Synthetic Motor Oil – The Ultimate Guide

Are you new to cars and engines?  Wondering which oil is suitable for your vehicle?

In this article you’ll find the answers to all of your questions about synthetic oil to help you decide if it’s right for you.

Everything You Need To Know About Synthetic Motor Oil

Over the years we’ve heard so many questions about motor oil, and synthetics in particular – a lot of the time it was us asking the questions – so we thought we’d put together a comprehensive FAQ guide to help others, just like us, out.

First of all, lets start with explaining what synthetic oil is.

What Is Synthetic Oil?

atomWell, it’s a lubricant, an organic substance, consisting of artificially made chemical compounds.

Synthetic oil is made in the lab, thus each manufacturer takes different approaches.

Most synthetic motor oil is actually made mostly from ordinary petroleum, as the primary feed stock. The molecules are highly modified, in terms of size and shape, so as to work better as lubricants and additional atoms of other kinds are added to make these new molecules work even better.

Zinc for instance may be added as an anti wear agent, and other chemicals are added to help neutralize acids formed by combustion of gasoline or diesel fuel, etc.

Some synthetic oil is made entirely from other synthetic molecules which may or may not have been manufactured using crude oil as one of the feed stocks.

What Are The Different Types Of Synthetic Motor Oil?

Not all synthetics are formulated the same way which is why not all of them provide the same protection.

As a result, we have different types: synthetic blend oil; and full synthetic. Here is the difference between the two.

1. Synthetic Blend Oil

synthetic blend oilSynthetic blend oil is a mix of conventional motor oils and synthetic base stocks.

It was first introduced by Mobil in 1966, and is typically engineered to offer similar benefits as its full synthetic counterparts, but at a much lower cost.

Because of the added synthetic base stock, you are going to get more performance and protection than you would by using a conventional oil alone.

Semi-synthetic motor oils are also not fully regulated by clear cut standards regarding the concentration of mineral or synthetic compounds.

As a result, great care has to be taken when choosing the exact composition that would offer a suitable level of performance when it comes to your own vehicle.

They’re less volatile, so they evaporate far less, which reduces oil loss.

2. Full Synthetic Motor Oil

full synthetic oilFull synthetic motor oil is more frequently used and has a synthetic base stock mixed with a variety of additives that boost the performance of the oil.

While all synthetics on the market may offer a higher level of protection than conventional or synthetics blends, not all synthetics are equal.

Each synthetic brand uses a mix of high-performance fluids and additives. How these formulations come together results in various protection levels and attributes.

Full synthetic compounds are known to increase the odds that your car will live longer, they have better machining and metallurgy and better protection under warranty and longer drain intervals.

However, full  synthetics are about 30% more expensive than the average synthetic blend, and their increased life span doesn’t always compensate for that cost.

Synthetic Oil Vs Regular Oil

scaleMost of you know, that synthetic motor oils typically perform better than conventional motor oils in providing protection for your vehicle, but you might not know why.

So, what’s the difference between synthetic and conventional oil?

Visually, you cannot tell the difference between new synthetic and conventional oil. There are two major differences, however.

First, how they are made is a distinction. We’ve explained that synthetic is far more refined than conventional oil.

Second, used motor oil shows a lot thicker and sludgy in conventional oil vs synthetic oil, given the same amount of wear. Synthetic burns cleaner, thickens far more slowly, and has fewer deposits to start.

According to industry tests, synthetic oil engines perform 47% better than engines using conventional motor oil.

How Is Synthetic Oil Made?

Conventional and synthetic motor oils both begin in the ground and are derived from petroleum.

Synthetic oil is not only refined but also distilled, purified and broken down into its basic molecules.

This process not only removes more impurities from the crude oil but also enables individual molecules in the oil to be tailored to the demands of modern engines.

These customized molecules provide higher levels of protection and performance than conventional oils.

What Are The Benefits Of Synthetic Motor Oil?

As oil circulates through your engine it can pick up deposits.

1. Sludge Reduction

Over time, conventional oils can sometimes form sludge, which can reduce your engine’s efficiency and, ultimately, reduce the life of your engine.

Synthetics contain fewer impurities compared to conventional motor oils and can better resist the formation of sludge thereby preventing deposits from forming in your engine.

2. Durability

In the extreme environment of your engine, components can wear and break down.

Your motor oil is the protective barrier between these components. As conventional oils break down, their ability to prevent engine wear diminishes.

Synthetics, on the other hand, retain their wear protection properties for a much longer time, increasing engine life.

With conventional oils, it takes more time until they are able to flow smoothly through the engine.

3. Performance In Extreme Temperatures

snow roadDuring the cold winter months, or if you live in an extremely cold environment, this flow process takes even longer.

Synthetics, however, are engineered to flow quickly even at low temperatures, and they start protecting your engine right after you start your car.

When running, engines tend to get very hot. Over time, the high temperatures in your engine can cause conventional motor oils to break down or evaporate exposing your engine to wear.

Synthetic oils are engineered to resist these high temperatures, which is especially important if you’re driving in hot climates.

Can Synthetic Oil Be Mixed With Regular Oil?

faqYou might wonder, whether it is possible to mix the two kind of oils – synthetic and conventional.

Manufacturers state, that it should be fine to mix oils and it is unlikely anything bad would happen because the oils are compatible with each other.

Many oils are a blend of natural and synthetic oils. So, if you are low on oil, don’t be afraid to add a bit of synthetic if you are using regular oil or even regular oil if you are using a synthetic.

Despite this, it is not recommended to routinely mix oils because the additives in different products may interact or the oils may become destabilized by the mixture.

You may reduce or negate the properties of the additives.

You could lose the benefits of the more expensive product. So, adding regular oil to your special synthetic motor oil will mean you’ll need to get your oil changed sooner than you would have otherwise.

Main Advantages

thumbs upAlthough it is more costly, synthetic has its advantages.

It is designed to be more effective at: resisting break-down, and thus lasts longer than mineral oil, withstanding high temperatures, flowing in cold temperatures, thus reducing engine wear during frigid startups.

Using synthetic will prolong your oil life and require fewer changes. Another good use for synthetic oil is as a salve for older engines prone to sludge buildup.

The use of synthetic rather than conventional oil is a major benefit to the environment, as used motor oil is a major source of toxic waste in the water.

Synthetic Oil Disadvantages

thumbs downThe main disadvantage is the price.

Car experts recommend that regardless of whether you use natural or synthetic, you should change your oil every 3,000 miles.

Synthetic engine oil does allow for less frequent oil changes, but this is not recommended, especially for more inexpensive vehicles

Can You Use Synthetic Oil In Any Vehicle?

After you have heard about the benefits of synthetic motor oil in vehicles, you may be inclined to switch.

Although, there are some risks you should be aware of if you own an older vehicle.

Technology has improved significantly over the years, and most cars on the road today should be able to use either synthetic or regular oil, so long as the proper weight is used.

In fact, some new cars require synthetic motor oil.

However, one exception is with older vehicles, especially those with high mileage.

The seals in those engines may not be able to handle the additives in some synthetic oils. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to switch to synthetic in an older car.

There are engine oils specifically designed for cars with 75,000 miles or more on the clock, and you’d be better off using one of these.

Check out our guide to the best high mileage oil for more information.

Can You Use Synthetic Oil In Motorcycles?

motorcycle viewEven in motorcycles, you can use any oil that confirms to manufacturer’s viscosity specifications.

Synthetic will last longer before it breaks down and looses it’s initial lubricating, cooling and cleaning properties so you can extend your oil change interval.

Otherwise, any oil or combination of synthetic and mineral oils will do.

This includes non motorcycle-specific oils such as a car and a diesel/truck oils.

Synthetic Oil – When To Change It

whenYou may know, that you are required to change the oil in your vehicle regularly.

If you use synthetic oil, you should probably change it every 7,500 miles, though some can last 10,000-15,000 miles.

Synthetic does not break down as quickly as conventional oil, so it doesn’t need to be replaced quite as frequently.

Synthetic oil change intervals vary between products and are often dictated by the condition sin which you drive and the stress that you out your vehicle under, so check the manufacturer’s guidelines to be sure.

Do You Need A Synthetic Oil Filter To Use It?

oil filterThe answer is no, you do not have to use a special type of filter although you can buy synthetic oil filters.

That said they’re not meant solely for synthetic oil – they’re called synthetic because they’re made of more synthetic fibres than normal paper filters.

Typically, synthetic filters do a better job of trapping small contaminates for a longer period of time, meaning less frequent changes.

Look for an oil filter that provides 10,000 mile protection with at least a 98% efficiency, such as the Premium Guard Extended Life oil filter.

Can You Use Synthetic Oil In Diesel Engines?

dieselBetween gasoline and diesel engines it is the diesel ones that especially need more maintenance and frequent oil changes for maximum protection and cleanliness.

And it’s the best synthetic diesel engine oil that ensures your engine runs appropriately and efficiently even when under pressure.

There are synthetic oils specially built for diesel engines and the best fuel for your car is one that’s compatible with your engine.

Both gasoline and diesel engines have the same base oils while different additives change the oil’s properties. So the difference between the two lies in the number of additives used in the oil.

As diesel engines absorb more carbon while gasoline engines absorb more moisture and tar, diesel oils contain more dispersants and anti-wear additives.

Diesel engines also need oil with a higher viscosity, unlike gasoline engines that only produce more heat. Full sensitive diesel engine oils contain more additives as they work under harsher conditions.

One of the most popular and best synthetic oils for diesel engines is Mobil1, famous for its superior protection in all working conditions. It’s unique and balanced formula keeps your engine running like new.

Being synthetic diesel engine oil, it outperforms conventional motor oils by offering better protection to your vehicle.

Best Synthetic Oil Brands

Apart from Mobil1 there are a few more brands worth mentioning.

Castrol

castrol gtx magnatecCastrol GTX Magnatec recently came out on top in our recent review of the best 0w 20 synthetic oil (which is specifically designed to help prevent dry start ups in cold weather.

Shell Rotella

Shell Rotella T6 5W40Shell Rotella is also highly recommended because of its wide array of impressive features. Among others, it is preferred because of its low ash technology.

This feature is basically responsible for controlling the blockage of the exhaust, making the oil fuel-efficient and emission-compliant.

It is also worth noting that the base of this product is free-flowing synthetic base oil. This means various benefits, with one of the most significant being its ability to provide protection even in extreme climates.

Even under high temperatures, the right level of viscosity can be retained.

Pennzoil

pennzoil platinumPennzoil is also a popular brand.

Their motor roil is full synthetic, which means that there are no additives used in its formulation.

Because of its purity, you can expect maximum benefits.

Another significant benefit that should be highlighted is that it provides protection from engine’s loss of power, increasing its reliability.

How To Choose A Synthetic Oil For Your Vehicle

Choosing the correct motor oil for your car might seem daunting but the best way to start is by checking your owners manual for your car manufacturers suggested oil weight.

Adjust this weight based on the weather and then start choosing a specific motor oil brand by checking out the starburst symbol that indicates the oil has been tested and meets the standards of the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Your next task is to pick the viscosity (thickness) that’s suitable for the temperatures your vehicle normally operates in.

Wrapping It Up

Without a doubt, searching for the right synthetic oil is not going to be an easy task.

Make sure that it is made by a trusted brand, given high rating by other users, and more importantly, appropriate for the engine of your car.

Looking for a good oil filter?  Check out our guide to the best on the market right now.

Need a hand getting oil out of your coolant reservoir?  No problem, read this.

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This Is The Best Tuner For A 7.3 Powerstroke

Looking for the best tuner for your 7.3 Powerstroke?  You’ve come to the right place.

We’ve reviewed all the leading programmers.  Most aren’t worth your money.

But one, in particular, is.

Preview
Best Performer

Ford Powerstroke Diesel 7.3 1994-2003 TS Performance 6 Position Chip WITH KNOB 140+ HP
Best Alternative

Edge Products 15000 Evolution Programmer for Ford Powerstroke 7.3L
Best Of The Rest

Edge Products 15001 Evolution Programmer for Ford Powerstroke 7.3L
Product
Ford Powerstroke Diesel 7.3 1994-2003 TS Performance 6 Position Chip WITH KNOB 140+ HP
Edge Products 15000 Evolution Programmer for Ford Powerstroke 7.3L
Edge Products 15001 Evolution Programmer for Ford Powerstroke 7.3L
Rating
4.5
4.2
3.9
Price
$220.00
$396.19
$499.95
Best Performer

Preview
Ford Powerstroke Diesel 7.3 1994-2003 TS Performance 6 Position Chip WITH KNOB 140+ HP
Product
Ford Powerstroke Diesel 7.3 1994-2003 TS Performance 6 Position Chip WITH KNOB 140+ HP
Rating
4.5
Price
$220.00
Best Alternative

Preview
Edge Products 15000 Evolution Programmer for Ford Powerstroke 7.3L
Product
Edge Products 15000 Evolution Programmer for Ford Powerstroke 7.3L
Rating
4.2
Price
$396.19
Best Of The Rest

Preview
Edge Products 15001 Evolution Programmer for Ford Powerstroke 7.3L
Product
Edge Products 15001 Evolution Programmer for Ford Powerstroke 7.3L
Rating
3.9
Price
$499.95

The Best Tuner For 7.3 Powerstrokes Reviewed

When it comes to increasing the power and fuel economy in your Ford Powerstroke, a diesel programmer provides the best bang for your buck.

So, which one is the right choice for you? Let’s take a look at the best-selling 7.3 Powerstroke Tuners currently on the market to find out.

1. TS Performance 6 Position 7.3 Powestsroke Tuner Chip

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Best Tuner For 7.3 PowerstrokeIf you use your truck for a lot of towing, or just need an improvement in performance, this is the best Powerstroke tuner that you can purchase for the price.

It’s the best-seller by quite some distance, providing more power in the rear wheels than any other chip out there.

It has six settings that can be easily adjusted while you drive by turning a knob that is mounted to the dash.

Key Features

  • Adjustable in cab
  • Easy to install
  • Programming and hardware are designed by TS Performance
  • Anti-theft fitting
  • High Idle mode
  • Stock mode
  • 50, 75, 100, and 140 HP settings for huge increases in performance

There are six positions on this chip, offering a progressive increase in horsepower on each setting, which means you can adjust your truck’s capabilities to suit the job in hand with ease.

In stock mode you’ll notice an immediate increase in power.  High Idle mode helps you warm up your vehicle to maximize fuel economy and oil performance.

The 50 HP setting is the most commonly used of the six, with users reporting massive improvements in power and fuel consumption.

For larger towing jobs, and opening up on the highway, the 75 HP setting is very popular.

Given the huge improvements realized at the lower settings there are few reasons to go as high as the 100 HP or 140+ HP settings (most people report no intention of cranking things up that high), but if you do want to put your foot down they’re there for a little fun!

The six settings are programmed onto the chip based on the make, model, and year of the vehicle, and you can input your specs when ordering.

Overall, this chip has loads to offer at an incredible price.  One of the biggest benefits is definitely the ability to adjust it while you’re driving. It also offers more power than any of its rivals.

Averaging a whopping 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 400 independent reviews, it’s our NUMBER 1 CHOICE.

Buy on Amazon

2. 15000 Edge Tuner For 7.3 Powerstroke

Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

15000 Edge Tuner For 7.3 PowerstrokeIf you don’t have much experience in modifying vehicles you might want a tuner that is a bit easier to install.

This 15000 evolution programmer from Edge offers a tuner that is user friendly and has a lot of options.

It will allow you to enhance engine performance by increasing output by up to 100 HP.

In addition, it allows you to scan and then read computer codes so that you can easily find any issues and take care of them before they become serious.

There are three power settings for you to to choose from, so the scope is more limited than the TS.

There are more powerful options out there, but this is a good choice for many as its so easy to use.

Key Features:

  • 3 power levels
  • Additional 100 HP
  • Additional 200 ft lbs of torque
  • Adjustable shift points and pressures
  • Internet updatable
  • Scan tool allows you to read and clear any trouble codes

Overall, if you are looking for a tuner that is easy to use and provides your truck with more power, improved performance, and better gas mileage, this is a solid choice.

Although it’s easy to install and will provide you with the increased power that you’re looking for, you will have to pay quite a bit more for the privilege.

Buy on Amazon

3. 15001 Edge 7.3 Powerstroke Programmer

Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

15001 Edge 7.3 Powerstroke ProgrammerThis product is a bit more high-end.

It’s a dash mountable unit that can be painted to match your current interior, to makes it appear as if it has always been a part of the truck.

The tuner provides an additional 100 HP to your truck’s stock settings, and will add up to 200 ft lbs of torque.

Again there are three power levels and it also has a scan tool that allows you to clearly read any trouble codes.

Key Features:

  • In cab display
  • Reads EGTs
  • 3 power levels that are adjustable
  • LED backcolor that is adjustable
  • Diagnostic trouble codes are clearly displayed

The technology behind the device is constantly being improved and all you have to do to update it is plug it in to a computer with active internet.

The programmer is easy to install as it plugs directly into an OBDII plug.

Overall, this is a quality tuner that offers a lot of power.  Again, you’ll have to pay a bit more for it, but to many happy reviewers that has proved well worth it.

Buy on Amazon

So, What’s The Best Tuner For Your 7.3 Powerstroke?

If you’re looking for the most power and the most versatility in a tuner, the TS Performance 6 Position Chip is the best overall choice.

It features the widest range of settings, allowing you to increase your truck’s performance in stages to find the perfect setup.

TS Tuner For 7.3 PowerstrokeAt around 200 bucks it’s very affordable (about half the price of its nearest competitors) and as you’ll see in the video below, it’s pretty easy to install.

The other two options on this list are top choices as well.  We’re put off a bit by the price tag, and they offer a little less additional power, but they’re both good choices if you don’t like the idea of installing a tuner, or you don’t have a professional at hand to help you.

What Kind Of Performance Increase Will You Get?

In short, you’ll get a massive performance increase from a 7.3 Powerstroke Programmer.  Here’s what you can expect from the TS 6 Position Chip:

Well, that was pretty impressive, but what exactly will you get?

1. Increased Horsepower

Obviously!  But let’s explore this in a little more detail.

It would seem, from the majority of the independent reviews for this chip (400+ reviews to-date) that just cranking the dial up to the second setting (high-idle) will result in a noticeable increase in power.

The sweet spot for most users seems to be around the third or fourth settings (50 HO and 75 HP respectively) which appear to provide sufficient increases to handle any situation in your 7.3 Powerstroke.

Most users report not needing to go higher than these settings, even when towing heavy loads (which probably isn’t advisable anyway).

The few that have gone higher, cranking the chip right up to the fifth and sixth settings (100 HO and 140+ HP respectively) consistently report being amazed at the transformation in performance of their trucks.

Some say it’s like driving a new one!

2. Better Fuel Consumption

Perhaps surprisingly, users report experiencing huge savings in fuel consumption when using this 7.3 Powerstroke Tuner.

You might think with the increased in power that fuel economy would be worse, however the general consensus among users is that, over the course, you’re going to see big savings in your regular fuel spend.

Many users report getting as much as an extra 100 or so kilometers out of a full tank of gas after installation.

The average improvement seems to be around an extra 4 miles to the gallon, although some users have reported saving 8 mpg or more.

With miles to the gallon up, and dollars spent on gas down, what’s not to like?

3. Improved Transition

A nice knock on effect for many users, after installing the TS Tuner, has been a smoother gear shift, most notably when in the mid-range settings.

Users have noticed firmer shifting, which results in reduced “bumping” between gears, for a much smoother ride.

4.  Warming Up Your Engine With High Idle Mode

If you operate in cold temperatures then warming your engine up before heading off is highly advisable, not only to help manage fuel consumption but to contribute to better lubrication of vital engine components.

The high idle mode at the second setting of this tuner, at 1,200 rpm, does a great job of that.  a few minutes warming your old work horse up on this setting could extend your engine’s life considerably.

And, even if you’re not driving in the cold, a short “warming up” period in high idle mode could get you a few extra mpg on the highway, which adds up to a nice saving if you drive medium to long distances regularly.

How To Install A 7.3 Powerstroke Tuner

Assuming you’ve gone with the TS Performance Chip (lets’ face it; why wouldn’t you) the next step is to install it.

Here’s a handy clip from Thoroughbred Diesel to show you how:

So, briefly summarized, you need to do as follows:

Step 1

  • After you’ve unboxed the product, remove the battery cables
  • We’ll say it again: remove the battery cables!
  • Unhook the PCM wiring harness
  • Find the PCM (on the driver’s side underneath the console)
  • Remove the box and the frame
  • Then remove the PCM itself and its bracket casing
  • You’ll then need to take it out of the bracket
  • Make a note of the ECM flash code
  • Check that the code matches the chip that you’ve ordered

Step 2

  • Open the plastic cover to get inside the PCM
  • You’ll immediately see the contact plate where the chip will be installed
  • Remove the waxy layer covering the contact plate on both sides
  • Clean both sides of the contact with an emery cloth
  • You should just be able to see some copper for a good contact

Step 3

  • Drill a hole in the PCM casing to accommodate your switch wire
  • Thread the switch cable through the new hole of your case
  • Install your switch onto the TS chip, locking it in place
  • Now install the chip into the PCM
  • Do this by pushing it onto the computer board

Step 4

  • Slip the PCM back into the case
  • Reinstall it back in your truck
  • Do this by placing it back in the bracket and re-attaching the bracket under the console

Step 5

  • To install the switch in the cab you’ll need to take it apart
  • Loosen the set screw before removing the knob
  • Drill a hole in the cabin panel
  • Pull the switch through the new hole and tighten it using the nut
  • Re-attach the knob to the switch and tighten the set screw
  • The chip knob should turn freely between each of the six settings

Step 6

  • Re-install your cabin panel
  • Reconnect the PCM connection on the outside of your truck
  • Make sure that your wire loom is properly lined up
  • You can now re-attach your battery cables before starting up your truck
  • And voila, you’re good to go!

How To Use Your 7.3 Powerstroke Tuner

ford truck racingOnce installed, using the programmer is as easy as turning a knob.  And that’s all you need to do in fact.

But you need to think about how best to use each setting.

The first setting keeps you in “stock” mode, and, despite the manufacturers claims that you’ll notice an immediate difference in power, very few users have reported that in this mode, so we question whether you’ll be using it that much if you need a tuner to increase horsepower.

That said, you may wish to keep your engine in stock mode all of the time and just bump it up a few notches for specific jobs, like towing, uphill work, or driving on the highway.

To benefit from the “high-idle” mode discussed previously, you’ll need to crank the dial on to the second setting, which is great to help warm your truck up before opening it up on the freeway.

If you feel that you’re going to need some extra power for the task in hand, but not so much as to effect handling, perhaps for slow towing work, the third setting is a great place to be.  On this setting you will feel a huge increase in performance immediately, thanks to the extra 50 HP through the rear wheels.

It’s much the same with the fourth setting, although the power jumps up to 75 HP through the rear wheels.  That my not sound like the largest increase in the world, but on an open highway you will feel a significant response when you put your foot down, and also for the hardest of towing jobs, which will feel considerably less labored.

The fifth setting (100 HP through the rear wheels) and the sixth setting (140 HP through the rear wheels) sound nice, and look good on paper, but we can’t think of many scenarios when you’re going to need that level of power increase.

Indeed, you probably shouldn’t be towing anything of significant weight at these levels.  They are a bit of fun though if you find yourself on a nice open stretch of road – just make sure you don’t collect a ticket in the process.

What Is A 7.3 Powerstroke?

ford truck beachThis might seem a weird thing to include halfway down a page discussing 7.3 Powerstroke programmers, but you’d be surprised how many don’t know, and also how many people look to buy a tuner for a 7.3 Powerstroek on behalf of someone else.

So here’s a very brief run through.

Powerstroke refers to a line of diesel engines produced for the Ford motor company for use in their trucks from 1994.

The Power stroke engine has been used in the Ford F-Series, Ford E-Series, Ford Excursion, and Ford LCF commercial truck.

The Power Stroke engine line came into force essentially existed as a re-model of engines made by Navistar.

The first Power Stroke engine was the 7.3L Power Stroke V8, which was to be the Ford version of the Navistar T444E turbo-diesel V8.

The 7.3L Power Stroke was replaced by the 6.0L at the start of the second quarter of 2003.

Later models followed, including a 6.4, 6.7, 3.2 and 3.0 engine.

Since the introduction of the 6.7L PowerStroke V8 in 2010, Ford has manufactured its own diesel engines.

In its time, the Power Stroke engine has been competed with the likes of the General Motors Duramax V8 and the Dodge Cummins B-Series when marketed against large-block V8 (and V10) gasoline engines.

Of all of the Power Stroke engines produced, the 7.3 is the one with the largest user base.  7.3 Powerstroke owners, on the whole, love this engine, and it’s no surprise that it has developed quite the cult following.

So, a 7.3 Powestroke Programmer to improve performance is often the best Christmas present that die hard fan can receive.

Make of that what you will!

7.3 Powerstroke Specs

magnifying glassPower Stroke engines are controlled electronically.  The 7.3 is a direct injection engine featuring a 4.11″ bore and 4.18″ stroke which combine to create a displacement of over 400 cubic inches.

It’s compression ratio is 17.5:1, and a total weight of 920 pounds.

The 7.3 engine produces up to 250 horse power in automatic-transmission trucks from the final years of manufacture, and up to  275 horse power in manual-transmission trucks.

Most people think that it can hold up to 15 quarts of oil.  However a 7.3 oil pan can hold 15 quarts of oil on its own, with the top end holding an extra three quarts, making a total of 18.

The 1994 to 97 Power Stroke engine features “single shot” hydraulic electronic fuel injectors, whilst running a high pressure oil pump to reach sufficient oil pressure to engage the injectors. The 1997 trucks use a two-stage fuel pump, and the 1999-2003 models use a mounted electric fuel pump.

The 1994 to 1997 Power Stroke has a single turbocharger with a turbine housing.  In 1999, they added an air-to-air intercooler to increase air density by cooling the turbo charged air.  The cooler air results improves the engine’s horsepower potential, whilst at the same time reducing exhaust gas temperature.

7.3 Powerstroke Problems

ford truck problemsThat all sounds great, and the 7.3 is generally considered to be one of the most reliable truck engines of all time, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

Owners have experienced routine problems with the camshaft position sensor, which, from time to time would turn the truck off while in use, or revert to a no-start mode.  It’s easy to diagnose and fix, but it has in the past been a major gripe.

Many 7.3 owners also report problems with the fuel filter as the housing can begin to crack over time resulting in fuel leaks.

Blown fuses resulting from a short out of the heating element in the filter housing have also been a regular feature for 7.3 owners, who may also experience a no-start mode from this.

The up-pipes found on the turbocharger have also received wide criticism for not being up to scratch.  Leaks are a regular occurrence, especially at the joints, and result in the loss of engine power and an increase in exhaust gas temperature.

That may sound a lot, but compared to its main competitors it really isn’t.  The reality is that 7.3 Powerstroke performance and durability is second to none.

One final problem relates to decreased performance when towing or at speed over long distances.  That’s where getting the best 7.3 Powerstroke tuner comes in.  As we’ve seen, if you spend a bit of cash and a little time installing one, you can take your truck’s performance to the next level, and then some!

Best Brands

If you’ve read this far it will come as no surprise to you that we feel that the TS Performance 6 Position Chip is the best programmer for tuning a 7.3 Powerstroke.  And that is with good reason.

The company formed in 1997 and began by supplying customers with anything they needed for their diesel trucks. After a time the company started to offer their own tuning for the 7.3L Powerstrokes, before releasing their own chip to work with the Ford computer. That chip, the TS Performance 6 Position Chip, our number 1 pick, has grown to become, in their words “the most popular and widely used chip for the 7.3L Powerstroke engine“.

TS Tuner For 7.3 Powerstroke

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There are a couple of others who deserve a mention here too.

Edge Products, as we’ve seen, makes some pretty good stuff too.  It’s pricier, and won’t result in any better performance than the TS, but the interface is more modern  – they pride themselves on their ability to display multiple engine parameters on their programmers, which are easy to understand and easy to use. They’ve been around since 1999 and are a brand that you can trust with confidence.

A third company named Superchips also makes some decent tuning products that can help improve Powerstroke performance.  First incorporated in the UK they have grown to become a global leader in automotive tuning for late model cars, Jeeps and trucks.  If you’re looking for a 7.3 Powerstroke programmer, but don’t like any of the three on our list, you should consider Superchips as a good alternative.

Best Tuner For 7.3 Powerstroke – Wrapping It Up

Hopefully all of the information above has helped and you’re now in a position to choose the right programmer to improve the performance of your truck.

If you feel we’ve left anything out of this guide, or that any of the products reviewed above don’t deserve to be on our list, please let us know below.

Likewise if you’ve had any trouble with them or tuning your truck in general, we want to hear from you.

What next?

Well, if you’re a 7.3 Powerstroke owner we know that you’ve got a truck with a few miles on the clock, so why not check out our recent guide to the best oil for high mileage engines.

Do you use a CB radio?  If so check out our guide to the best in the business here.

Interested in claim-proofing your truck?  Then check out our review of the best dash cam for truckers.

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Lug Nuts And Lug Nut Removal – All You Need To Know

Lug nuts aren’t the sexiest of topics.  But for those new to the home garage movement it pays to know a bit about them.

So read on for…

Everything You Need To Know About Lug Nuts

When we were new to mechanics we had a lot of questions.  Many of those are featured below, in our quest to answer the most frequently asked questions about lug nuts.

What Are Lug Nuts?

lug nutsLug nuts are the bolts used to hold your wheel to your axle on your vehicle, typically a car or truck.

How Do You Use Them?

faqWhen installing lug nuts it’s highly recommended that you give the nut or bolt at least 10 turns by hand before ever putting a wrench on it to ensure that no cross threading has occurred, and that the threads are free of obstructions.

Once you’ve done that tighten the nuts all the way down to snug by hand before ever putting a torque wrench to them.

This ensures not only that the threading is correct, but that the nuts have centered correctly in the lug holes of the wheel.

Lug nuts must be installed in an alternating pattern, commonly referred to as a “star-pattern” technique of applying torque to one lug nut, then the one directly across from it, but it’s important enough to bear repeating.

Torquing the lug nuts in this manner ensures that they center properly.

Tor­que one nut, then cross the center of the wheel for the next nut, and so on.

For a 5-bolt pattern, this will have you torque the nuts in the classic star pattern. For a 4-bolt, it’s a cross pattern.

What Are The Different Types Of Lug Nuts?

lug nuts iiFor the most part, dealing with lug nuts only involves using the ones that came with the wheels.

However, changing wheels will often require different lugs, and this is where it becomes important to determine that they are the correct type for the wheel.

Having the correct lug nut for your vehicle helps ensure that your wheel is safely and securely installed.

Conical

The most common type of lug nuts, conical lugs are cone shaped and designed to fit a corresponding cone-shaped lug hole. A taper of 60 degrees is still the most common style.

Conical lugs are generally easy to work with and center correctly just about every time.

Flat

Flat lug nuts have a mounting surface that simply extends out 90 degrees from the lug stud and looks like a large washer.

Most also have a small barrel that extends into the wheel’s lughole for centering, which is what makes them somewhat tricky to deal with.

Ball 

Ball-style lug nuts are essentially round rather than cone-shaped. Thankfully, there are relatively few of these types left in service, as it can be very difficult to tell them apart from conical styles.

Confusing the two can cause serious – and usually irreparable – damage to the mating surfaces on the wheel.

Ball lug nuts can, however, still be found on certain Mercedes, Audi, VW and Honda vehicles.

Tuner

Many aftermarket wheels are designed for extremely small diameter lug nuts usually known as tuner lugs. In the olden days, tuner lugs were open in the center and designed to accept a solid hex-shaped key for installation and removal.

Most are not made this way anymore, as the open design allows a wide-open pathway for air and moisture to get to the studs and threads, causing serious corrosion problems.

In this case, it’s a good idea to recommend changing them out for a set of the newer spline drive lugs.

Spline Drive 

These lugs have many narrow grooves on the head and even down the sides that will accept a special low-profile key that can just fit over the lugs and into the lugholes.

Some people tend to think that spline drive lugs are akin to wheel locks and will protect their wheels from theft which is not true.

The spline drive key is never a unique pattern, and are easily available from any auto parts store. Relying on spline drive lugs for theft protection is no protection at all.

Lug Bolts 

While most cars have lug studs coming out from the rotor plate, some cars, particularly BMW, will have lug bolts that thread into the rotor plate.

They are typically seen on European vehicles. Most tire techs despise this as it means you can’t just hang the wheel assembly on the lug studs while you thread the nuts on.

Instead, you must hold the heavy assembly up against the rotor plate while threading the bolts through the wheel and into the rotor, a process that requires approximately 3½ hands.

Are Lug Nuts Universal Or Do They Come In Different Sizes?

tape measureLug nut sizes have a specific thread pitch, which is determined by vehicle specifications.

Having the correct lug nut for your vehicle helps ensure that your wheel is safely and securely installed.

Different lug nut sizes:

  • 10mm X 1.25
  • 12mm X 1.25
  • 12mm X 1.50
  • 12mm X 1.75
  • 14mm X 1.25
  • 14mm X 1.5
  • 14mm X 2.0
  • 7/16″ X 20
  • 1/2″ X 20
  • 9/16″ X 18

How Tight Should They Be?

Each nut should be fairly tight but not too close to the final torque.

They must be tight enough so they won’t come loose and the heat will transfer uniformly from the hub to the wheel for cooling.

That heat transfer needs to be uniform so it is important that they all be torqued to the same value.

Typically this is somewhere around 90 ft-lbs.

How Do You Tighten Them?

The proper way to tighten the wheel is to use a torque wrench to torque every lug nut to its recommended torque when the car is on the floor.

Some cars even require more complex procedure which is hand tight first, torque to a specific lower torque while the car is up in the air, then torque to its final torque specification when the car is on the floor.

Here are the steps on how to tighten the wheel lug nut properly:

  • Wipe every stud with a rag and air blow the inside of each lug nut to clean them.
  • Use hand to tighten each lug nut onto the studs.
  • If you have an impact wrench, you may use it to barely snug up each lug nut, stop as soon as possible when  you hear a couple of clicks.
  • Drop the car on the floor.
  • Set the manufacturer recommended torque on the torque wrench and tighten each nut according to it.

The right order to tighten the lug nut is not clock or counterclockwise.

If it is a four stud wheel, you should tighten them in a cross order, which means first tighten the top one, second the bottom one, third the left one, last the right one and so forth.

If it has five studs, then you should follow an order of drawing a star.

It is recommended to re-torque the lugs after about 200 miles of driving, especially on alloy wheels.

Can They Be Too Tight?

Some technicians use an impact wrench to tighten every lug nut until he hear many clicks. However, not too many people notice that all the lug nut could be over tighten that way.

It’s remotely possible that dirt or corrosion is causing certain nuts to seem tight when they aren’t.

In that case it is recommended to clean any that seem like they might be a problem, and to apply some anti-seize compound.

What Are The Dangers Of Over Tightening Them?

Over tighten can stretch the stud and cause failure around the rotor.

It can also be the reason of brake warping on a vehicle.

It can make them virtually impossible to remove with normal tools (especially typical lousy tire irons) which can turn a flat tire into a need for a tow.

On some cars, it can cause warpage of brake discs or drums, or even of wheel hub flanges. And in extreme cases, it can cause the lug stud to break off.

What Equipment Do You Need To Tighten Them?

air impact wrenchWhile a lug, socket or impact wrench may be used to tighten lug nuts the final tightening should be performed by a torque wrench, ensuring an accurate and adequate load is applied.

Using the manufacturer recommended torque helps guarantee that there isn’t either too much or too little pressure on any of the assemblies to which the wheel attaches.

Before you install your wheels, check your vehicle’s recommended torque.

The general rule for steel wheel lug nut torque is usually around 80-90ft/lb, and for aluminum wheel is around 100ft/lb.

It can be used in most cases, but we would still prefer you to research for the exact torque for every particular model before you start working.

What Tools Do You Need To Loosen Them?

air impact wrench iiLug nuts may be removed using a tire iron, lug or impact wrench.

Tire irons can be purchased in  your local auto parts stores that usually have an end that fits all vehicles.

You may also choose to simply use a deep socket of the appropriate size with a ratchet or breaker bar.

If the lug nuts have rusted over, apply a generous amount of a thread loosener or rust remover to the nuts.

Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then attempt to loosen the lug nut again.

If the lug nut and stud break, you will need to have a new lug stud installed in order to repair the vehicle.

Be sure to use the correct sized socket.

A socket that is slightly too large could round off the lug nut.

If the wheel is to be removed then an automotive jack to raise the vehicle and some wheel chocks would be used as well.

Wheels that have hubcaps or hub covers need these removed beforehand, typically with a screwdriver, flatbar, or prybar.

What Are The Most Common Problems With Lug Nuts?

  • Failure to abide by the recommended torque value can result in damage to the wheel and brake rotor/drum.
  • Additionally, under tightened lug nuts may come loose with time.
  • Lug nuts can be difficult to remove, as they may become frozen to the wheel stud.
  • It is crucial that the lug nut seat and the wheel lug seat match.
  • If the lug nut seat type does not match the wheel seat type, it is possible that the lug nut could damage the wheel.
  • It is also likely that a mismatched lug nut and wheel could potentially cause the lug nut to loosen and the wheel to become unsecure to the vehicle.
  • If the lug is not centered just right, the stem can catch on the flat mounting surface rather than going into the hole, and if you’re not paying attention it can seem as if the lug nut has tightened when in fact it has not.
  • The best way to avoid this is to hand-tighten all the lug nuts to ensure proper fit before applying final torque.
  • Swelling lug nuts are common to Chrysler, Ford, and Toyota vehicles. The chromed caps separate from the steel nuts, moisture gets in between the two and causes corrosion, and the nuts swell.

Lug Nut Removal – How Do You Get Them Off In These Circumstances?

In such circumstances a breaker bar or repeated blows from an impact wrench can be used to free them.

  • Alternating between tightening and loosening can free especially stubborn lug nuts.
  • If the wheel is seized in place and won’t come off from you pulling on it, use a rubber mallet to bang it loose.
  • Strike the tire where the rim and tire meet all along the circumference of the wheel until it breaks loose.
  • Do not use a metal hammer to hit the rims or you may damage them.
  • It may take a good deal of force to remove the wheel if it is rusted in place.
  • For stubborn nuts, heat the nut with a torch, then move the flame away and immediately apply WD-40 or any other penetrating oil against the heated bolt threads.
  • The quick change from high heat to to the cool oil will cause the nut to retract and expand, allowing the penetrating oil deeper into the threads to create a slippery surface.
  • You can do this multiple times. Just make sure there is nothing flammable around when torching.
  • After doing this a couple times, use a breaker bar to pull it free.
  • If this fails, you may need to use an angle grinder to cut a groove in the nut, and a flathead bit on a hammer drill to get it out.

Self-Help

It is better to have a stripped or rounded lug nut cut off by a professional.

However, if you are ready to give it a try and remove rounded nuts yourself here is how:

  • First of all take a socket, place its mouth on the lug nut, and tap with the back with the hammer.
  • Make sure you don’t hit too hard. That may have the socket stuck badly.
  • Keep tapping till it fits well.
  • Secondly take the beaker bar and fit it onto the socket’s back.
  • Start hitting with the hammer on the breaking bar’s handle to the left.
  • When you do so a couple of times, you will feel that you are getting closer to breaking the lug nut free.
  • With persistent pressure towards the right, the lug nut will break free with a jerk.
  • Twist the socket clockwise and anti-clockwise a bit and pull it out. It will come off easily.
  • Once the nut is off, you still have to deal with the lug nut which will still be stuck in the socket.
  • Loosely screw the nut along with the socket back again.
  • Then gently tap the socket up and down with the hammer.
  • The socket will come out while the nut will be right there loosely screwed in.
  • You can twist it with your hand and pull it out.

Wrapping It Up

Well, hopefully that whirlwind tour of lug nuts and all they’re about has been helpful and you’re now better placed to work with them.

Let us know below, we’d love to hear from you.

What next?

Why not check out our recent post on how to remove a stripped lug nut (an altogether different kettle of fish!).

Or check out our new guide on the best air impact wrench for lug nuts to make things an absolute breeze.

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Sources:

Tire Review

Discount Tire Direct

Wiki

 

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How To Remove Rust From Your Car

If you happen to own an automobile (or are planning on buying one and want to learn how to keep it in great shape), this is an important guide for you. Check out this guide before buying a used car, a list of 101 questions to ask the previous owner to make sure that there are no hidden problems or hidden rust!

How To Remove Rust From A Car

It creeps up silently, takes its time developing and before you know it, your beloved vehicle looks aged, run-down and neglected.

Sounds bad, but the bark is usually worse than the bite here. That said the brown parasite can cause serious damage to your car if it gets to the frame components, so you need to get rid of it before it does.

To be able to successfully get rid of rust (and hopefully keep it at bay) it’s imperative to first understand what causes it.

Causes Of Rust

Rust is caused by a chemical reaction of iron and its alloys to oxygen and water.

oxygen and water cause rustBasically, moisture is the main culprit with saltwater and winter road treatments speeding up the whole rusting process.

There are broadly three stages of rust that develops on cars: surface rust, scale and penetration.

However, as you’ll soon discover, getting rid of rust is not half the daunting task it seems to be.

All it takes is a little preparation, patience and a few readily-available tools and materials.

Here’s all you need to know about the different methods of removing rust from your car, starting with basic prep.

Preparation

Regardless of which method you choose to work with, the following steps are highly advisable for safety purposes and to prevent further damage:

  • Be sure to wear safety glasses, gloves and a dust mask (though a respirator is advisable while using a grinder)
  • Use masking paper to mask clean spots to prevent them from getting dusty

Surface Rust

Surface rust mainly occurs when paint breaks down due to mechanical or UV damage.

surface rustIt doesn’t usually pose a problem as it is largely dependent on alloy composition and metal thickness.

However, it is highly recommended to correct surface rust as and when it occurs.

Solution 1: Rust Remover

Materials/tools required:

Liquid or aerosol rust remover or rust converter, sandpaper, grease and wax remover soap, rag, primer, spray paint

krud kutterMethod:

  1. Spray/brush the remover onto the affected area (as per the directions on the packaging) and let it sit for a few minutes
  2. Wipe off residue with a clean rag
  3. Remove any residual rust with sandpaper
  4. Clean the surface with a grease and wax remover soap
  5. Air dry the surface
  6. Spray a light to medium coat of primer and let it dry for an hour (three such coats should suffice)
  7. Spray about five-six coats of paint within plenty of time in between to prevent drips
  8. Make sure the paint coats are thinner than those of the primer
  9. Spray the clear coat
  10. Wait a minimum of three days before washing and two-six months before waxing your car

Why not check out our guide to the best rust converters around right now?

Solution 2: Pure White Vinegar (distilled)

Materials/tools required:

Distilled pure white vinegar, sandpaper, rag

Method:

  1. Use sandpaper to remove any rust in the affected area that is loose
  2. Use a vinegar-soaked rag over the area by holding it down for several minutes (the longer you hold it the more rust it will dissolve)
  3. Repeat the process as many times as required to remove all the rust from your car
  4. Follow steps 6-10 from Solution 1.

Scale

The underlying cause behind scale rust is that rust molecules are physically larger than those of iron or steel.

rusty didgeWhen you fail to remove rust when it is at surface level, it forms bubbles.

It begins to expand and flake away, thereby exposing base metal that soon begins corroding, causing a serious problem.

Removing this kind of rust demands significantly more effort and skill than surface rust, hence it is advisable not to let the rust develop till this stage at all.

Solution 3: Body Filler

Materials/tools required:

Grinder with sanding wheel, self-etching primer, fiberglass-reinforced body filler, fine grit sandpaper, wax and grease remover, spray paint

Method:

  1. Use the grinder to remove surface rust while taking care not to apply too much pressure
  2. Use a grease remover to clean the area
  3. Use the filler for the holes and let it cure completely
  4. Sand the filler with sandpaper then clean with wax and grease remover
  5. Use self-etching primer and leave to dry
  6. Follow steps 7-10 from Solution 1

Penetration

In case you haven’t dealt with the rust in its scale stage, it will advance to an even more problematic stage called ‘penetration’.

rust holeIn this stage, the base metal of the car gradually flakes away leaving holes in its place.

Having a car reach this stage leaves you with two options:

  • replace the entire affected panel

OR

  • cut out the affected parts and weld in ‘patch panels’ in place of them

At this stage the car is highly susceptible to crashes and further damage as its frame has been severely affected.

In this case, your best bet would be consulting a professional and getting it repaired at a repair facility.

Rust Prevention

Arguably the best way to deal with rust is to prevent it from accumulating on your car altogether.

Prevention is indeed better than cure, especially when you’ve invested thousands of dollars in your car and the alternative is spending hundreds more on ensuring it looks brand-new for years.

Hence, these are the most effective ways of preventing rust from developing on your car:

  • Wash your car regularly and thoroughly
  • Keep the underside clean from dirt, road grime and salts as these lead to corrosion
  • Check the drain holes that are present along the bottom of doors and rocker panels (that allow rainwater to flow out) regularly
  • Use a pipe cleaner to thoroughly clean these holes
  • Use multiple coats of wax, especially during winter months to protect paint, road grime and water
  • Don’t let snow and chemicals accumulate while driving on snowy or salty roads
  • Use rust prevention paint

Sources

Advance Autoparts

Popular Mechanics

Cartoq

Wiki

DIY

Wrapping It Up

Hopefully that’s been a useful overview and you’re now well equipped to remove rust from a car should the need arise.

Have you had to de-rust a car before?  How did you do it?  And are there any suggestions not included in our guide that you’d recommend?

Let us know below.

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How To Become A Truck Driver – Ultimate Guide

The commercial driving industry is an ideal opportunity to begin your driver career as a passionate traveler.

However, it’s not easy to enter this industry.

In order to drive commercial vehicles you must be having a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

How To Become A Truck Driver – All You Need To Know

The CDL ensures that the drivers are trained and qualified enough to drive high capacity commercial vehicles.

The CDL is issued by the Department of Transportation (DoT).

how to become a truck driverThe rules and regulations for obtaining a CDL vary from state to state, however to get a CDL there are certain basic requirements that an applicant must full fill.

All license classes (A, B, and C) have the same basic requirements. However, there are additional requirements for each license class which we’ll go through a little later.

How To Get Your CDL

The minimum age to obtain an intra-state CDL is 18 years while for an inter-state CDL you have to be at least 21 years old.

Paperwork

specificationsYou will have to: submit your state’s CDL Application and pay the appropriate fee; provide identity and social security number verification (check your state’s requirements); provide proof of state and US residency; submit a completed Medical Examination Report Form and Medical Examiner’s Certificate Form; Pass a vision test; pass a knowledge exam.

After passing the exam, you will be issued a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). You will have to wait a minimum of 14 days before you can schedule your CDL road skills examination.

You will have to go through a pre-trip inspection. Once you are done with that, you will be able to pass the road skills and driving examination (you must bring your own vehicle).

After passing, you will have to pay the necessary fees for your new CDL (Optionally, submit a 10 Year Record Check, if you’ve had a driver’s license in any state or jurisdiction other than the one where you are applying for your CDL).

State To State

Although, there are different types of commercial drivers license and the requirements may vary by state, many of them are universal for all of the states, some of them are even federally mandated.

For example, it is a federal law that you must be 21 years of age or older to drive commercially interstate. However, many states will issue a CDL strictly for intrastate driving for those who are 18 or older. That is, why it is important to  check your state’s regulations.

When you are completely prepared to apply for your CDL, and you’ve filled out your state’s CDL application, you will need to provide proof of your social security number, your identity and your residency.

Exams

test paperOnce you have provided all necessary documents, you ought to pass the exams.

First, you must pass a vision exam and a knowledge exam. After you pass these, you will receive your commercial learner’s permit (CLP).

The Code of Federal Regulations states that you must have your CLP for a minimum of 14 days before you can take your road skills test, and the maximum amount of time you can hold a CLP is 180 days. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently considering extending this to 365 days.

Medicals

As far as the medical forms are concerned, drivers are required to fill out the medical history portion of the Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, MCSA-5875.

If the Medical Examiner determines that the driver examined is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with the physical qualification standards, the Medical Examiner will complete and provide the driver with a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC), Form MCSA-5876.

The Different Commercial Driving Licence Classes

According to guidelines issued by DoT, there are three different classes of CDL depending upon the type of vehicle to be operated.

truck windowClass A License

You have to get this type of a license if you are driving a combination of vehicles with a weight of over 26,000 pounds, and the vehicle that is being towed is over 10,000 pounds.

For many states, this would include commercial vehicles that have trailers or semi-trailers with two or more axles.

To be able to get a Class A License you need to do get through all of the requirements needed to get a CDL which we have discussed earlier.

Depending on your particular vehicle, you may need to take extra endorsement exams. Firstly, you need to bring a class A vehicle to your driving skills test.

You may want or need to take the double-triple endorsement exam, which allows you to drive with double and triple trailers, and the combinations endorsement exam.

If your vehicle has air brakes, you’ll also need to take the air brakes endorsement test.

Class B License

Needed in order to drive single vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle 10,000 pounds GVWR or less.

You are required to get all the paperwork done and bring a class B vehicle to your road skills test.

If you decide to drive a tank vehicle or one with air brakes, you will need to get endorsements.

Class C License

With this kind of license you will be able to drive vehicles with a GVWR or GCWR less than 26,001 pounds.

Class C is strictly for vehicles designed to carry 16 or more people (including the driver), or carrying hazardous materials requiring the vehicle to display placards.

The process of how to get a class C license is very similar to the class A or class B licenses though it depends on which type of vehicle you will be driving.

If you are just transporting passengers, you will need the passenger transport endorsement.

For driving a school bus, you’ll need the school bus driver endorsement. For hazardous materials transporting, you’ll need the Hazmat endorsement.

For hazardous materials, you will also need to undergo additional state and/or TSA background checks.

Wrapping It Up

Overall, these are the factors that a future truck driver should consider and follow in order to apply for a Commercial Driver’s License.

You should also keep in mind, that the most important element needed, is your determination and dedication.

Good luck!

What next?  Once you’re up and running you’ll want a good CB Radio to communicate with other drivers and logistics, and a good dash cam for your truck for added protection.

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The Best 6 Gallon Air Compressor – Our Top 10 Picks

After a lengthy process trying to find the best 6 gallon air compressor on the market, we’ve come up with a list of ten recommendations.

There’s a full guide later on, but for now take a look at the reviews below to see the top choices for price, popularity and performance.

Preview
Best Budget Option

DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
Highly Recommended

PORTER-CABLE PCFP12234 3-Tool Combo Kit
Our Top Pick

BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit
Product
DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
PORTER-CABLE PCFP12234 3-Tool Combo Kit
BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit
Rating
4.1
4.3
4.3
Price
$129.00
from $227.95
from $99.00
Best Budget Option

Preview
DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
Product
DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
Rating
4.1
Price
$129.00
Highly Recommended

Preview
PORTER-CABLE PCFP12234 3-Tool Combo Kit
Product
PORTER-CABLE PCFP12234 3-Tool Combo Kit
Rating
4.3
Price
from $227.95
Our Top Pick

Preview
BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit
Product
BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT 3-Tool Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit
Rating
4.3
Price
from $99.00

The Best 6 Gallon Air Compressors Reviewed

Finding an air compressor that’s a good fit for your garage, workshop or business can be tricky.

As you’re dealing with stored potential energy you’ll want a compressor that’s safe, reliable, and easy to use.

All of the air compressors on our list tick these boxes.  There are eight 6 gallon air compressors listed, plus one slightly larger, and one slightly smaller alternative.

1. BOSTITCH 3-Tool Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

best 6 gallon air compressorThis 3-Tool Combo Kit by BOSTITCH is the Best-Seller and our Number 1 Pick.

The compressor features a 150 max PSI 6 gallon tank and a high efficiency motor that has an easy start up feature for use in cold weather.

It’s a cordless compressor with an easy to use oil-free (and maintenance-free) pump, which allows for a long run time and quick recovery.

Its operational noise level is just 78.5 dBA, which is ideal for a quiet working environment.

The air-hose is a generous 15 feet long for easy maneuverability.

The kit includes: 6-gallon Pancake Compressor; Brad Nailer; Straight Finish Nailer; Heavy Duty Crown Stapler; Air Hose; and Sample Fasteners.

It comes with a 1 year warranty, and you can purchase it without the additional accessories if you’d prefer.

This air compressor scores consistently higher than any other – the rating above is based on over 1,000 independent user reviews!

Things we like:

  • Less than 3 minutes to reach the maximum 150 psi
  • The tank fills fast, the motor is powerful and yet very quiet
  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • No air leakage
  • Easy for beginners to operate

Things we don’t like:

  • The quality of the accessories and the hose aren’t amazing

Buy on Amazon

 

2. PORTER-CABLE 3-Tool Combo Kit

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

porter cable 3 tool combo kitA close runner up is this Combo Kit from Porter-Cable which is includes a 6 gallon, 150 psi compressor.

It features a maintenance-free pump and an 120V electric unit which can run on a standard household current.

Weighing just 30lbs it’s super portable, and comes with a 25 foot air hose with a coupler and plug, plus a belt hook accessory and fasteners.

The compressor comes with a Finish Nailer, Brad Nailer and a Heavy Duty Crown Stapler.

A 1-year limited warranty on the compressor components is included as standard.

Very unlucky not be named number 1, this is an excellent choice.

Things we like

  • Great price for the air compressor and the three tools
  • All triggers are responsive and easy to use
  • No break-in period required, the pressure is easy to adjust
  • All couplings and gauges seem sturdy

Things we don’t like

  • It isn’t as quiet as the Bostitch

Buy on Amazon

 

3. DeWALT 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor

Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

dewalt 6 gallon pancake compressorThis 6 Gal Pancake Compressor from DeWALT represents excellent value for money.

It has a high efficiency motor, which starts easily in the cold.

The air compressor has a 165 max PSI air pressure, which is higher than most compressors in this category.

The 6 gallon tank can deliver 2.6 standard cubic feet per minute at 90 pounds per square inch.

It has a long time with quick recovery and works at a quiet 75.5 dBA.

The air tool is regulated by a high flow regulator, while the long-life oil-free pump allows for operation without maintenance.

Comes with two universal couplers to support two users and has thermal overload protection to prevent overheating.

The DeWalt weighs just 30 lb making it portable and easy to store.

For a standalone air compressor without all the flutes and whistles, this should be your first choice.

Things we like

  • It’s nice and quiet
  • High-flow regulator for increased performance
  • Features protective rubber leg covers

Things we don’t like

  • Two people can’t use it that effectively at the same time

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4. Ridgid 6 Gallon Portable Electric Pancake Air Compressor

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

ridgid 6 gallon portable electric pancake compressorThis portable electric pancake compressor by Ridgid has a 6 gallon tank that reduces the cycle frequency to 150 MAX psi for tough jobs.

It can provide 2.6 SCFM at 90 psi for high air-delivery and has a maximum performance Universal motor for superior starting, even with low voltage.

The tool works with an oil-free pump offering reliable performance and little to no maintenance.

It comes with a locking regulator to prevent unwanted pressure changes.

The ball valve drains the tank quickly with one turn.

There are also two universal couplers that are easily plugged.

Ridgid’s compressor is well made and easy to use, making it a solid choice.

Things we like:

  • Reliable, with hose connections
  • The drain valve is conveniently tucked just under the rim of the tank

Things we don’t like:

  • A bit noisier compared to some others

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5. Campbell Hausfeld Quiet Air Compressor – 6 Gallon Pancake

Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

campbell hausfeld best quiet air compressor - 6 gallon pancakeCampbell Hausfeld’s 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor is one of the quietest units on the market.

It works at just 68 dBa, which is up to 50% quieter than some of it’s main rivals to guarantee as quiet a working environment as you’re likely to find.

It features a long life, oil-free air compressor pump, marketed as maintenance-free for long term use.

Its key components apparently last up to four times longer and it produces 25% more air compared to other 1.0 HP compressor motors.

Comes in a pancake design with a dual piston pump system which results in durability and high performance.

With a max PSI of 125 it’s ideal for a variety of projects including nailing and bolting, stapling, fastening and hobby painting.

This is a great product from a great brand.

Things we like

  • Quiet operation – one of the quietest air compressors in the industry
  • Reliable power with a maximum PSI of 125
  • Oil and maintenance free, this portable air compressor offers a user-friendly experience.

Things we don’t like

  • None that we can think of.

Check Price

 

6. California Air Tools Ultra Quiet & Oil-Free 5.5 gallon Aluminum Portable Air Compressor

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

california air tools 5.5 gallon alluminum best portable air compressorThis Electric Air Compressor by California Air Tools is an oil-free tool that boasts ultra-quiet operating levels of just 60 decibels.

It features a very powerful 1.0 HP motor.  It achieves that power with only 1,680 RPM, which results in less wear and less noise.

The aim was to increase the duty cycle to receive longer continuous run times, which it achieves.

The air compressor has a dual piston pump system for durability and high performance and a life cycle of of 3,000 Plus hours before wear.

The CAT-5510A, as its known, comes with one of the largest air tanks in the business, but at just 37.5 lbs and with a handy wheel kit, it’s very easy to move around.

Things we like:

  • Ultra Quiet air compressor of only 60 Decibels
  • Oil-Free Pump allowing for less maintenance and lower costs
  • 5 Gallon Rust Free Aluminum Tank with wheels
  • Powerful 1.0 HP Motor

Things we don’t like:

  • It’s capacity is actually 5.5 gallons, not 6

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7. Goplus Oil-Free Pancake Air Compressor

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

goplus oil free best pancake air compressorThis 6 Gallon, 150 PSI, 1.5HP Compressor from Goplus features an oil-free air pancake design that’s portable and quiet.

It’s ideal for use at home, in the machinery, chemical and mechanical industries, and other fields where compressed air is required.

The air compressor is equipped with an ergonomic handle which makes it is easy to control.

GoPlus’ leading model comes with a strong 0.5 horsepower 2 pole universal motor power, that can dramatically increase your working efficiency.

It is easy to start up in cold weather and it features a thermal overload protector and a built-in quick coupler for convenient air hose connection.

As far as air compressors go, this one’s fairly green, with energy conserving and environmental protecting features.

Things we like:

  • Oil-free pump and lightweight design
  • No maintenance needed
  • Adjustable output pressure for a variety of jobs
  • Smooth and reliable operation
  • 4 damping bases for extra stability

Things we don’t like:

  • None that we can think of

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8. JEGS Performance 6 Gallon Air Compressor

jegs performance 6 gallon air compressorJEGS’ pancake style compressor has a decent 1.5 HP motor.

It comes with an power output of 2.5 CFM at 90PSI.

The noise from the air compressor reaches 90 Db, which makes it quite noisy for indoor use, so do bear that in mind if you’re considering it.

The kit comes with a 3′ 6′ Power Cord 19.5″ H x 16″ Dia. 32.6 lbs. and an overload protection feature.

It’s fairly new on the market so user feedback is a bit scarce – time will tell if it deserves a higher place in our Top 10.

Things we like

  • The air delivery: 2.5 CFM @ 90 PSI
  • The low maintenance oil free design
  • The pancake style tank for extra stability
  • The protective shroud which prevents damage to vital motor parts and plumbing

Things we don’t like

  • The noise from the air compressor reaches 90 Db, which is quite noisy

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9. California Air Tools Oil-Free 8 Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

california air tools 8 gallon ultra quiet air compressorAn alternative suggestion for those who want a larger air compressor, this ultra-quiet unit from California Air Tools , like the 5.5 gallon model reviewed above, is super quiet, working at just 60 decibels.

Again it features a powerful 1.0 HP motor that operates at only 1,680 RPM.

The air compressor uses an oil-free dual piston pump system which guarantees high performance and durability.

Its life cycle reaches 3000 plus hours and can be used in uneven terrain and a variety of temperatures.

The 8.0 Gallon Steel Air Tank is lightweight (54 lbs) and its wheel kit makes it very easy to transport.

This air compressor is ideal for anyone working inside where noise is a major issue.

Things we like:

  • Ultra quiet, just 60 Decibels.
  • The time to fill tank from empty to full – 165 Seconds
  • Less Maintenance and Costs thanks to the Oil-Free Pump
  • Maximum Pressure – 120 PSI

Things we don’t like:

  • Aesthetically the weld finish around the tank could be a bit better

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10. Makita Big Bore 2.5 HP 4.2 Gallon Portable Air Compressor

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

makita big bore 2.5 hp portable air compressorThe final product on our list is an alternative for those who’d consider a slightly smaller air compressor.

This 4.2 Gallon Option by Makita comes equipped with their Big Bore engineered pump cylinder and also a piston for higher output.

It can handle two nailers with less noise for improved job site performance.

The Makita has a highly durable build, for tough job site conditions and can deliver industrial level power to match them.

The Big Bore piston and cylinder are larger than those in standard compressors, so they compress more air on each stroke.

The twin-stacked 4.2 gallon tank maintains an operating pressure of 130 PSI, and delivers 40 PSI (4.8 CFM) and 90 PSI (4.2 CFM).

Portability and additional protection are provided by the roll bar handle.

This air compressor gets amazing feedback from users – the rating above is abased on nearly 600 independent reviews!

Things we like

  • Versatile Design for a Range of Applications
  • Convenient oil drain and oil sight glass
  • Low noise, high output and less maintenance
  • Industrial power and improved durability under tough job site conditions

Things we don’t like

  • None that we can think of

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So, Which One’s The Best?

All of the air products on our list are excellent options.  They’ve each been around for long enough to receive hundreds, and in some cases thousands of positive reviews.  You’ll get quality, whichever one you choose.

But, if you really pressed us to pick the best 6 gallon air compressor, we’d have to go with the Bostitch.  The combo kit comes with a series of nail guns which are incredibly handy if you don’t already have them.  However the compressor itself is well worth the price, regardless of the accessories.

bostitch 3 tool portable air compressor combo kitIt’s powerful, reliable, quiet and easy to use.  Of all of the products listed it’s received the most positive feedback, and it’s the best seller by a mile.

Porter Cable’s combo kit is a very close second and to be honest if at the time of purchase it’s cheaper than the Bostitch you may as well go with it – there’s really not a lot of difference, save for the Bostitch has been around for longer.

For value for money, and for a standalone 6 gallon air compressor without that comes without any additional accessories DeWalt’s 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor should be your first choice.

Complete Guide To Buying A 6 Gallon Air Compressor

An air compressor is a device that is able to convert power into potential energy, storing it as compressed air.

They use a diesel or gasoline engine, or an electric motor, to force the air into a storage tank to increase the pressure inside.

Then, as the tank pressure reaches its limit, the air compressor shuts off, and the compressed air is stored in the tank until needed.

At the point during use when the tank pressure reaches its lower limit, the air compressor turns on and the process starts all over again to re-pressurize the tank.

The air compressor differs from the pump, since it works for any air and gas, while the pump works on liquids.

In this guide we’ll run through everything you need to know about air compressors, the different types and your options on which to buy.

We’ll also take a look at some important things you need to consider when purchasing an air compressor for a home garage or small workshop.

But before we go any further check out this handy clip on how an air compressor works, and what to look for in a good one:

Air Compressor Types And How They Work

If you are new to the world of air compressors, the impressive number of options can seem a bit overwhelming.

They are initially divided into three groups based on the pressure delivered:

Low Pressure Units

These discharge pressure of 150 psi or less;

Medium Pressure Units

These discharge pressure between 151 psi and 1,000 psi

High Pressure Units

These discharge pressure of above 1,000 psi.

Then, depending on the principle of their operation and their design, air compressors and be classified as single-stage and two –stage reciprocating compressors, compound compressors, rotary-screw and rotary-vane compressors, scroll and turbo compressors, as well as centrifugal compressors

Key Distinctions

Air compressors have a wide range of uses, which commonly include the supply of high-pressure air to fill gas cylinders, and the supply of moderate-pressure to fill tires and power pneumatic tools.

specificationsOil Injection

AC pumps can can be either oil-less or oil-injected.  You’ll probably have notice that all of the products on our list are of the oil-less variety commonly used in 6 gallon models to keep maintenance to a minimum.

Oil-less compressors are more technical and provide better air quality, but are louder and more expensive compared to oil-injected units.

Power Source

Air compressors can utilize different power sources, with gas, diesel and electricity the most common.

The power of the air compressors is measured in cubic feet per minute of intake air, and the gallon size of the tank specifies the volume of the compressed air that is available.

Those that are powered by gas or diesel are usually used in remote areas where there is no electricity. They need ventilation for the exhaust gases and are quite noisy.

Electric powered air compressors are commonly used in domestic and light industrial workshops and garages where there is a permanent electrical power supply.

Portability

Depending on their size and purpose they can be either portable or stationary. And depending on the tank shape, the air compressors could be horizontal and vertical, twin tank or pancake.

The choice of the right air compressor should be closely linked to the project that you will be working on and whether the tool needs to be portable or not.

Our guide features mainly small units that can be easily stored, but which are powerful enough to be used on various projects, including light industrial and commercial use.

Important Features

People use air compressors for a variety of jobs, but most often they’re used as air tools for pneumatic equipment like pneumatic nail guns and impact wrenches, as well as for spray painting and inflating tires.

air compressor in actionLet’s take at some important things you should know before buying one for any of these tasks.

The Tank

Most people don’t need a compressor with a large tank – a six-gallon tank can provide more than enough power for most jobs.

That said, most buyers go for a compressor between six to eight-gallons, which is why we’ve included a slightly larger option for those who might want that extra bit of capacity for bigger jobs.

Air compressors around this size are convenient and easy to use.  They require no oil changes and almost no maintenance.

They come with drain valves which allow the compressor to go from full to empty very quickly.

PSI

Pounds per square inch estimates the maximum pressure that an air compressor can produce.

This is one of the most important factors that you should consider before buying.

Units that are capable of a higher PSI can perform as good as those with a bigger tank, and better than those with equal-sized tank with less PSI.

The higher the PSI, the less time you need for the tank to refill.

A higher PSI will also allow you to take on bigger jobs, and to complete them faster.

CFM

The cubic Feet per Minute indicates the mass of the air flow at the given pounds per square inch (PSI).

Noise Levels

noisyMost of the air compressors listed operate around the mid 80 decibel range when measured from five feet away.

The ones that operate around the 60 decibel level are considered quiet.

Weight

6 gallon air compressors are intended to be portable.

No-one wants to drag a heavy air compressor up a flight of stairs, right?

So, choose the right unit for the type of job you intend to carry out.  If you do need to take it up and down stairs, consider whether the smaller 4.2 gallon compressor by Makita might be a better option.  It has a handy roll bar for protection and easy carrying, and it’s super powerful as we’ve seen.

Portable, lightweight units are now well powered, and have become very popular of late.

Oil-free air compressors have become very popular as in they avoid the hassle of having to continuously replace the oil.

However, do note that you still have to regularly drain the air tank to keep water vapour from collecting.

Routine maintenance is something that should be done regularly to ensure that your air compressor is running efficiently, and to make sure that there are no leaks.

This might include replacement of the air compressor fittings or checking the differential pressure in the compressed air filter.

Wondering how to use an air compressor?  Take a look at this clip from howcast:

Accessories

Some of the air compressors that we’ve reviewed come with a  raft of accessories.

If possible, go for a complete set to avoid searching for extra items after the event – you wouldn’t want to fork out unnecessarily for an extra piece at a later date would you?

Usually there is a main unit that could be used right out of the box, warranty information and instruction manual.

There’s no standard list of accessories for to accompany air compressors, and every manufacturer is different – save for they all want your money so may throw anything into the offer to convince you to part with it.

In the case of those on our list, in particular the Bostitch and the Porter Cable, we have to say that the additional extras represent great value for money, and that the compressor in each case is worth the price on its own.

Things You Should Look For When Buying An Air Compressor

Since, we presume, your aim is to get an air compressor mainly for home or light industrial use, the choice should be quite easy.

magnifying glassIf you live in a small to mid-size home, close to your neighbors, in a quiet neighborhood, or plan to use it in an enclosed garage, then get an air compressor with low dBA.

You can search for small units that have a large tank, which will allow you to handle a wide range of projects.

A small unit with a small tank will allow for easy storage and the noise level will still be ok.

If you live in a large home, or set away from your neighbors, then you can go for a larger air compressor, since the dBA will not be so much of an issue.

In general, all sized units are ideal for large homes, so the choice depends on the individual and the type of projects planned.

When looking for a home based air compressor that’s electrical, consider the cord length and the location of the outlet.  Sounds obvious, but we’ve made this mistake before!

Make An Informed Decision

Hopefully we’ve given you enough information to make a good decision on what’s the best 6 gallon air compressor for you.

Since there are no bad eggs on our list, and they’re all designed to last for a long time, whichever one you choose will do fine.

That said, electric powered air compressors are the models of the future, they have fast refill time and are usually quieter, so bear that in mind when making your decision.

Best Brands

attention noticePicking the right air compressor will come down to the nature of the project you’re working on, and probably price.

All of the air compressors on our list are small yet powerful enough for a large variety of projects.   They’re also all very well priced.

They all come from reputable companies that have a strong reputation in this market.

If however you’re not familiar with these brands, but do want to shop based on those with the best reputation, there are three in particular that you should consider.

They are BOSTITCH, Dewalt, and Campbell Hausfeld.

FAQs

question marksQ: How much does an air leak cost?

A: You should eliminate air leaks to save money. The cost of a 1.8″ air leak at 100 psi costs about $ 0.31 per hour.

Q: What is the hidden cost of bad air quality?

A: Bad air results in repair costs plus replacement costs and lost benefits.

Q: How much water is generated by the air system?

A: One 100 CFM compressor can generate around 18 gallons per day at 90° F and 50 percent RH. Approximately 60 % of that moisture will be removed by the after cooler. The remainder can get into your compressed air system if no dryer is installed.

Q: What size piping is needed to minimize the pressure drop?

A: This has to do with the CFM capacity of your air compressors, the required pressure and the total length of piping. A standard table can be used to determine the size of pipe required to minimize pressure drop.

Q: How much maintenance will my compressor need?

A: Change the oil filter as the manufacturer suggests. Clean or replace the air filter on a regular basis. And remember to drain condensate from the tank regularly.  That should do it.

Q: Which key areas of the compressor will need maintenance?

A: Look out for signs of wear and tear on the heat exchanger surfaces, air lubricant separators, lubricant, lubricant filters and the air inlet filter.

Wrapping It Up

Thanks for taking the time to read our guide.  We hope you found it helpful and you have everything you need to pick the right 6 gallon air compressor for you.

As you know our top pick, and the best all-round option is the 3-Tool Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit by Bostitch.

It has a 150 max PSI 6 gallon tank and a 2.6 SCFM high efficiency motor. It’s easy to start up in cold weather, comes with an extension cord, features oil-free maintenance, needs less than three minutes to reach maximum power and is relatively quiet to operate.

bostitch air compressor

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Porter Cable’s Combo kit is just as good and you should give it serious consideration if at the time of purchase the price is more competitive than the Bostitch.

If you’re looking for a standalone compressor then the Dewalt takes some beating.   You don’t get all the bells and whistles in terms of accessories that the two kits above boast, but you do get a great 6 gallon air compressor at a great price.

So, which one die you choose?  Let us know below.  We’d love to hear from you.

What next?  You might be interested in our guide to the best air impact wrench for lug nuts.

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A Trucker’s Life – What It’s Like To Drive A Truck

Starting a job as a truck driver might be exciting, but hard at the same time.

There’s no doubt, you will have to make a lot of adjustments.

It will be take a while until you get used to your truck, utilize new driving skills and get accustomed to your new lifestyle.

Life As A Truck Driver

One of the biggest challenges you will have to face as a truck driver, will be adjusting to being away from home.

Nowadays, professional drivers often tend to be on the road for several weeks or more at a time. It might be especially hard if you are married or in a relationship.

life as a truck driverOne way to connect with your family while home is share stories of your travels and pictures you take along the way.

New technology makes it easier to keep in contact with family members, so having that much needed connection with them on a regular basis is entirely possible.

Keeping a cellular phone is essential to the job for emergencies with the truck or delivery, contact with the dispatch room, and for contacting the shipper or consignee.  CB Radios are also great for contacting friends on the road.

So, every driver should have a cellular phone within days of becoming a full time driver.

Calling family while at a rest is a small, but important method to being there for family while in a different state.

Many truck stops have several amenities like showers, dining areas, and wireless internet and using it for social media or video messaging is the next best thing to actually being able to go home at night.

Messaging and phone calls will allow first year drivers to ease into their heavy driving schedule and fight feelings of homesickness.

What To Expect

Being alone for long periods of time can be tough emotionally on some people. Loneliness, depression and anxiety are not uncommon issues truck drivers face.

truck driverThe job can also be boring, but it is possible to make it more fun for yourself by listening to music or purchasing audiobooks and listening to your favorite authors.

You can also listen to some language tapes and learn some of the useful phrases in different languages.

Some operators pair up with a partner to help combat the loneliness of long-haul driving. In addition to having someone to talk to, they can cover more ground by having one person sleep while the other drives.

Staying Focused

Drivers must also be mentally prepared in order to perform well on the road.

The ability to focus and concentrate on driving safely and efficiently with a variety of tractor-trailer combinations is only one part of the driving experience.

A driver must be able to calmly and collectively deal with any distractions or frustration that may occur on the road.

Driving may also be monotonous and may take a mental toll on a driver – it’s important for a potential trucker to know how long they can confidently perform one task for an extended period of time.

A trucking career can take it’s toll on the both the mental and psychical health of a trucker.

New technology, like alertness apps and dash cams for truckers can help you to stay sharp, but, as we’ll see in the next few sections, staying fit and getting enough sleep are also key.

Staying In Shape

It is important to try to stay fit as a long distance driver.

All you need are a pair of running shoes, which are easy to store. You can use them to go walking or jogging in the rest area or around the outer edges of the parking lot to avoid traffic.

runningYou can also take weights with you. Make sure you have a good place to secure them. You do not want them to roll under your acceleration pedal, brake or clutch which could be deadly.

Getting Enough Sleep

In order to stay healthy you have to keep track of your sleeping schedule as sleep is essential to good health.

You need to get as much sleep as possible in your 10 hours off and, to do that, your sleeping conditions must be as comfortable and as quiet as possible.

For a driver, truck cabs are like mini-apartments. In addition to sleeping quarters, many have outlets or power sources that can accommodate small appliances like refrigerators, microwaves, and cooking gear—all valuable resources when drivers want to avoid the greasy, calorie-heavy food at restaurants and rest stops.

Taking It All In!

The one highlight of receiving driving assignments is taking the road less traveled.

Driving is the one way to view the countryside, big cities, and hundreds of American suburbs all at once.

Stopping in a variety of cities throughout the country will help gain a glimpse into life in different regions around the U.S. and is an experience that is like no other.

truck mountainsNo other career, other than anthropology, allows you to travel the world and experience other groups and their lives in a regular manner like this.

Truck drivers receive one of the best crash-course educations on daily life around the U.S. through his or her freight routes.

Getting Your Licence

If trucking for a living truly appeals to you, seeking out a CDL and trying out long haul loads for a year is the only fool proof method towards figuring out if trucking is a career for you long term.

Again, a trucking career has its challenges; however, the positive gains towards becoming successful, getting paid to see the country, and providing a good life for your family greatly overshadow the negatives of being an OTR driver.

Wrapping It Up

Truck driving is not a career for everyone due to the long hours spent driving, the monotony of the highway and the possible health risks of eating regularly at rest stops and sitting for long periods of time.

For others, the thrill of the drive, the hours spent alone and the satisfactory pay can make a life of pick ups and deliveries well worth it.

Truck drivers are highly respected by their employers for the time spent away from home and family and for their integral role in helping companies operate successfully.

Despite the challenges, many people find trucking to be a satisfying and rewarding occupation.

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The Greatest Trucker Songs Of All Time – 15 Timeless Classics

Life on the road can sometimes get a little dull.

Music is one of the best ways to keep yourself entertained.

So crank up the volume and sing along to the…

15 Greatest Trucker Songs Of All Time

1. On the Road Again – Willie Nelson (1980)

The song about life on tour was written after the executive producer of the film Honeysuckle Rose approached Nelson about writing the song for the film’s soundtrack. It became one of Nelson’s most recognizable tunes.

2. Roll on 18 wheeler – Alabama (1984)

This was the first single and title track to the band’s album Roll On. It was the group’s 12th straight No. 1 single on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles The song is a tribute to the American truck driver. Here, the story is that of a man who drives an over-the-road semitrailer truck to support his wife and three children.

3. Six Days on the Road – Dave Dudley (1963)

A song which captures the sense of boredom, danger and swaggering masculinity that often accompanies long-distance truck driving.

4. Truckin’ – Grateful Dead (1970)

The song was recognized by the United States Library of Congress in 1997 as a national treasure. It molds classic Grateful Dead rhythms and instrumentation. The lyrics refer to a drug raid of the band’s hotel lodgings in New Orleans during a concert tour.

5. Highway Star – Deep Purple (1972)

In 1971 when a reporter asked the band how they wrote songs, they decided to demonstrate and ended up playing the first version of Highway Star. Deep Purple continued refining it and ended up performing it live that night. It is considered one of the best driving songs.

6. Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses – Kathy Mattea (1988)

The song is about a truck driver named Charlie who is retiring after thirty years to spend more time with his wife. The song mentions Charlie receiving a gold watch, a common retirement gift.

7. Big wheels in the Moonlight – Dan Seals (1988)

The song written by Seals and Bob McDill peaked at number one immediately after its release. It is about a young man’s childhood memories of watching semitrailer trucks travel along a nearby highway, listening at night to the roar of the trucks’ diesel engines in the distance and dreaming one day of being a truck driver.

8. Drivin’ My Life Away – Eddie Rabbitt (1980)

The song is a first single from Rabbitts album Horizon. It reached number one on the Hot Country Singles in 1980, and peaked at No. 5 on the BillboardHot 100. The song, a look into the life of the roadies and the long periods of time they spend away from home, was featured on the soundtrack of the 1980 movie Roadiestarring Meat Loaf and Art Carney.

9. I’m a Truck – Red Simpson (1971)

The song — sometimes known as “Hello, I’m a Truck” — became Simpson’s biggest hit single, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in January 1972, and spending 17 weeks on this chart.  about life on the road through the eyes of a truck. Instead of giving praise to the hard work of the truck driver (as most truck-driving songs had), the truck — whose story is told in first-person narrative — takes a cynical look at the profession.

10. Truck Drivin Man – Terry Fell (1954)

Popular country song written and recorded by Terry Fell. One of his band members, Buck Owens,  recorded the song himself in 1965, omitting the fourth verse – “When I get my call up to glory, They will take me away from this land, I’ll head this truck up to Heaven, ‘Cause I’m a truck drivin’ man.”

11. 500 Miles – Bobby Bare (1963)

Also known as “500 Miles Away from Home” or “Railroaders’ Lament” is a song made popular in the United States and Europe during the 1960s folk revival. The simple repetitive lyrics offer a lament by a traveller who is far from home, out of money and too ashamed to return.

12. East, Bound and Down – Jerry Reed (1977)

Song written by Jerry Reedand Dick Feller, and recorded by Reed for the soundtrack for the film Smokey and the Bandit. The song spent sixteen weeks on the U.S. country music charts, reaching a peak of #2. It also reached #3 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100.

13. I’ve Been Everywhere – Lucky Starr (1959)

Originally written by Geoff Mack in 1959 and made a hit by Lucky Starr. The song has been sung and recorded by many different artists – Johnny Cash,  Lynn, Asleep at the Wheel and others. Original singer Lucky Starr released an EP called “Lucky’s Been Everywhere”, which contained four different versions: United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand, and Australia.

14. Teddy Bear – Red Sovine (1976)

The song — actually, a recitation with an instrumental backing — was one of Sovine’s many recordings that saluted the American truck driver. “Teddy Bear,” released during the height of the citizens’ band radio craze of the mid-1970s, is titled after the song’s main character, a young paraplegic boy whose semi-trailer truck-driving father had been killed in a road accident, and is left with a CB radio to keep him company.

15. Bud the spud – Stompin’ Tom Connors (1969)

The song is an account of a truckerwho hauls potatoes from Prince Edward Island, Connors’ home province. It was written about his truck-driving friend, Bud Roberts. Connors crisscrossed Canada, performing it along with his many other songs about Canada, at first in small venues. In this way the song became known through word-of-mouth as well as through radio airplay on CBC Radio.

Do you have any suggestions?  Let us know your favorite truck driving songs below.

For more great ideas check out the following:

Today’s Trucking

AXS

Why not install a subwoofer and crank up the bass?!

Are you a truck driver?  Need a good dash cam for added security?  Check out our ultimate guide.

Looking to get into trucking?  Take a look at our post on how to get your licence.

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Looking For The Best RV Roof Sealant? – Here’s Our Top 10

Need to seal your roof?

After a thorough search, we’ve put together a list of the 10 best RV Roof Sealants to help you out.

Although you don’t need much technical knowledge to repair your roof, not all RVs are built the same, so it makes sense to have a basic understanding of which products work best on different roofs.

The Best RV Roof Sealants Right Now

There’s a full guide later on, but for those in a hurry, here are three quick recommendations.

Preview
Best Budget Option

Cofair UBE425 Quick Roof Extreme with Steel-Loc Adhesive, White for RVs - 4" x 25'
Highly Recommended

Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating/Sealant 5 Gallon Kit - Includes RV Coating, 4" x 50' Seam Tape, Primer, Cleaner, Brushes, Rollers, and Gloves | Brilliant White
Our Top Pick

Flex Seal Liquid Rubber in a Can, 1-gal, White
Product
Cofair Quick Roof Extreme For RV’s With Steel Loc – 4″ x 25′
Liquid Rubber Complete RV Roof Coating Kit
Flex Seal Liquid Rubber In A Can – Stops Leaks Fast!
Rating
4.4
4.2
4.3
Price
$30.14
$389.95
from $14.99
Best Budget Option

Preview
Cofair UBE425 Quick Roof Extreme with Steel-Loc Adhesive, White for RVs - 4" x 25'
Product
Cofair Quick Roof Extreme For RV’s With Steel Loc – 4″ x 25′
Rating
4.4
Price
$30.14
Highly Recommended

Preview
Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating/Sealant 5 Gallon Kit - Includes RV Coating, 4" x 50' Seam Tape, Primer, Cleaner, Brushes, Rollers, and Gloves | Brilliant White
Product
Liquid Rubber Complete RV Roof Coating Kit
Rating
4.2
Price
$389.95
Our Top Pick

Preview
Flex Seal Liquid Rubber in a Can, 1-gal, White
Product
Flex Seal Liquid Rubber In A Can – Stops Leaks Fast!
Rating
4.3
Price
from $14.99

Different RV Roofs

best rv roof sealantThere are three different types of material used in the construction of RV roofs:

Rubber

Rubber is the most commonly used material. Your owner’s manual will come with specific instructions on how to care for your roof and it will likely point out which type of rubber has been used in the build, and how to care for it.

There are two types of rubber used in RV roofs: Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM); and Thermal Poly Olefin (TPO).

Fiberglass

Fiberglass roofs are a little less common than rubber since they’re a but more costly and add a bit of weight to your RV.  They are however quite low-maintenance .

Aluminum

Aluminum is fairly low-maintenance as well. However, it adds more weight to your RV than a fiberglass roof and so is the rarest type of roof you’re likely to come across.  We’ve included several products suitable for aluminum all teh same.

Once you understand what material your RV roof is made of you’ll be able to make informed decisions about its maintenance, repair and the type of products you’ll need to work with.

Types of Sealant

Broadly, these are the main types of RV roof sealants you’re likely to come across:

best rv roof coatingAluminum Coating

This kind of coating is less uncommon than most as RVs with aluminum roofing are rarely manufactured anymore.  that said, if you have one, you’ll still need to fix it up from time to time.

Fiberglass Coating

Fiberglass coating is a bit more widespread but it can be heavy, costly and difficult to install.  It is however low-maintenance once installed and will save you plenty of cash in the long run.

Liquid Coating

If your main concerns are preventing corrosion and protecting your roof from UV exposure, liquid coating is your best bet.  Since it’s a water repellent, as well as sealing your roof it, it also prevents rust from forming, which we really like.

Rubber Coating

This is the most commonly-used RV roof coating and comes in two types: those made from EPDM and those made from TPO.

EPDM and TPO coatings require slightly different ongoing maintenance, but we’ll get to that a bit later.

The Best RV Roof Sealants Reviewed

1. Flex Seal Liquid Rubber In A Can

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

flex seal liquid rubber sealant coatingFlex seal liquid rubber can be used on any type of RV roof to stop leaks and to keep out air and moisture.

The best thing about this product is its ease of use.

It doesn’t require any fancy method of application; you can simply brush it on, use a roller, or even pour it directly onto your roof.

It can also be used to seal up the inside of your RV if required.

Loved by users, and available in a variety of colors and sizes, it’s our Number 1 Pick.

Things we like about this sealant:

  • Non toxic and non hazardous
  • UV resistant
  • Smooth application
  • Stops noise and vibrations

Things we don’t like:

  • A little on the pricier side
  • It’s a bit messy when applied with a brush
  • Slippery when wet

Buy on Amazon

 

2. Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating Kit

Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating KitLiquid Rubber RV Roof Coating Kit is the perfect product to ensure a waterproof membrane for your roof.

The kit includes: 5 gallons of Liquid Rubber RV Coating; 4″ x 50′ Seam Tape; Primer; Cleaner; Brushes; Rollers; and Gloves.

The seam tape is an excellent addition which can be used to bridge joints, seams and gaps to create a bulletproof finish.

Applied properly, this kit provides a smooth, watertight surface, resistant to the sun, that keeps your RV nice and cool.

Things we like about this sealant:

  • Easy to use/apply
  • Value for money
  • No pot life

Things we don’t like:

  • It is a bit pricey, but still good value for money

Buy on Amazon

 

3. Cofair Quick Roof Extreme

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

cofair quick roof extreme - rv roof sealant tapeThis self adhesive roof repair from Cofair works instantly to seal up any leaks.

You can use it on EPDM, TPO as well as metal, fiberglass and wood and vinyl.

You won’t have to worry about it cracking, shrinking or hardening (as so many adhesive tapes on the market do) as it creates a permanent bond using a steel-loc adhesive.

Additionally, you can use it on damp surfaces as well, which is a real advantage if you need to do a patch repair in bad weather.

Surprisingly it creates a permanent fix, making it an excellent choice.

Things we like about this tape:

  • Very simple to use, requires no skill or expertise
  • Strong waterproof coating
  • Creates strong bond even on a smooth surface
  • Great for a quick fix

Things we don’t like:

  • Does not consist of one continuous roll – it’s spliced at intervals of one foot
  • Can shrink a little around corners

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4. Dicor Rubber Roof Acrylic Coating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

dicor rv roof coating epdmDicor Rubber Roof Acrylic Coating is specifically designed to extend the useful life of your rubber roof. It consists of two parts: cleaner for roof preparation and an acrylic coating.

The acrylic coating will provide an excellent protective barrier to extend the life of your EPDM rubber roof, though you can use it on a TPO roof as well.

We recommend using two coats for maximum protection and bear in mind it offers coverage of 125 sq feet per gallon.

Things we like about this coating:

  • Can withstand extreme weather conditions
  • Easy to apply
  • Flexes reasonably well
  • Requires little maintenance

Things we don’t like:

  • Takes some time to dry if used in moist conditions
  • It’s a bit messy and can be difficult to clean up after use

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5. Geocel Pro Flex RV Flexible Sealant

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Geocel Pro Flex RV Flexible SealantSpecially designed for the RV industry, this crack-resistant Pro Flex sealant can be used on a variety of surfaces including damp, oil and frozen surfaces.

In other words, you won’t have to worry too much about preparing your RV roof before using it!

Like all quality RV roof sealants it is re-sealable, paintable and comes in a variety of common RV colors such as white, black almond and even clear.

You can use it on aluminum, fiberglass, wood and vinyl, making it useful for other household maintenance tasks as well.

Things we like about this sealant:

  • Easy to apply
  • Resists dirt pick up effectively
  • Seals very well

Things we don’t like:

  • Not easy to clean up
  • Can gradually dry out and discolor

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6. EternaBond Mobile Home RV Rubber Roof Repair

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Externabond Mobile Home RV roof sealant tapeEternaBond RV Rubber Roof Repair tape is your perfect solution for rips, tears and open seams.

It consists of 10’ sections cut from a 50 foot master roll, and you can use it on almost any type of RV roof, be it EPDM, TPO or metal.

Its most defining feature is its UV stability. According to tests conducted by EternaBond, if you use it on your RV roof, you may can leave it out in the sun for up to 19 years with minimum signs of wear and tear.

It has a built-in primer that allows it to bond easily with whichever surface it’s installed on, and creates a permanent water-tight seal. This saves you the added cost of buying a primer separately.

Things we like about this sealant:

  • Economical solution
  • Doesn’t require any cleanup
  • Easy to work with
  • Quick fix

Things we don’t like:

  • It’s not a long-term solution

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7. XFasten Butyl Seal Tape

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Xfasten Butyl rv roof Sealant TapeXFasten Butyl Seal Tape is your easy, hassle-free solution to fix gaps in your RV roof and keep out moisture, making it perfect for damp weather conditions.

An impressive feature is it’s ability to block out corrosive chemicals as well.

It works well on tight corners and unusual patterns.  It’s also stretchy, and can be painted over too.

You can use it over rubber, galvanized metal, fiberglass and even wood.

We recommend storing it in the fridge about before use for easy application and best results.

Things we like about this seal tape:

  • Easy to use air-tight sealant
  • Long shelf life
  • Economical solution
  • Doesn’t create a mess
  • Professional-grade finish

Things we don’t like:

  • Sticky
  • Can be a little too stretchy

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8. Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating Sealant

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating epdmLiquid Rubber RV Roof coating sealant is a unique water-based roof coating that doesn’t contain any solvents.

Unlike some other high quality sealants, it doesn’t require any special breathing apparatus and is completely safe for you to use in enclosed environments (if carrying out maintenance in your garage for example).

Apart from your RV roof, you can also use it on your camper, gutter, shed, etc to create a durable waterproof membrane.

It provides coverage of 100 sq ft per gallon but it does require 2-3 heavy coats for best results, so a typical 30 foot RV would require a 1.5 G pail.

You can use it to bridge gaps and seams, and you should use a primer first if your roof is made of EPDM or TPO to aid adhesiveness.

Things we like about this sealant:

  • UV resistant
  • Environment friendly
  • Easy to apply
  • Highly flexible

Things we don’t like:

  • Too thick to spray
  • Does not dry easily
  • Stays sticky for a while
  • Tough to clean up

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9. Butyl Putty Tape – RV Roof and Window Sealant

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

butyl putty tape rv roof and window sealantButyl Putty Tape is made of a non-hardening elastic material that lasts longer than many similar tapes on the market right now.

Its crack-resistant formula is best-suited for roofs made of EPDM rubber.

You’ll find it creates a perfect waterproof membrane for your rubber roof. We believe its beast feature is that it increases in adhesion with age after you apply it creating a strong, long-lasting seal.

Things we like about this sealant:

  • Moulds according to the shape you need
  • Increases in adhesion with age
  • Easy to work with
  • Doesn’t create a mess

Things we don’t like:

  • Needs to be chilled before use for easy application

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10. Anvil ROOF-TEC Fibered Elastomeric Roof Coating

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

anvil roof-tec fibered elastomeric roof coatingAnvil Roof-Tec uses unique interlocking fibres that allow for great coating over seams and small separations.

Its most impressive feature is its bright white finish that reflects up to 90% of the sun’s rays reducing heat buildup and hence lowering your air conditioning costs.

The catch here is that you won’t be able to use it on flat roofs as it requires adequate pitch for water to run-off. The coverage it offers is 80 sq ft/gal and you’ll typically require 2-3 coats.

Things we like about this coating:

  • Durable
  • Saves energy
  • Reasonably-priced
  • Long-lasting

Things we don’t like:

  • Nothing really

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11. Dicor Metal RV Roof Coating

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Dicor Metal RV Roof Coating Designed specifically for fiberglass and metal, Dicor’s Elastomeric Coating is not suitable for EPDM rubber or TPO RV roofing.

If you do own an RV with a fiberglass or metal roof and decide to try this out, you’ll find its best feature to be the rubber-like coating it creates, which expands with movement.

Like the Anvil Roof-Tec, it comes in a brilliant white color that provides you with superior reflecting qualities to reduce internal temperatures.

You also get an impressive 200 sq ft of coverage per gallon, and you’ll ideally need two coats for maximum durability.

Things we like about this coating:

  • Dries quickly
  • Easy application
  • Superior reflection

Things we don’t like:

  • It can crack and peel from time to time
  • On the costlier side

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12. Beech Lane RV Roof Sealant

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

beech lane rv roof sealantBeech Lane RV Roof sealant is the perfect quick-fix if your RV roof is made of metal, EPDM rubber or TPO.

It’s a go-to product for emergencies and doesn’t require all day to install as it bonds instantly.

You can apply it one time for a permanent fix.

Its most impressive feature is that it can, apparently, withstand 20 years of continuous exposure to extreme weather conditions.

Not recommend for installation in weather conditions below 48F.

Things we like about this sealant:

  • Unique flexible tape
  • Sticks instantly
  • Quick solution
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Reasonably-priced

Thing we don’t like:

  • Chalky texture
  • Can lift around corners in moist weather

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So, What’s The Best RV Roof Coating Then?

All of the products on our list will do a good job if you go for them.  They’ve all been around long enough to gather hundreds of positive reviews from independent users just like you.  And as they’re on our list they all come highly recommended.

If you really pressed us to choose the best RV Roof Sealant, for a permanent fix we’d have to go with Flex Seal Liquid Rubber due to it’s supreme versatility and ease of use.  It works on any surface, and can be painted on with a brush or roller quickly and easily.  It’s priced relatively well, and is the best-selling product on our list by quite some way.

flex seal liquid rubber sealant coating

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For an all-inclusive option, it’s hard to look past the Liquid Rubber RV Roof Coating kit.  With this combo set you get everything you’ll need to carry out a complete repair of your roof, including 5 Gallons of Liquid Rubber RV Coating, Liquid Rubber 4″ x 50′ Seam Tape, Primer, Cleaner, Brushes, Rollers and gloves as well.   It’s a bit pricey, but you get so much for your money it offers real value.

For a more budget friendly option we’d recommend Cofair Extreme Quick Roof.  This fast acting, self-adhesive roof repair tape will hardly break the bank whilst providing a permanent seal against the elements in no time at all.  It’s compact, so can be stored in your RV for patch repairs whenever you need it, which helps it score so highly in reviews.

Things To Consider When Buying RV Roof Sealant

attention noticeEducating yourself on the type of roof you have and which method of roof repair, and which type of sealant would work best for you is one of the few challenges you’ll be faced with while caring for your RV roof.

To help you make sense of what can be too much information, we’ve compiled a few questions you should answer before you pick a product:

Why Are You Sealing Your Roof?

Undoubtedly the most important question that you’ll need to answer is: why do you want to seal your roof in the first place? This is essential because different reasons can lead to different products and vastly different repair and maintenance techniques.

For instance, if your main concern is wanting to keep your vehicle cool, you’d go for a sealant with a brilliant white finish that would reflect sunlight and keep the inside of your RV cool.

However, if you’re facing a leak, you’d be best advised to use a tube sealant to fix it. See the difference?

The second question you’ll have to answer in this regard is: how degraded is your vehicle?

Depending on your RV’s level of degradation, you can either use repair tape to fix a small rip or more sophisticated methods of roof repair. This will also help to determine how much time you’ll have to put in to repair your roof.

Is Your Roof Leaking?

leaking roofIf you’ve decided to repair your RV’s roof because you’ve identified a leak, it’s imperative to investigate what’s causing the leak.

Maybe it’s being caused by rain? Maybe an object has struck it? Maybe your vehicle is just a bit tired and worn?  Maybe all of the above?

After you’ve successfully established the reason behind the leak, you’ll then be able to choose the best RV roof coating to fix it.

What Material Is Your Roof Made Of?

The material your roof is made of is the most important factor that you should be taking into account before you repair your roof. As highlighted in earlier sections, RV roofs are typically made of three materials: Rubber (EPDM or TPO); Fiberglass; or Aluminum

A quick inspection or a check of your users’ manual will let you know the material your roof is made of. Only after this stage should buy a sealant for your roof.

Is The Sealant UV Resistant?

sun vectorUV rays cause your RV roof to wear out over time, and they obviously heat up the inside of your vehicle. Therefore, you should choose a sealant that is cool and reflective that can resist UV rays effectively.

This not only helps keep your RV cool, and reduces the need for maintenance over time, it also guarantees better overall functioning of its components.

Such sealants also substantially reduce the possibility of your roof falling apart due to thermal shock and UV damage.

How Elastic Is The Sealant?

Elasticity with regard to an RV roof sealant refers to its ability to stretch and recover.

How effective is the sealant in extreme weather conditions? Is it able to expand and contract with changes in temperature without cracking?

If you plan on travelling through changeable weather conditions you should really ask the questions above before you come to a final decision on the best rv roof coating for the job in hand.

How Good Is The Sealant’s Tear Resistance?

Your RV roof’s tear resistance refers to its strength and ability to withstand force before breaking apart. Ideally, you’d want to pick a sealant tape that’s reasonably flexible and difficult to tear.

Tearing is usually caused by roof traffic, foot movement and changes in environment. Make sure your chosen seal tape is made of durable materials that can keep your roof in great shape for the entirety of its life.

Tips For Maintaining An RV Roof

tipsHere are a few tips to bear in mind in order to maintain your RV roof and save yourself the trouble (and cost) of repairing it.

Inspection And Light Repair

  • Manually inspect your roof at regular intervals to ensure there are no cracks, punctures or tears.
  • Check often for signs of water damage.
  • Ensure your roof is strong enough to hold your weight if you walk on it. This can be determined by whether or not your RV has a ladder attached to its rear. If not, you should use a plank of plywood to lay on it to distribute your weight when you walk over it.
  • If your roof is made of rubber or vinyl, don’t use cleaning products on it that contain petroleum solvents or citrus ingredients as they cause permanent damage. This sort of damage can let rain and melted snow in that can ruin insulation and even rot framework.
  • If your roof is made of rubber, clean it at least four times a year.

Take a look at this handy clip for some further guidance:

Heavier Repair Works

If your roof does require more than just basic maintenance and you’ve decided to repair it, take note of the following tips before you start:

  • Clean your roof thoroughly by scraping off the odd piece of debris, roof material, dirt and let it dry completely.
  • Be very careful while cleaning your roof as you can make things worse by enlarging a tear or ripping a hole through it.
  • Either refer to your users’ manual or ask your dealer about which sealants are best suited to your roof.
  • Wear protective gloves and be careful not to spill any sealant on your clothing-that stuff is permanent and won’t wash off.

Best Brands

review starsThe following brands are the ones we’d consider the best in the industry at the moment, and worthy of recommendation:

Flex Seal

The Flex Seal family of products, as seen on TV, make an excellent addition to any garage or workshop.  They’re versatile, easy to use, and most importantly, they work.

Geocel 

Geocel has been in the industry for well over 40 years and has been consistently flooding the market with professional-grade, quality products. Their sealants are easy-to-use and effective.

Eternabond

The fact that it supplies to over 600 distributors and retailers speaks volumes for the durable, easy-to-use sealants manufactured by the best microsealant producer in the market – Eternabond.

Cofair

Cofair is one of the most innovative brands in the sealant industry and spends decades on thorough research and development to bring you self-adhesive membranes and tapes. Their Steel-Loc adhesive is next generation technology that is both ingenious and effective.

Anvil Paints

Providing loyal customers with quality paints and sealants since 1967, Anvil Paints has become a household name in the industry and is trusted by leading distributors and a large consumer base of RV owners as well.

Liquid Rubber

Established in the early 2000s, Liquid Rubber provides its customers with flexible, damage-resistant membranes that are proven to be of great quality. Their 5-star customer service is probably their best selling point.

FAQs

question marksQ – Does my RV roof require constant maintenance?

A – Maintaining your RV roof and keeping it in good shape for years takes no more than basic maintenance but it is of prime importance that you clean your roof at least twice a year and check for rips, tears and leaks.

Q – Can I paint my rubber roof?

A – Yes, but it is not advisable. You should only paint your rubber roof if you’re beginning to see black rather than white and even then you should paint it only once before replacing it.

Q – Will I always require a primer?

A – A primer may be required in some cases depending on he type of roof you have. However, its not always necessary to use one and it is no substitute for proper cleaning.

Q – Can my roof be recoated?

A – Yes, most coating systems in the market are renewable as well as sustainable. As your coating eventually wears away, you can apply more as per the specific instructions of your coating manufacturer regarding re-coating applications.

Q – Can a rusted metal roof be coated?

A – Yes, it can be coated after you’re able to clean off the rust. If the rust on your roof is white (zinc or aluminum), you can coat it after a basic cleaning.  If the rust is red, it must be treated with a corrosion inhibiting primer. If fasteners are rusted they should be treated or replaced.  You could also consider a rust converter.

Q – How long will my coating last?

A – Ideally, a properly-applied coating can extend your roof life by up to 10 years or more. How long it will last also greatly depends on the weather conditions it will be exposed to and how thickly the coating has been applied.

Wrapping It Up

As discussed, giving your RV roof the care and attention it deserves can appear to be a daunting task. You have several things to take into account before you unload your wallet and pick up the first sealant you come across at the hardware store.

Yes, RV roofs come with their fair share of maintenance issues but there are plenty of handy solutions too.

After weighing the pros and cons of all the leading sealants in the market, we feel that Flex Seal Liquid Ribber is the best RV roof sealant around right now.  For ease of use, permanent results, and the sheer volume of positive feedback from independent users, it cannot be beaten.

flex seal roof coating

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Liquid Rubber’s RV Roof Coating Kit is a great option if you have a complete overhaul to carry out, want a comprehensive kit to call upon should you need it, and want all the bells and whistles for a top quality finish.

And for those who don’t want to spend a fortune but still want reliable results, or a sealant tape that stores easily for occasional use or emergencies, we recommend Cofair Extreme Quick Roof.  It’s a fast acting, self-adhesive roof repair tape that provides a permanent fix at a great price.

All in all, the choice is yours so make sure you choose a sealant that can provide the solution best suited to your needs without breaking the bank.

What do you think is the best RV Roof Coating?  Let us know below.  We’d love to hear from you.

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The Best 10 Inch Shallow Mount Subwoofer – Our Top 10 Picks

Looking for the best 10 inch shallow mount subwoofer for your ride?  No problem.

You’ll find the best the market has to offer right here.

After a lengthy review we’ve come up with a list of our Top 10 Picks.

The Best 10 Inch Shallow Mount Subwoofers Right Now

There’s a full buying guide below, but for those in a hurry here are three top recommendations:

Preview

Best Budget Option

Skar Audio IX-10 D4 10" 400 Watt Max Power Dual 4 Ohm Car Subwoofer

Highly Recommended

PIONEER TS-SW2502S4 10-Inch, 1.200 Watts Shallow-Mount Subwoofer

Our Top Pick

Skar Audio VD-10 D2 10" 800W Max Power Dual 2 Ohm Shallow Mount Car Subwoofer
Product
Skar Audio IX-10 D4 10″ 400 Watt Max Power Dual 4 Ohm Car Subwoofer
PIONEER TS-SW2502S4 10-Inch, 1.200 Watts Shallow-Mount Subwoofer
Skar Audio VD-10 D2 10″ 800W Max Power Dual 2 Ohm Shallow Mount Car Subwoofer
Rating
4.5
4.4
4.4
Price
$44.99
$75.49
$79.99

Best Budget Option

Preview
Skar Audio IX-10 D4 10" 400 Watt Max Power Dual 4 Ohm Car Subwoofer
Product
Skar Audio IX-10 D4 10″ 400 Watt Max Power Dual 4 Ohm Car Subwoofer
Rating
4.5
Price
$44.99

Highly Recommended

Preview
PIONEER TS-SW2502S4 10-Inch, 1.200 Watts Shallow-Mount Subwoofer
Product
PIONEER TS-SW2502S4 10-Inch, 1.200 Watts Shallow-Mount Subwoofer
Rating
4.4
Price
$75.49

Our Top Pick

Preview
Skar Audio VD-10 D2 10" 800W Max Power Dual 2 Ohm Shallow Mount Car Subwoofer
Product
Skar Audio VD-10 D2 10″ 800W Max Power Dual 2 Ohm Shallow Mount Car Subwoofer
Rating
4.4
Price
$79.99

Best 10 Inch Shallow Mount Subwoofers Reviewed

1. Skar Audio VD-10 800W Max Power Dual 2 Ohm Shallow Mount Car Subwoofer

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

best 10 inch shallow mount subwooferSkar Audio’s VD-10, 800 Watt Subwoofer,takes our number one spot thanks to superior sound quality, overall reliability, price, and the sheer volume of positive reviews it’s received.

It’s a powerful and versatile subwoofer with an RMS of 500 Watts and a peak power of 800 Watts.

It has a mounting depth of 4.41 inches and a pressed paper cone design for smooth audio.

The VD-10 is constructed from materials of the highest quality – it has a competition grade cone, high strength foam surround, and a two layer convex spider to handle the high power output.

It fits well in shallow enclosures and delivers excellent sound quality.  It’s ideal if you’re looking for versatility in terms of mounting options and space saving.

Loved by independent users, and priced really well, it deserves it’s place at the top of our list.

Things we like:

  • The built in cooling design allows it to fit much shallower enclosures than its rivals
  • The polypropylene dust caps protect the system from damage
  • The high RMS power of 500 watts
  • The mounting depth of 4.41 inches

Things we don’t like:

  • It uses lots of voltage
  • The cones are very sensitive

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2. Pioneer TS 1,200 Watt 10 Inch Shallow-Mount Subwoofer

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

pioneer ts 1,200 watt 10 inch shallow mount subwooferThe Pioneer TS is very unlucky not to be named our number one pick.

It features a Single 4ohm Voice Coil and delivers deep bass with top-notch sound quality.

It does so thanks to market-leading materials, in particular mica injection-molded resin which is used to create this subwoofer’s super-durable cone which helps it to produce accurate, distortion-free bass.

The Pioneer has an oversized cone structure which provides greater cone and gasket surface area without adding to its dimensions.

It’s thanks to this larger cone surface that the subwoofer can produce louder and deeper bass by moving more air than most.

The mounting depth is even more impressive at just 3.125 inches.

You get a nice power range of around 100-300 Watts RMS and 1,200 Watts at peak power.

If you need a 10 inch shallow mount and like your bass, this is the choice for you.

Things we like:

  • Rigid and very durable for a long-lasting use
  • Excellent sound quality and bass
  • Scratch free and non-slip carpeted surface
  • Easy to set up with an innovative design – a good fit even in tight spaces
  • A steady frequency response of 20-125 Hz
  • A cone that’s made of resin and injected with mica

Things we don’t like:

  • It has slightly lower power handling compared to some others

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3. Skar Audio IX-10 400 Watt Max Power Dual 4 Ohm Car Subwoofer

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

skar audio ix-10 400 watt max power car subwooferThe IX-10 400 Watt Max Power is another product of excellent quality from Skar Audio.

It boasts fantastic sound quality, a great design with premium features, and a price tag that won’t break the bank.

The subwoofer features a dual 4 ohm, 2″ copper voice coil and a powerful ferrite motor. It’s conservatively rated at 200 Watts RMS and 400 Watts max power, but don’t let that put you off…

…the IX-40 can get very loud, as it produces a strong and powerful low end frequency response.

In terms of build quality, it’s right up there, with a high strength paper cone, surrounding foam casing and an advanced air flow cooling function.

It scores incredibly well in reviews and cannot be beaten for the price.

Things we like:

  • It offers excellent performance for its compact size
  • The 10-inch Dual 4 Ohm Voice Coil Subwoofer
  • 2 inch High Temperature Copper Voice Coil
  • High Strength Pressed Paper Cone – Spl: 84.4 Db.
  • It provides great connectivity control
  • Explicitly designed to reduce distortion and resonance

Things we don’t like:

  • Only comes in a black (we had to come up with something!)

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4. Rockford Fosgate P3 Punch 10-Inch 4-Ohm DVC Shallow Subwoofer

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Rockford Fosgate P3 Punch 10-Inch 4-Ohm DVC Shallow SubwooferThe Punch Stage 3 by Rockford Fosgate comes with Dual 4-Ohm voice coils.  The fiber cone is reinforced with Kevlar, with poly-ether-ester surround.

It has an RMS of 100-300 Watts (150 Watts per voice coil) and peak power handling of 600 Watts.

With a depth of only 3 9/16″ you’ll be able to fit it into the tightest of mounts, and you’ll be thankful you did!

Rockford applies a thin aluminum cone and a dust cap that is very light to give the woofer a clean response whilst at the same time making it rigid enough to keep its shape when belting out some really deep bass.

When these features combine with Rockford’s M-Roll Santoprene™ surround, and you get a long lasting, high output subwoofer that sounds as good as a standard component design.

Highly recommended.

Things we like:

  • Stylish design and compact construction
  • Very affordable thanks to the low price tag
  • Excellent sound quality and an incredible performance
  • Great, clear and loud bass

Things we don’t like:

  • Relatively low power handling

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5. Sound Storm SS10 10 Inch, 600 Watt, Single 4 Ohm Voice Coil Car Subwoofer

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Sound Storm SS10 10 Inch, 600 Watt, Single 4 Ohm Voice Coil Car SubwooferThis sub is also unfortunate not to feature higher on our list.

The Sound Storm SS10 has a black poly injection cone, foam surround and stamped basket with a mounting depth of 4.2 inches.

Its MAX Power is 600 Watt, while RMS is around the 300 Watt mark.

The poly cone injection is a resilient and durable material that allows for maximum give, which results in great sounding speakers that will last you a long time.

A stamped basket both absorbs and transfers the energy produced by the speaker for a crisp sounding result.

The die-cast frame is more durable than others and this sub features a foam surround, rather than rubber, in the speakers and subwoofers which works very well.

Things we like:

  • The Single 4 ohm 1.5″” Voice Coil
  • 600 Watts MAX and 300 Watts RMS Power Handling
  • 88dB Sensitivity, and the 32.3 Hz Resonant Frequency
  • The Black Fiber Injection Cone and Foam Surround

Things we don’t like:

  • Relatively low power handling

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6. Boss Audio CXX10 800 Watt, 10 Inch, Single 4 Ohm Voice Coil Car Subwoofer

 Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

boss audio 800 watt 10 inch car subwooferThis popular 10 Inch, Single 4 Ohm Voice Coil Car Subwoofer by Boss Audio has a sensitivity level of 87 dB and a resonant frequency of 36 Hz.

Its sealed enclosure internal volume is .65 cubic feet and its ported enclosure Internal volume is 1 Cubic feet.

It comes with a 4.6 inch mounting height, a high-temperature voice coil and rubber surround. The propylene cone material produces a great sound and is highly durable meaning that this product is built to last. The voice coils are highly resistant to corrosion and perform very well under stress in both high tension and high compression environments.

It’s important for this subwoofer to go through a short ‘break-in’ process before you crank it right up, so do bear that in mind if you go for this one.

That means not subjecting it to more than low-to-medium volume levels for 3-4 hours in the enclosure to start with – which should be fine fore most people anyway.

That time allows the subwoofer’s suspension to loosen enough to prevent the voice coil from overheating and causing failure.

The break-in period is also effective in extending subwoofer life. Over-driving the woofer before it has been properly broken-in will usually result in premature failure and poor performance.

But if you warm it up properly you may never have to replace it again.

Things we like:

  • The subwoofer comes with an affordable price tag
  • It has a nice clean design
  • Its bass is really crisp

Things we don’t like:

  • Needs and takes some time to “break-in”
  • Not as powerful as some might like

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7. Kenwood KFCXW-1000F eXcelon 10 inch Shallow Subwoofer

Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

kenwood excelon 10 inch shallow subwooferKenwood’s eXcelon 10 inch shallow-mount subwoofer  is very slim and very powerful.

It comes with a carbon-glass fiber composite cone with a butyl rubber surround which and a cast aluminum basket.

If you’re looking for a woofer with good sound quality and a super-robust design, this is it!

The power range is between 50-250 watts RMS and it handles a whopping 1,200 watts of power with only a 4-inch mounting depth. Its frequency response range is 35-800 Hz, while its sensitivity level is around 90 dB.

For die-hard Kenwood fans there really is no other choice.

Things we like:

  • The subwoofer is slim, with loud and great sound;
  • Its carbon fiber composite cone with butyl rubber surround;
  • Its impressive cast aluminum basket;
  • Its power range of between 50-250 watts RMS.

Things we don’t like:

  • Sensitive to over use without a proper warm up period

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8. Rockford Fosgate R2 Ultra Shallow 10-Inch 4 Ohm DVC Subwoofer

 Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Rockford Fosgate R2 Ultra Shallow 10-Inch 4 Ohm DVC SubwooferThe R2 Ultra Shallow 10-Inch 4 Ohm DVC is another great product from Rockford Fosgate, a global leader in audio innovation.

It comes equipped with a stamp-cast basket, with integrated spider venting and a mica injected polypropylene cone.

The mounting depth is 3.4 Inches making them ideal for vehicles with no room for standard subs.

Excellent value for money with hundreds of positive reviews.

Things we like:

  • The mica injected polypropylene cone
  • The stamp-cast basket with integrated spider venting
  • The mounting depth of 3.4 Inches and the 12 AWG compression terminals
  • The anodized aluminum voice coil former
  • The linear spider with stitched 16 AWG tinsel leads

Things we don’t like:

  • Prone to damage if not warmed up

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9. Kicker 10-Inch CompVT Series Shallow Mount Subwoofer

 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

kicker 10 inch compvt series shallow mount subwooferKicker’s 10-Inch CompVT Series Shallow Mount Subwoofer can handle up to 800W of MAX power.

with these you can expect to get an extreme amount of bass output with minimum depth.

The bass response really is excellent thanks in part to the injection molded polypropylene cone.

These subwoofers have a double stitched surround and an exclusive four-layer voice coil which helps to handle the extreme power that they can work with.

These are a very solid choice, highly regarded by independent users.

Things we like:

  • Affordable price and great value
  • The Kicker 10 has excellent bass
  • Perfect for shallow mounting in all vehicles

Things we don’t like:

  • The cone is not the most durable

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10. Pyle 10-Inch 1,000 Watt Dual 4 Ohm Subwoofer

 Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars (3.6 / 5)

Pyle 10-Inch 1,000 Watt Dual 4 Ohm SubwooferPyle’s 10-Inch 1,000 Watt Dual 4 Ohm Subwoofer was designed with both bass and your wallet in mind.

It comes with a stamp-cast black steel basket and integrated spider venting.

It has a mica injected polypropylene cone, and, tanks to the two-Inch four-layer high-temperature dual voice coil, and specially treated foam surround, it sounds awesome.

And that’s all housed in a stamped steel basket for durability.

The mounting depth is just 3.4 inches and the subwoofer comes with specially treated foam surround to keep it safe and extend its life.

If you want a quality 10 inch subwoofer without a silly price tag this is an excellent choice.  A view shared by over a thousand independent reviewers!

Things we like:

  • The black Steel Basket
  • The dual 4 Ohm Impedance
  • The specially treated foam surround
  • The spring loaded push down speaker terminals

Things we don’t like:

  • Not the most durable sub on our list (but at such a low price that’s to be expected)

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So, What’s The Best 10 Inch Shallow Mount Subwoofer Then?

All of the subs on our list will do a great job.  They’ve all been around long enough to collect hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of independent users, just like you.  We’re happy that they represent the best options available on the market right now.

That said, if you really puched us to choose the best 10 inch shallow mount subwoofer of them all, we’d have to go with the Skar Audio VD-10 Max Power.

The sound quality is superb.  They’re constructed from materials of the highest quality and they fit really well in shallow enclosures to deliver the finest performance.  The price is great and the feedback unrivaled.

skar audio vd 10 800w max power shallow mount subwoofer

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The Pioneer TS 1,200 Watt sub also deserves a mention, as there really wasn’t much in it between this one and the Skar for first place.

The Pioneer has a solid design and really strong sound qualities.  It’s affordable, easy to fit and delivers excellent deep bass.

For a good budget option (which we’d still recommend as a top sub regardless of the low price) it’s hard to look further than the Skar Audio IX 400 at number three on our list.  For its size it really packs a punch.  It’s durable, is easy to install and the sound quality is excellent.

Why You Need A Good Subwoofer

attention noticeThe key to enjoying long drives, alone or with friends, is an audio system with excellent sound quality – a sound quality that only the best shallow mount subwoofers can provide.

Shallow mount subwoofers are designed to reproduce bass, while at the same time to remain compact. They deal very well with the lower end range of frequencies, which the smaller speakers find difficult to reproduce.

In some cases, the selection of subs available to you can be limited by the amount of space that you have. That’s why modern slim versions (that come with a shallow depth) were designed and are now so popular among users.

So now, if you have a sports car, a family car or even a truck with little room, you can still add power to your sound system at levels that cannot be reproduced by standard speakers.

In our guide we’ve looked at the best 10-inch shallow mount subwoofers that could fit in an area where normal component subwoofers cannot. The bass that they can supply will certainly add richness and depth to the sound you get.  You’ll experience much greater clarity on the low notes, with minimum distortion.

If you like your bass that crispness is priceless.

Knowing what to search for when looking for a subwoofer is important to get the best bang for your buck.  Hopefully the products on our list have helped narrow down your options.  You’ll get great value for money from these, whichever you choose.

For those still stuck, we’ll take you through everything you need to know to make sense of all the lingo and make an informed decision.

Why 10 Inch Subs?

One of the most important factors when it comes to shallow mount subwoofers is the size. If you’re looking for big bass, then you should go for the larger sizes. But if you own a truck or a subcompact car, then you probably can’t accommodate those larger subs unless you carry out lots of modifications.

There is a solution for small vehicles and these are the 10-Inch shallow mount subwoofers. They offer a slim profile, which allows you to get them into tight spaces, which their regular counterparts cannot achieve.  The result?  Great sound with minimum fuss!

What Exactly Is A Shallow Mount Subwoofer?

faqSubwoofers provide that big bass sound that so many of us just love in our music.  They are designed to be very compact in relation to their output, so that they can fit into small places, like your car.  Shallow mount subs are even smaller and were designed and manufactured for drivers of modern vehicles where space is at a premium but who don’t get enough bass for their musical tastes from the pre-installed speakers.

Shallow mount subwoofers have many benefits, but the main ones include the fact that they are portable, lightweight, small and shallow, and offer best value as they almost always guarantee good sound.

The difference between the regular and shallow mount subwoofers is in the details. Shallow subs are small in size and can fit inside small spaces. They are also easy to transport, as they are lightweight.  Regular subs are heavier and bigger, which means that they are less versatile.

10 inch car subwoofers are very common size for both compact and standard size vehicles. They are usually easy to install, with no modifications, and can be placed under a seat, in a shelf, or door panel without taking up any useable room at all.

In general, 10 inch shallow mount subwoofers have clarity and decent bass response, and are most suited for drivers that prefer to listen to rock, non-heavy bass tunes and country music.

The best shallow mount subwoofers are made by several well-known brands such as Pioneer, Kicker, Skar Audio, Rockford Fosgate, JL Audio and Polk.

Do I Need Subwoofers?

yeahSubwoofers are speakers, which are able to produce low frequencies, including hard-hitting, window shaking thumping bass.

Car speakers are usually small, and they have issues hitting the low frequencies and this is the reason why the music in your car often lacks depth.

When your car speakers do produce low-frequency sound, the sound quality will most probably be distorted because it’s too powerful for the limits of the speakers. As a result, this distortion can damage your speakers if you push them that hard too often.

That is why having a good subwoofer can help you with all these issues to improve your overall listening experience, which is THE most important thing EVER!!!

Basically you get big bass in a small package!

In order to maximize the functionality of shallow mount subwoofers, you should be careful when choosing the place and the position where you put them. There are several good places to position your subs, based on the sound that you are aiming at.

Types Of Car Subwoofer

There are four different types of subwoofers – vehicle specific, enclosed, powered and component.

list

Vehicle-Specific Subwoofers

These are mounted in a pre-made enclosure, which are designed for the particular model of car for an excellent spreading of the sound. These subwoofers are made to match the car interior which is very nice. The downside is that they do not offer that big bass you might be dreaming of.

Powered Subwoofers

These are mounted in a very compact enclosure and are powered by an amplifier. They sound great and are very bass effective. Due to the compact enclosure, do not expect window shaking bass.

Enclosed Subwoofers

These come already mounted in an enclosure. They require an amplifier to be powered. The choice options of enclosed subwoofers however are quite limited.

Component subwoofers

These subwoofers are speakers with no amplifier or enclosure. You choose the enclosure and the amplifier. Component subwoofers, which are subject of this guide  come in various sizes between 8 and 15 inches and come in a great variety. They are ideal for you in case you want to personalize your car stereo system.

What’s The Difference Between Shallow Mount And Regular Subwoofers?

scaleWe’ve touched on this a few times, but we will say it again – shallow mount subwoofers occupy a small space and are lightweight, so you can transport them when and wherever you need to.  Regular subwoofers are a bit heavier and not so easy to move from one place to another, or to install!

Shallow subwoofers do not offer quite as good sound quality as regular subwoofers. They can offer chest-thumping bass crisp enough for most if us, but not as clear as the sound of a regular sub. The reason: the shallow body is a little condensed which limits the movement of the cone.

Compact subwoofers are less durable due to the exposed parts, unlike regular designs.  And, due to the construction of these compact subwoofers, their parts are more likely to suffer from environment-caused damages.

How To Pick The Right Subwoofer For Your Car?

Before you head to the store to buy a shallow mount sub there are several things that you should consider in order to get the product that ‘s right for you:

magnifying glass

Size

Subwoofers come in different sizes, which can vary from 8 to 15 inches. The larger ones produce louder bass, but the performance is not associated just with the size. it’s better to consider the free space that you have to place the subwoofer in.  Ten inch subwoofers are very popular – they are well-rounded and a safe choice. These subwoofers are suitable for fast paced music, for heavier bass and for club music.

Type Of Enclosure

The type of enclosure that you fit them in is very important in terms of how a subwoofer sounds. If you prefer a loud sound, go for a subwoofer that is mounted in a vented enclosure with great air flow. If you’re into tight, accurate sounds, choose a subwoofer mounted in a sealed enclosure, but remember that it needs more power to produce the volume of the vented enclosure.

Power Handling

When looking for a shallow mount subwoofer, check the continuous power handling (or RMS) and the peak power handling. The RMS is the power that the subwoofer can handle for a long period of time.  And a sub’s peak power reveals you how much power it can handle for short periods of time.

Voice Coil

There are single voice coil subwoofers and dual voice coil subwoofers. The dual ones are more flexible in terms of wiring systems.

Sensitivity Rating

This is the way to measure the subwoofer capacity and convert the power into volume. The higher sensitivity rating number should mean to you that the subwoofer needs less power for producing loud and big sound without making compromise with the quality.

Frequency Range

This is relevant when considering low a subwoofer can play.  The greater the range, the crisper the bass.

Impedance

This tells you the effective resistance of the electric circuit to the current flow. It is measured in ohms. Some subwoofers are rated at 8 ohms, others at 8 ohms, but the majority of them are rated at 4 ohm. You should know that an amplifier and subwoofer need to come with the same impedance rating to work together.

With that knowledge in mind, you should now be in a better position to choose a sub for your car.  All 10 inch shallow mount subwoofers on our list are great options. They all provide excellent sound quality at an affordable price.

Best Brands

review starsHaving analysed many of the leading products offered by loads of different brands, in all of our recommendations we’ve gone with the most trusted brands, as we want to protect you from spending money on low quality products.

That is why we have picked a 10 inch shallow mount subwoofer or two from the likes of Kicker, Rockford Fosgate, Pioneer, Boss and Skar Audio.

These companies have a variety of well-experienced sound systems; they are well established brands. Their products have unique, market-leading design and features that have won their customer’s satisfaction time and again.

If you buy from these guys, you do so with peace of mind.

FAQ’s

question marksQ – Where Should You Place Your Shallow Mount Subwoofers?

A – There are several good locations, where you can mount your shallow subwoofers, depending on the sound that you are looking for and the space you have available inside the vehicle and the amount of bass that you can handle. The two best places to set up your shallow mount subwoofer are the rear speaker deck and the truck.

the trunk is considered to be one of the best spots to place a shallow mount subwoofer. If mounted in the trunk, you will get big bass and the loudest outside sound, and you will feel the music. The sound might not be of the highest quality, however, the music you are listening to will be heard from a distance.

If you place your shallow mount subwoofers in the deck for the rear speakers or behind the back seats, you will hear all the fine details. In this way you will get the most powerful low notes, the resonant high notes and a good clear sound.

Q – What Are The Benefits Of Shallow Mount Subwoofers?

The main benefits of the shallow mount subwoofer are its portability and its lightness, compared to regular subwoofers. Depending on the way these subwoofers are mounted in the vehicle, the subwoofers might be easy to install, remove, and also transport. As their name suggests, shallow mount subwoofers are very easy to mount compared to the normal-sized subwoofers.

Q – What Are The Disadvantages Of Shallow Mount Subwoofers?

The main disadvantages are the lower bass levels and sound quality. These can be distorted if the subwoofer is made of low-quality materials. Shallow subwoofers lack low-end frequency reproduction and lack serious bass. They can also be dislodged if not properly installed.

Conclusion – Wrapping It Up

Choosing a good sub for your ride can add a great deal of enjoyment to your drive.  The superior sound quality and bass of a decent subwoofer can transform the impact of a piece of music dramatically.

In many cases a shallow mount subwoofer will be the perfect upgrade from the factory made system.  And a 10 inch model is one of the most common options available to you, so hopefully this guide has been helpful.

In our view, the best 10 inch shallow mount subwoofer is the Skar Audio VD-10 Max Power.  It ticks every box and doesn’t cost the earth.

our number one pick

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The Pioneer TS 1,200 Watt sub is a very close second, and if the price is better on the day you should probably go with it as there’s not much between the two at all.

And if you’re looking for excellent sound quality with deep bass but don’t want to break the bank, choose the  Skar Audio IX 400.  You’ll get great value for money without compromising much on performance.

Let us know below which one you went with.  We’d love to hear from you.

If the low tones are more important to you than anything, then check out our guides to the best car speakers for bass on the market right now and the best car subwoofer for deep bass ever.

Wondering how to install them?  Follow our step by step guide.

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