Vehicle-related accidents are increasing yearly, and they are extremely dangerous when the parking brakes give up on a large commercial vehicle, causing damage to anything that falls in its way. This highlights the need for proper vehicle safety equipment, such as wheel chocks. Made of polyurethane or rubber material, wheel chocks are placed against a vehicle’s wheels to prevent accidental movement when parked.
This wedge-shaped tool prevents vehicles from slipping, rolling, shifting, or sliding when not in operation, making them popular across various industries, including aviation, mining, construction and more. Different wheel chocks are available for cars, trucks, RVs, vans, and heavy-duty vehicles.
This blog will help you thoroughly understand wheel chocks and how they can benefit you.
Wheel Chock Types
Available in different sizes, surface textures and with extra features, wheel chocks may vary in four key components.
Rubber Wheel Chocks
Due to its high durability and affordability, rubber is one of the most common materials used in wheel chocks. However, rubber is not the best option for withstanding harsh working conditions and extreme weather. Rubber wheel chocks may need frequent replacement.
Polyurethane Plastic Wheel Chocks
Compared to rubber chocks, these polyurethane plastic wheel chocks are highly popular across many industries. They are resistant to cuts, blunt damage, wind damage, water damage, and corrosion. In addition, they are lightweight and robust.
Aluminium Wheel Chocks
Exclusively designed for long-term storage, these aluminium wheel chocks are used for heavy-duty vehicles. These Wheel chocks are used to stabilise a motorbike when being towed on a truck or when it’s in the shop being worked on.
Steel Alloy Wheel Chocks
Strongest of all the different types, steel alloy wheel chocks are ideal for heavier vehicles. They are also more expensive than other types. If you invest in steel chocks, be sure to purchase ones treated for corrosion resistance.
After selecting the most suitable material for your wheel chocks, knowing the correct specifications you need is equally important. But it is impossible to test a pair of wheel chocks with a specific vehicle on a particular surface grade and assume that the same wheel chocks will be sufficient to hold the same vehicle on another surface. Therefore, choosing the right wheel chocks depending on your vehicle type is essential.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Selecting the Right Wheel Chock
As each vehicle will behave differently in different circumstances, choosing the right wheel chock can be tough. Detailed testing at each location is essential to ensure that the wheel chocks meet the specific chocking requirements. Some of the critical factors to consider when testing are:
Your vehicle tyre will impact the size and slope of the chock. Vehicles with large tyre diameters will require chocks rated for those larger surface areas. These chocks should be one-fourth the diameter of your tyre. So if your heavy-duty vehicles, like trucks or RVs, have 40” diameter tyres, the chocks you need will be roughly 10” high.
Gross Vehicle Operating Weight
The heavier your vehicle, the heavier-duty chocks you will need. When selecting the wheel chocks for your specific requirement, you must consider the gross operating vehicle weight. An empty pickup truck will require very different chocks than a 400-ton haul truck with a load in the back. There are industrial-specific wheel chocks designed for those heavier specialised vehicles.
Different surfaces have different levels of traction, so where you park the vehicle plays a significant role in your choice of wheel chock. Furthermore, the steepness of the incline is also a critical factor in deciding how many chocks are needed for your vehicle. A flat surface requires a different chock configuration than parking backward on a steep slope.
Until recently, the standard material for wheel chocks has been rubber. One of the disadvantages of rubber is the unpleasant odour. Another alternative heavy-duty choice is laminated rubber with multiple layers, offering a robust, long-lasting chock surface. Plastic is a cost-effective option in routine commercial applications. Plastic (polyurethane) has the added benefit of outstanding resistance to oils, fuels, and solvents.
Number of Chocks
The number of chocks will vary based on the gross operating weight of the vehicle and the surface on which it’s parked. For instance, a pickup truck parked on flat pavement will need only two chocks for the front driver’s side tyres, but a truck parked on a paved uphill slope may need four chocks, buffering the back of all four tyres. Larger vehicles will also require more chocks than a regular pickup. Be sure to purchase enough chocks to suit the various conditions you will be in.
In addition to considering the significant factors for selecting the correct wheel chocks, it is equally important to position them correctly once you have purchased them.
How to Place the Wheel Chocks Properly
It is vital to follow a few simple rules when placing your wheel chocks to ensure maximum efficiency and the safety of the vehicle.
- Make sure the chock is centred and squared with the tyre.
- Position the chock properly against the tyre tread.
- Always place the wheel chocks downhill and below the vehicle’s centre of gravity.
- Position the chocks in front of the front wheels on a downhill grade
- Position the chocks behind the rear wheels when on an uphill grade.
- Position the chocks on the front and back of a wheel when on a level grade.
- Use wheel chocks in pairs.
In addition, it is essential to never use damaged chocks or roll the vehicle over them. And always remember:
- Choose the right chocks for the specific job
- Always put the truck, car, or van into park mode
- Wedge the chocks under the backs or fronts of the wheels depending on the direction of the slope against the vehicle
- Place additional chocks at the front of the wheel
Apart from the specifications mentioned above, regular inspection of wheel chocks will determine whether there is a need for replacement caused by cracking, chipping, or other types of deterioration. Plastic wheel chocks are affordable, durable, and long-lasting compared to other materials. As these chocks are built to ensure the safety of your vehicle and others, it’s a good idea to choose a reputable brand so you know you are buying a quality product. If you are looking for high-quality, heavy-duty and weather-resistant wheel chocks in New Zealand, contact New Zealand.
As a leading manufacturer and supplier of high-density polyethylene wheel chocks across New Zealand, FSP offers lightweight and UV-resistant wheel chocks. They are one-piece constructed, moulded from polyethylene and injected with polyurethane, making them able to withstand wear and tear. Plus, these FSP Oz Chocks® won’t crack, split or break when exposed to harsh sunlight, providing additional tyre grip to vehicles parked on a steep or slippery slope.
Additionally, they are resistant to the damaging impacts of humidity, moisture, salt, water, air, oil and temperature fluctuations. Made with sturdy rubber feet, these Oz Chocks® are available in different sizes and standard yellow, with other colours available upon request.
We also provide high-quality machine chocks and chock accessories.
Call us on 027 234 5464 for more information on wheel chocks.