Industry News & New Products

  • Cleaning Hi-Vis Apparel: Washing, Drying & Stain Removal

    by Nate Kuennen | Apr 25, 2022


    You wear hi-vis apparel to ensure your personal safety in high-traffic work areas. The bright colors, reflective striping and breathable materials combine to keep you visible and comfortable on the job. Ask any emergency personnel, tow truck operator or construction crew member, and they’ll tell you how important hi-vis outerwear is to their profession.

    However, given the conditions you work in, keeping ANSI-rated apparel looking its best may be a challenge. Grease, oil, mud and grime all seem to find their way onto your vests, shirts, coats and bibs. Preventing those undesirable substances from making a permanent home on your clothing takes some effort. We’re here to help with some advice on caring for your hi-vis garments.

    Safety apparel is made from a range of materials: from thin polyester mesh for your vest to polyurethane-coated ripstop fabric for your rain gear. Regardless of textiles, though, the first place you should look for the care of your garments is on the manufacturer tag sewn into the interior neck, back or side area. Those instructions will spell out your next steps.  

    hi-vis-care-blog--apri-2022-low-res-1-2  hi-vis-care-blog--apri-2022-low-res-7


    Getting Started

    IMG_0074 (1) before (1)

    Before you begin to wash, give yourself a headstart toward a clean result by following these basic tips: 

    • Make sure to knock off all loose dirt with a brush
    • Wipe away any residual grime with a dry cloth
    • Spot clean stains with a safe remover
    • Pre-soak if allowed by apparel manufacturer

    Some garments feature a water-repellent finish so removing debris may be easier than other styles. Pre-soaking may help but is not required and sometimes not recommended. Check your tag to be sure. Failure to remove surface dirt and grime may result in the impurities becoming embedded in the fabric and ending up as a permanent stain.

    For stain removal, pre-treating is likely your best option. You may be able to apply a mild stain remover before washing, such as OxiClean or Shout. A degreaser or mineral spirits may also work but only in cases of hand-washing. We do not encourage solvents in a machine wash setting. It is best to pick a concealed area to see how the garment will react before proceeding.

    Here are some basic reminders for stain removal:

    • Find a stain remover approved for fluorescent fabric
    • Test the cleaner in a less visible area
    • Treat the spots with a clean cotton rag
    • Gently rub remover into stain
    • Wipe off excess solution and grime


    Washing and Drying

    Now that you’ve prepped the surface, it’s time to wash. Some garments allow for machine washing, either at home or in an industrial setting. If that’s the case, we recommend washing in cold water on the delicate cycle with a mild detergent. Shampoo may also be an option instead of laundry soap. 

    To prevent fading and discoloration, you should avoid using bleach or fabric softener. You bought these garments for their illustrious properties. You don’t want to diminish that effect on the first wash. You should also turn your garments inside-out and wash with like colors and fabrics. In other words, don’t wash a mesh vest with blue jeans.

    Drying instructions will vary also. The main point to remember here is you don’t want to damage the heat transfer tape or adhesives used to apply the reflective stripes to your apparel. Again, refer to your garment’s care instructions. Tumble dry on low may be an option. Otherwise, hang drying may be your only choice.

    Here are some points to consider if you plan to machine dry your hi-vis apparel:

    • Put on the lowest temperature setting possible
    • Remove apparel immediately after cycle is complete
    • Hang up to prevent wrinkling and creasing on stripes


    Special Considerations

    As we noted earlier, safety apparel with reflective tape requires special attention. Improper washing techniques may diminish the garment’s protective qualities. If you’re unsure how your treatment plan will work, you may need to test clean in an inconspicuous area or simply spot clean the apparel altogether.

    Other fabric considerations include working with apparel that has snaps and any hook-and-loop closures like Velcro. These fasteners may catch on mesh material and cause fraying. To prevent potential damage, you may need to button everything up before throwing them in the wash. You should also not leave your soiled apparel in a pile on the floor or in the back of your truck until wash day. Try and wash everything right away to prevent dirt and stains from setting in.


    Please note some safety garments may give you an advantage by offering color-block and stain-block technology to help repel impurities. Additionally, several apparel manufacturers offer hi-vis clothing with “black bottoms” to conceal dirt and help you maintain a professional, clean look. If either of those styles and ANSI ratings work for your needs, perhaps they should be added to your wardrobe.

    Whether you’re looking to upgrade or just maintain what you have, we realize you’ve made a significant investment in your hi-vis outerwear. You want it to last and look its best so you can be seen by others. Proper care of your apparel is key to its longevity and continued visibility. We hope you find these tips helpful.

  • Types of Winch Lines: Synthetic vs. Steel

    by Nate Kuennen | Apr 14, 2022


    Winches and winch lines are valuable tools across a variety of industries and applications, including towing and recovery, transportation, agriculture, construction, oil and gas and off-road recreation.

    Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to look at the different types of winches and winch lines out there to discuss what you need to look for when upgrading your equipment or ordering new. Today, we’ll touch on the five types of winch lines available from Zip's AW Direct.

    • Synthetic Rope
    • Fiber Core Wire Rope
    • Steel Core Wire Rope
    • Super Swaged Wire Rope
    • Super Flex Wire Rope


    Synthetic Winch Lines


    The first kind of winch line we’ll look at is Synthetic. Gaining in popularity in the towing & recovery industry, this braided fiber rope has been around commercial applications for decades with a proven track record in many industries, according to Jeff Lechtenberg, product manager at Zip’s AW Direct.

    Zip’s stocks diameter sizes ranging from 5/16” to 7/8” and are available in lengths up to 250 feet. Larger diameters and longer lengths can certainly be accommodated and are used in many applications. Synthetic winch lines can be used with winches installed on endless types of equipment and vehicles. Producing a maximum strength-to-weight ratio, synthetic ropes are equally as strong as their steel equivalent but up to eight times lighter!

    “Synthetic rope is so lightweight that it floats,” Lechtenberg said. “It doesn't store as much energy under load as steel lines do, and they do not have sharp burs so it can be handled without gloves. They are also “torque-neutral” so a swivel hook or shackle is not needed - your line won’t twist like a steel line.”

    Synthetic rope is also available in a rainbow of colors so you can custom match your rope to your vehicle or you can color coordinate your winch lines to their specific capacity or winch controls. Here are a few more benefits from Lechtenberg to consider with synthetic rope:

    • Zero corrosion
    • Repairable in the field
    • Wear resistant
    • Sun resistant
    • Impervious to many chemicals
    • Low stretch
    • Reduced flex fatigue


    Steel Winch Line Varieties


    If you are more of a traditionalist, there are several types of steel winch lines to consider, beginning with Fiber Core wire rope. Made from extra improved plow steel, these winch lines ensure a longer life span by excreting lubricant under pressure to minimize wear and corrosion on the wire.

    Next, Steel Core winch lines are also made with extra improved plow steel, which provides superior strength and flexibility. Steel core winch cables offer greater crush resistance and a higher nominal strength compared to fiber core, but they are not as flexible as fiber core.

    Another type of steel winch line is called Super Swaged, meaning the rope starts off as the next size bigger but, through a process called swaging, is compressed down to the next size smaller. As a result, the outer wires have a larger surface area than standard winch lines.

    Since the working load limit remains the same as the original diameter, this compact design offers greater strength than standard winch lines of the same size. Although less flexible, they also provide better resistance to abrasion, kinking and drum crushing.

    The last type of winch line to review today is Super Flex wire rope. This type of winch line offers better performance and increased longevity by containing more wires within a given diameter, resulting in less fatigue and making the line more resistant to wear.


    Ordering and Hardware

    All of our replacement winch lines include attachment hardware. However, if you need to replace a hook, thimble, clip or socket, we have the parts you need in our Hooks and Hardware department at Zips.com. You can also order any type of the five winch lines described earlier here as well.

    Before you order your new winch line, double-check your winch’s owner’s manual or its identification plate and find the correct wire rope size. It is recommended to follow the winch manufacturers required diameter and lengths. In the towing and recovery industry, automotive car carriers typically use 3⁄8" rope, medium-duty tow trucks typically use 7⁄16", 1⁄2" or 9⁄16" rope and heavy-duty tow trucks typically use 5⁄8", 3/4" and 7/8” rope.


    Measure your rope as shown in the diagram above or slip a socket wrench over the plain end for a fast, accurate measurement. Be sure to measure the distance between the outside edges of the two opposite bundles and not the distance between the flat sides.

    Lastly, consider the appropriate Working Load Limit (WLL) for your winch and recovery efforts. Winch lines are rated by size capacity and Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS). WLL is determined by a safety factor of the MBS. For example, a 3:1 safety factor means the MBS is three times the WLL.

  • ANSI Standards for Hi-Vis Safety Apparel

    by Nate Kuennen | Mar 30, 2022


    Where you work and what you wear makes a difference for your personal safety as it relates to compliance with national standards for apparel and visibility on roadside construction projects and other high-traffic jobsites.

    Two professional organizations have identified three types of work environments and three classes of apparel for these requirements. The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) develops the standards, and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approves them.

    First drafted in 1999, the ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 Standard on High Visibility Safety Apparel (HVSA) sets forth the criteria for the general design, testing and labeling requirements for applicable garments.

    Relying on a combination of fluorescent colors and reflective striping, these attention-grabbing compositions alert passing motorists and other workers to crews in such high-risk industries as towing and recovery, construction and emergency response.

    The intent of these standards is to improve worker visibility and to reduce the number of roadside injuries and deaths. According to ANSI, nearly 1 in 5 construction workplace fatalities is defined as a “struck-by” injury, when a worker is hit by a piece of equipment or vehicle.

    Although the ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 is a voluntary standard, hi-vis apparel such as vests, shirts and jackets must be worn to comply with federal regulations that cover work environments where struck-by hazards are present. All hi-vis apparel should provide 360 degrees of visibility.

    B103-HERO_Construction (1)

    The apparel standard separates garments by type, according to the following document  from hi-vis apparel manufacturer Kishigo: ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 - Basics

    • Type O is for Off Road work in zones that have restricted access to public vehicles but still pose a low visibility struck by hazard.
    • Type R is for Roadway work zones which include exposure to traffic (vehicles using the highway for purposes of travel) from public access highway rights-of-way or roadway temporary traffic control zones or from work vehicles and construction equipment within a roadway temporary traffic control zone.
    • Type P is for First Responders who are exposed to all the hazards of Type R work zones but also have competing hazards or require access to special equipment.

    The three main classes of garments are defined numerically. Each rule is affected by each Type category. Class 3 carries the most stringent requirements and is required for workers present near roadway traffic traveling in excess of 50 mph. Class 2 and Class 1 are less restrictive.


    Class 3

    In Canada, the Class 3 requirement calls for reflective stripes around the arms and legs and an X on the back of the apparel. In America, the standard looks at total reflective coverage contrasted against bright, fluorescent colors:

    • For Type R environments, Class 3 apparel requires 310 square inches of reflective material and 1,240 square inches of background material
    • In Type P environments, Class 3 also requires 310 square inches of retroreflective material but only 775 square inches of background material.
    • The minimum width of the reflective material for Class 3 in both Types is one inch in split trim design.


    Class 2

    Class 2 is designed for crews working near roadway traffic traveling 25 to 50 mph. Again, compliance is measured by total surface area coverage:

    • Class 2 for Type R requires 201 square inches of retroreflective material and 775 square inches of background material.
    • Class 2 for Type P requires 201 square inches of retroreflective material and 450 square inches of background material.
    • The minimum width of the reflective material for Class 2 in both Types is one inch in split-trim design.


    Class 1

    Class 1 is for off-road environments with traffic traveling below 25 mph. Workers may not be required by law to wear hi-vis apparel but may still work in an environment with moving equipment, vehicles and other potential harzards.

    • Class 1 for Type O work environments require 155 square inches of retroreflective material and 217 square inches of background material.
    • The minimum width of the reflective material is one inch.

    Hi-vis pants, bib overalls, shorts and gaiters are designated Class E and do not meet HVSA requirements when worn by themselves. When a Class E item is paired with a Class 2 or Class 3 top, the overall classification is Class 3.

    According to Kishigo, hi-vis apparel manufacturers are required to certify the performance requirements of the materials used and need to document that their finished products also meet the HVSA requirements.

    It should also be noted that the position of company logos and lettering can affect the ANSI rating. Additionally, not all hi-vis apparel meets ANSI standards. To learn more, a copy of the HVSA can be obtained from the ANSI website at www.ansi.org.

    Make sure your employees are safe and visible by understanding and following these standards. Calling attention to these high-traffic work zones through bright and colorful clothing with reflective striping can help reduce the risk for personal injury or death.


  • Get to Know Snatch Blocks: Their Uses, Parts and Care.

    by Nate Kuennen | Mar 07, 2022


    Snatch blocks are essential rigging and recovery tools. Available in a wide selection of sizes and capacities, these sheaves and attachments provide a critical pivot point to change the angle and direction of a pull or increase the load capacity of a winch line.

    Snatch blocks are designed for use in the recreational market, towing and recovery industry, overhead crane operations and many other industrial applications. They are compatible with both synthetic line and steel cable, and each snatch block is dual labeled with its pulling capacity and acceptable rope size.


    zsb8t6-4-zips-snatch-block-swivel-hook-8ton-6inch-low-res          zsb2t3sw-zips-snatch-block-swiv-shackle-low-res-2



    Moving Parts

    Traditional snatch blocks consist of a single pulley or sheave protected by two outer teardrop-shaped side plates. A release pin with a cotter key sandwiches the plates together over the pulley. To insert the line or cable, the pin is removed by turning the nut counterclockwise by hand to allow access to the inner pulley. Be sure to reinsert the cotter key after screwing the plates back together.

    Most snatch blocks come equipped with bronze bushings for longevity and smooth operation. To aid in routine preventative maintenance, a grease zerk is located on the outside of the center sheave pin for weekly lubrication. Daily inspection of each snatch block is recommended prior to use. Snatch blocks should also be stored inside a toolbox or compartment to protect them from the elements when not in use.



    Common Attachments


    Snatch blocks are available with three common attachments: swivel hook with latch, swivel shackle and chain end with grab hook. Each serves its own unique purpose, depending on the type of application and equipment being used. For this blog, we will focus on usage in the towing and recovery industry.

    On a car carrier, a chain link or hook end can be inserted into the keyhole slot on the tailboard to change the direction of the winch line. This is particularly useful when the tow operator is looking to keep a lane of travel open while recovering a casualty from a roadside ditch or tight parking lot.


    For Example, the other two types of snatch block ends are typically used during heavy-duty recoveries where the operator is looking to lower the angle of the pull and create downward pressure. This winch line redirection is especially useful while responding to a vehicle rollover or uprighting a tractor-trailer.

    “Many tow operators will attach a snatch block to a lower point like a D-ring, stiff leg or wheel lift on their own truck to get the angle pulling down for a rollover situation, versus going straight off the end of their wrecker boom,” explained Ed Peichel, a product sales representative at Zip’s AW Direct.


    Safety Always

    Besides routine maintenance, operators should position themselves away from the direction of the pull whenever possible during operation for safety in case a winch line should fail. To avoid failure caused by misuse, users should never exceed the rated capacity of the winch line and snatch block.

    Capacities typically range from 2 tons to 22 tons, and pulley diameters range from 3 inches to 12 inches. In general, the larger the diameter, the greater the working load limit (WLL), although some pulley sizes can handle multiple WLL ratings. See the chart below for examples of common snatch block sizes in relation to WLL.

    Pulley DiameterWLL
    3"4,000 lbs
    4"8,000 lbs
    616,000 lbs
    830,000 lbs
    1030,000 lbs


    By running winch lines back through snatch blocks, operators can also increase the capacity of their winch lines, oftentimes doubling the pulling force. Again, users should refer to their equipment operating manuals and rated capacities to avoid overloading.

    “Always calculate the resistance of your pull and use proper rigging to both the casualty and your equipment,” Peichel said.


    Best Practices

    Snatch blocks are a great tool in towing and recovery scenarios, for recreational use and for overhead lifting applications. Here are a few tips to follow to ensure you get the most of your investment and prevent unintended damage or injury.

    1. Inspect prior to use.
    2. Lubricate pulley as needed
    3. Protect against the elements
    4. Stand away from winch line
    5. Do not exceed rated capacity
    6. Refer to equipment manuals for proper usage
  • Spring Thaw Event at Zip's AW Direct

    by Cameron Hanson | Mar 12, 2021


    Snow in the south. Subzero temperatures in the north. Let’s celebrate the end of winter with the Spring Thaw Event at Zip’s AW Direct. Warm up to savings over list price on our most popular rain gear as well as check out our new lineup of hi-vis rainwear, sweatshirts, long-sleeve shirts and vests at Zips.com. As the cold and snow yields to warm and wet weather this spring, be prepared for any forecast with quality apparel from Zip’s AW Direct.

  • Zip’s AW Direct Launches Zip’s Used Truck Marketplace

    by Cameron Hanson | Dec 10, 2020


    Zip’s AW Direct has created a new online platform designed to bring buyers and sellers of used commercial trucks and trailers together in a dealer-free environment. The service is free and easy to use with postings generally completed under five minutes.

    Zip’s Used Truck Marketplace, found at zips.com/marketplace, separates listings into 11 used truck and trailer categories: light-, medium- and heavy-duty wreckers; car, four-car and industrial carriers; semi trucks; service trucks; industrial trailers; classic trucks; and truck bodies.

    To create a listing, users click on the green ‘Sell My Truck’ button and follow five simple steps to complete the process. Most truck options are pre-populated in drop-down menus, and images are easily uploaded through the portal. New visitors will need to create a login.

    Buyers can start shopping by clicking on one of the category icons. Comprehensive search options will help narrow their results by filtering by price, mileage, location and more. Questions can be directed to the seller through public comment sharing.

    The Used Truck Marketplace is also found by clicking on the icon at the top of each page at Zips.com. With more than 1.4 million pageviews each month, sellers can expect great exposure for their listings with Zips.com.

    “This service is 100 percent free, providing a platform for person-to-person transactions and conversations,” said Zip’s Executive Vice President David Rottinghaus. “It is our goal to provide a place for industry professionals to connect with each other and easily buy and sell used commercial trucks and trailers.”

  • Show your support.

    by Cameron Hanson | Oct 01, 2020


    Zip’s AW Direct has assembled a great selection of products to help you recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Show your support by purchasing these pink itemsIn select cases, proceeds benefit breast cancer research.

  • Zip's employees featured in local newspaper

    by Cameron Hanson | Sep 03, 2020


    A pair of female employees at Zip's AW Direct in New Hampton, Iowa, were featured in the New Hampton Tribune Sept. 1 as part of the local newspaper's 'Women in the Workplace' series. Nearly a third of Zip's 225 employees in Iowa and Michigan are women.

    Jennifer Klassen (right) has served as Zip's showroom receptionist for the past six years. She considers herself the "customer concierge" here, and in that role, she said she wants to make customers feel welcomed and comfortable during their visit to Zip's.

    A self-described "people person," Lori Throndson  (left) has worked as a personal truck sales consultant at Zip's the past year and a half. Starting off in customer service, she is now one of 12 people in equipment sales and the only female in what she calls a "man's environment."

    Click here to read their entire stories and to learn about their career journeys to this point. 

  • Bridge the gap with ITI Starter Ramps

    by Cameron Hanson | Jul 27, 2020


    ITI Starter Ramps from Zip's AW Direct are a great way to bridge the gap between the road surface and the tail of your car carrier deck. See how they work in this video from our towing and recovery experts.

  • ITI Control Arm Skates can save the day

    by Cameron Hanson | Jun 26, 2020


    ITI Control Arm Skates are designed for use on a disabled or wrecked vehicle with a missing wheel or lugnuts, a broken ball joint, control arm, axle or other suspension components. See how easily they slide in this video from Zip's AW Direct.

  • Check out our helpful u-bolt attachment video

    by Cameron Hanson | Jun 24, 2020


    Having the right u-bolt attachment can make a huge difference with your under-reach picks. Let one of our technical specialists explain the difference between our three most popular types in this video from Zip's AW Direct.

  • Welcome, Canadian customers!

    by Cameron Hanson | Jun 23, 2020


    Zip’s AW Direct offers hassle-free shipping to Canada and has created a landing page for Canadian customers to access our products at zips.com/nri-canada.

    Our company is a registered Non-Resident Importer (NRI) through the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and provides simplified shipping of our products direct to your door. Canadian customers pay the UPS Ground Shipping. We pay the duties and the brokerage fees.

    Our goal is to provide a rich and rewarding shopping experience for our Canadian customers. Buy in confidence with us, knowing the products you order online will arrive at your doorstep when you need them.

  • Employee Profile: Brice Schissel

    by Cameron Hanson | Apr 01, 2020


    If you’ve ever received an order from Zip’s AW Direct, chances are Brice Schissel played a role in getting it to your door. Schissel serves as the Distribution Center Manager here and oversees the processes which fulfill nearly 400 customer orders every day.

    Schissel, our employee profile for the month of April, doesn’t do it alone. He said he is a proud member of a 30-person team which works hard every day to make it all happen. He credits everyone involved in the supply chain for the warehouse’s success and level of customer care.

    “I love the people I work with,” Schissel said. “The people I deal with on a daily basis are all good people and very easy to work with. Even the ones I don’t see every day, or talk to every day, are always very nice and friendly when I do see them or have a problem to work out and I need their assistance.”

    In role since late 2018, Schissel manages inventory levels, fills in for absent employees, helps fulfill walk-in orders in the parts department and, lately, makes sure the truck shop has the parts needed to complete their tasks. He and warehouse manager, Abe Karels, also check in with their staff regularly.

    “Sometimes during the day, Abe or myself will do walk-throughs just to make sure things are going smoothly and people aren’t having problems in shipping and receiving or in the warehouse,” Schissel said. “We work together every day to help each other out and make both of our jobs a little easier.”

    Schissel said he also dedicates a portion of his shift to either building kits or making sure kits are assembled to keep up with demand. Everything from axle chain kits and tie-down kits to fork kits and strap assemblies are created from their individual parts bins in the warehouse.

    “Normally, I start my day by printing reports to tell me where the inventory levels for the kits are,” he explained. “We have a huge number of kits that we manufacture ourselves here, so we try to keep the levels high enough to suffice the traffic of certain items.”

    In fact, ratchets, straps, chains, slings and tow dollies are some of the most popular items sold by Zip’s AW Direct, which Schissel attributes to tow companies remaining very busy this year. Other top-sellers include hi-vis apparel, lockout tools and truck lighting.

    “The list could go on forever,” Schissel said of the shipping trends here. “I would say the season definitely has a lot to do with what we sell and how many sales we do. During the colder season, we sell a lot more winter jackets, pants and coveralls. We’ve also been selling a lot more insulated gloves.”

    In his spare time, Schissel and his wife, Debbie, are busy with a six-month-old daughter, Harper Lee. “I spend as much time as I can with them,” he says. He’s also active in bowling in the New Hampton and surrounding area and recently rolled his first 300 game, “which was a major accomplishment for me.”

    He said he also enjoys hunting and fishing and “just about anything that has to do with the outdoors.” He also likes to cook on the grill and with his smoker. But when the weekend’s over and his batteries are recharged, he’s ready to get back to work and do his part to fulfill customer orders.

    “It makes it a lot easier to get up in the morning and come here every day knowing that I work with such awesome people,” he said. “I’m very lucky and very fortunate to be a part of the Zips AW Direct family.”

  • Zip's rolls out new car carrier options page

    by Cameron Hanson | Apr 01, 2020


    Zip’s AW Direct has launched an exciting new online resource to simplify the buying process for anyone who is looking to buy a car carrier. Take me there now.

    Zip’s invites visitors to use this new web page to explore Zip’s five categories of car carrier models: 10 Series, 12 Series LCG, 16 Series LCG, Conventional 4-Car and, as the newest member of our all-star lineup, the Multi-Deck LCG 4-Car.

    As an exclusive Miller Industries distributor, Zip’s offers Century, Vulcan and Chevron brands of carriers and can pair your preferred rollback model to any number of chassis, including Peterbilt, Kenworth, Freightliner, International, Hino, Ford, Ram and Chevrolet.

    “With decades of truck experience, Zip’s has the knowhow to match the proper truck specifications for each respective towing application,” said David Rottinghaus, executive vice president of Zip’s, in announcing the new web page.

    For the 10, 12 and 16 series, customers can click on the drop-down menus to learn more about chassis recommendations, bed capacities, steel vs. aluminum construction and so much more. Additional information will follow for the 4-car models.

    “Enjoy this custom Zip’s experience and educate yourself on the benefits of buying a car carrier from Zip’s along with learning the endless options available to build just the right car carrier rollback for you,” Rottinghaus said.

    View our carrier options for a user-friendly shopping experience or browse our carriers for sale today. As always, you can reach out to one of our personal truck sales consultants by calling 800-222-6047.

  • SBA loans available during COVID-19 pandemic

    by Cameron Hanson | Mar 24, 2020

    SBA Logo

    The federal government has declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national disaster and is making funds available for small businesses to apply for low-interest, long-term loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA).

    New details are emerging daily, but we wanted to pass this information along to you--our loyal customers and trusted business partners--as we, together, navigate this unprecedented national emergency.

    According to the SBA, potential borrowers can apply for loans up to $2 million for physical damage, economic injury or general assistance. Applicants need to follow a three-step process and can determine eligibility by clicking here.

    Download the Three_Step_Process_SBA_Disaster_Loans.pdf for more information. You can apply for a loan online at the SBA’s secure website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

    “We are determined to weather this storm, and like our customers, we will emerge stronger than ever,” Zip’s AW Direct President Paul Rottinghaus said. “That's why we are passing this information along to you. We’re in this together.”

  • Zip’s is now an authorized Landoll dealer

    by Cameron Hanson | Mar 17, 2020


    Zip’s AW Direct became a fully authorized Landoll dealer in February of 2020. This latest addition of heavy-duty industrial trailers complements Zip’s already impressive inventory of tow trucks, industrial carriers, rollbacks and service vehicles.

    “We are excited about this new opportunity for our company and look forward to sharing Landoll’s extensive lineup of heavy-duty trailers with our existing and future customer base,” Zip’s President Paul Rottinghaus said.

    Based in Marysville, KS, Landoll has been producing trailers and farm equipment for more than 55 years. In addition to traveling axle trailers, the company also builds detachable trailers, traveling tail trailers, bottom dump trailers, industrial tag trailers and more.

    Zip’s is authorized to sell all types of Landoll trailers and replacement parts. Tow operators will find these trailers useful for large-scale recovery operations, and construction, rental and agricultural companies will appreciate how easy it is to transport their equipment with them.

    Complete details are available in our Landoll Brochures and Landoll Parts Manuals. You can also visit our Industrial Trailers page at Zips.com to view our current inventory.

    To purchase, contact one of our personal truck sales consultants at 800-222-6047 today. We look forward to working with you. 

  • Employee Profile: Tiffany Fisher

    by Cameron Hanson | Feb 25, 2020


    More than 30 employees team up to fulfill close to 400 orders each day in the Distribution Center at Zip’s AW Direct in New Hampton. This includes small parcel packages as well as large freight shipments.

    One of our dedicated shipping agents is Tiffany Fisher, a New Hampton native and our employee profile for the month of March. Tiffany has worked in the shipping department here for four years and takes pride in ensuring customer orders are accurate before shipping them out.

    Her husband, Brian, also works at Zip’s as a lead heavy-duty body installer, and the family-friendly environment here is what Tiffany said she values most about coming to work every day. “I really enjoy the friendly atmosphere and the friendships I’ve made from working here,” she said.

    In her spare time, Tiffany said she enjoys camping, hanging out with friends and “being out on the water.” Most importantly, though, she appreciates the time she can spend with her family. It’s what motivates her both personally and professionally.

    “My kids and my husband are my motivation,” Tiffany said. “I always try to do what’s best for them and our family.”

  • Shop NOCO portable jump starters at Zips.com

    by Cameron Hanson | Feb 07, 2020


    Zip’s AW Direct has teamed up with NOCO to offer three sizes of portable jump starters. These compact units can power up gas and diesel engines in cars, trucks, boats, commercial vehicles and equipment. With an included 12V plug, the rugged and portable booster can also provide remote power to tire pumps, inverters and chargers. The USB port can charge personal electronic devices. Learn more here.

  • Add winch line power wrapping to your weekly maintenance routine

    by Cameron Hanson | Feb 05, 2020


    Keep the cable on your winch drum neat and tight through a weekly maintenance procedure known as power wrapping. This exercise will prolong the life of your winch line by preventing weak points caused by unnecessary kinks and flat spots.

    “You should power wrap your winch at least once a week,” recommends Rene Jimenez, a technical advisor at Zip’s AW Direct. “You want to keep your wire rope tight on the spool so it doesn’t dive or kink and start what I call the paper clip effect, where the more it bends, the weaker it gets before eventually failing.”

    Power wrapping works in tandem with the cable tensioner. As illustrated in this video from Miller Industries, the procedure is performed by free-spooling the winch line out and then winding it back up under a load by attaching the hook to another vehicle or deadman.

    “As you pull the wire rope out, you want to keep at least seven wraps on that last layer so you don’t pull all of the wire rope out of the drum. That would create quite a mess,” explains Miller’s Billy Drane in the video.

    Experts say power wrapping should be done regardless of the size of the winch: from car carriers to heavy-duty recovery vehicles. The procedure is effective for both wire and synthetic rope. In fact, according to Jimenez, power wrapping helps “set the braid” on a new synthetic line.

    Power wrapping is “something that is very important to do,” Drane said. “What can tend to happen (when you don’t) is the loose wire rope going around the drum will cause the top layers to bury down (or dive) into the inner layers.”

    “Once you get in the habit of doing this regularly, it really doesn’t take very long to do,” Jimenez said. “Take a few minutes each week to prevent a headache down the road.”

  • Batteries don’t like the cold weather either

    by Cameron Hanson | Feb 05, 2020


    Be prepared the next time your car won’t start with a jump pack from Zip’s AW Direct. We stock handheld chargers for the consumer, and powerful jump packs for the professional. In today’s blog, we are going to review a few of the models we currently have in stock.

    The first item to consider when purchasing a new jump pack is safety. Look for models with reverse polarity protection. This safeguard prevents usage when the cables are not connected correctly. You should also keep an eye out for battery packs that won’t function when the voltage setting is wrong.

    Another factor to look at is cable length, especially with a larger jump pack. Be sure to account for adequate clamp reach so the jump pack can rest safely on the ground. This prevents the pack from teetering on engine components or fenders when the hood is open on the disabled vehicle. 

    Cable length is also important when connecting to terminals located inside of a vehicle. This keeps the power pack away from interior upholstery and prevents an unnecessary mess. Let’s face it. Jump packs only look new and clean once.

    Cranking amps and battery ratings are also important items to research when purchasing a jump pack. Handheld models typically have lithium ion batteries. Their ratings are based on engine size. Larger jump packs with internal lead-acid batteries normally list cranking amps for capacity. 

    Based on size, here are some of the jump packs Zip’s AW Direct has to offer. Be sure to click on each name to link back to its respective product page for complete details. 

    • On the smaller scale is one of our newest models, the NOCO GB150 Boost Pro. This 4000-amp unit weighs just 7.5 pounds and can handle up to 80 starts per charge. The USB port can also charge personal electronic devices. 

    • Next up is the Weego Crankenstein. The lithium-ion battery here can last up to 30 hours and can recharge in just six hours. The Crankenstein includes an LED flashlight and can hold a charge for one year. The built-in voltmeter also comes in handy.

    • Perhaps one of our more popular models is the Jump-N-Carry JNC660 jump starter. This low-cost model features 425 cranking amps and 1700 peak amps. The unit weighs 18 pounds and features a DC outlet to power 12V accessories.

    • A close cousin to the JNC660 is the JNCAIR, which offers the same capacity as the JNC660 but includes an internal air compressor. You can fill one flat tire under eight minutes and up to four tires on a single charge. The coiled air hose stretches to 12 feet and delivers on-demand air. 

    • Two 12V heavy-duty sealed AGM batteries provide "Best in Class" performance for Associated Equipment's 6296 jump starter. This unit features 720 CCA of power and has a three-position "On/Off" switch with Easy-to-read LED battery status indicators.

    • The last battery pack we’re going to look at is the Rescue 2100 from Quick Cable. This commercial-grade model offers 900 12V cranking amps and includes a 15-amp circuit breaker, worklight, and warning flasher. The Rescue 2100 does weigh a little bit more but delivers enough charging power for most applications. 

    We hope you find this quick overview of jump packs at Zip’s AW Direct useful. To view our entire lineup, click on ‘Jump Start Equipment’ under ‘Roadside Assistance’ under our ‘Products’ section at zips.com.