tanks, while the ancient Phoenicians caulked their ships with asphalt. 

In 625 BC, Babylon built the first recorded asphalt road. In 1870, Edmund J. DeSmedt, laid the first asphalt pavement in Newark, New Jersey. This is the first asphalt road in the US. In 1942, asphalt technology was greatly improved. This is because of the need for surfaces that can accommodate the heavy loads of military aircraft during the 2nd World War. 

Today, asphalt hauling is a booming industry. This is because such material has been a preferred choice among commercial and residential developments. Here’s everything you need to know about asphalt hauling with dump trucks.

What is Asphalt?

Asphalt is a black or brown material obtained from natural deposits or petroleum distillation. Its consistency may be a viscous liquid or glassy solid. Carbon and hydrogen typically comprise a majority of asphalt components, while nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur occupy a minor proportion. Asphalt has an elastic nature. They soften when heated and expand under certain conditions. 

Natural asphalts are also termed as “brea.” It’s a Spanish word that means tar. Tar is technically a material resulting from the breakdown of organic deposits. Natural asphalt is a result of the wear-and-tear of natural marine deposits. They may either be solid or semi-solid. On the other hand, residual asphalt is the by-product of petroleum distillation. They are also known as artificial asphalt because they are chemically manufactured. They have a lower softening point than natural asphalt. 

Asphalts are commonly used in road constructions. This is because of their binding ability to provide a flexible surface for heavy loads. It is also because of their waterproofing and weather-resistant properties. In some cases, asphalts are used as significant components of batteries and other electrical devices.

What is Asphalt Hauling?

Asphalt hauling means transporting asphalt mixes based on the desired characteristics that a road pavement needs. As such, there are several factors that we need to consider when hauling asphalt. 

One of the best types of trucks for asphalt hauling is a dump truck. It is because they can directly unload the asphalt mixture into the pavement. 

How to haul asphalt with your dump truck?

Before loading, you need to clean and lubricate the bed with release agents. This is to keep other substances from infiltrating the asphalt mixture. At the same time, it also avoids asphalt build-up from sticking in the dump truck bed. It is best to load small masses of the asphalt mixtures on the dump truck instead of a single large batch. This is to ensure that the pile is evenly distributed within the dump truck bed. 

How long can asphalt sit in a truck?

During the transport, keeping the heat on the asphalt mixture is very important to meet the desired characteristic of the road pavement. Thus, insulated beds and tarps are recommended. Once the dump truck arrives on the paving site, the asphalt should be unloaded as soon as possible. This is to prevent them from cooling and hardening inside the bed. 

How much asphalt can a dump truck haul?

A typical 20 ft. dump truck with 3 to 4 axles can haul up to 51,000 pounds of asphalt. By adding a trailing axle that stretches the truck’s length to 36 ft., the dump truck can carry up to 80,000 pounds of asphalt. 

How much can you make from asphalt hauling services?

Dump truck services for asphalt hauling cost around $2000 and this could go up depending on how much load is to be transported. 

You might want to check our article Are Dump Trucks Profitable and a Good Investment? so you can have an idea on startup costs and how much money does a dump truck business make.

How to Maintain Dump Trucks Used for Asphalt Hauling?

One of the most important maintenance practices in asphalt hauling using a dump truck is to beat asphalt build-up. This is to prevent it from creating potential problems in your dump truck. Once the asphalt builds upon the bed of the dump truck, it will continuously grow as you subsequently load asphalt mixtures. The bed becomes more and more difficult to clean. The remaining asphalt sediment is then cooled and cured and can cause damages and uneven loading. 

So, what is the best thing to do? 

Here are some ways to maintain dump trucks used for asphalt hauling.

Regular cleaning and lubrication

It is strongly recommended to clean and lubricate your dump truck bed before and after asphalt hauling. Historically, the majority of truckers used diesel fuels to clean and lubricate the dump truck. But such an option is costly and is not friendly to the environment. So, many state regulations now prohibit the use of diesel to clean dump trucks. 

Instead, the use of asphalt release agents became popular. The best asphalt release agents for dump trucks are those which use silicone emulsion technology. They are heat-stable and non-toxic silicone oil mixed with surfactant. The silicone oil has anti-static properties that prevent asphalt from building up or sticking into the surface of the dump truck bed. It is also water repellant, so it can withstand the heat from the asphalt mixture. On the other hand, the surfactant increases the spreading properties of the silicone oil to cover the whole area of the dump truck bed.

Weekly or daily check of the dump truck body

It is also important to inspect your dump truck’s body daily or weekly. Watch out for body cracks, broken parts, hydraulic leaks, and non-working lights. Remove any dust build-up within the hydraulic lines. Under the hood, strive to keep the engine clean. Keep it free from excess grease and oil that can block or clog the engine. Take note of any strange noises that may be a signal to bigger problems.

Preventive maintenance checklist

The average lifespan of a dump truck is around 10 to 15 years. To lengthen it, a preventive maintenance checklist should strictly be followed. Daily checking of your dump truck’s tire pressure is recommended. Adjust the pressure based on the weight load of the asphalt you are going to haul.  Dump truck tires should be replaced every 3 to 6 years. Never use tires that are older than 6 years for hauling asphalt. It is very risky and can result in costlier damages. Regular oil change should also be performed every 25,000 to 50,000 miles. This is to keep the dump truck engine running smoothly. For other checklists like dump truck belts, fluids, and parts, it is best to refer to the truck’s manual or manufacturer recommendations.

How to Start an Asphalt Hauling Business

The very first step to make when starting your own dump truck business is to create a business plan. Here’s a guide on how to make a dump truck business plan. Next is to find the perfect truck for your venture. If you have enough funds for a new unit, then consider getting a brand new one. However, if you want to save on capital, you can look into buying a used dump truck. Check out this guide about the Things to Look for When Buying a Used Dump Truck so you can land on a cheap yet unregretful deal. 

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