Content Sponsored by Gear Head
At this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, Kentucky, there was major buzz around the Gear Head booth. For the entire three days of the show, the booth was packed with attendees asking for product samples, curious to know more about how the company’s unique 5th Wheel Grease Pads came into existence. Company reps promised MATS-goers that drivers who use their product can ditch the grease gun for good — and this was a promise that obviously appealed to both drivers and fleet operators.
We wanted to know more, so CDLLife connected with the Gear Head team and Director of Product Development Todd Whiting to get the lowdown on grease.
Q&A with the Gear Head Team
Give us your elevator pitch — what do drivers need to know about Gear Head?
Our new patented 5th Wheel Lube Pads are truly a revolutionary improvement in grease technology. We have created grease for users that is a smooth hard solid which is completely clean to handle. You just place the pads on the 5th wheel surface, and that’s it, you’re done! The weight of the trailer and the turning action of the truck will automatically spread the pad into a familiar grease layer. Our approach takes all the mess out of lubricating the 5th wheel. Drivers also save valuable time compared to alternate methods. Our product does not need to be pumped through a gun, as a result, we can formulate our grease to be more “cohesive,” so it holds together more tightly and resists being pushed out of the joint. We use soy oil to make our 5th wheel grease pads which is a superior choice for a 5th wheel lubricant. We don’t need to use any heavy metal additives in our product. Our grease is fully biodegradable, making it truly eco-friendly. Gear Head 5th Wheel Pads are clean and quick to use, transform to a high quality protective grease, are very affordable, protect the environment and are made in the USA.
How did the company get its start?
Gear Head Lube was formed in 2019 in Cedar Falls, Iowa to develop this innovative grease for 5th wheel lubrication. But our sister company Natural Soy Products has been producing soy-based products for over 10 years. We actually produce a wide range of products that take advantage of the unique properties that soy materials possess.
How did this particular product come into being?
We produce a large dry lubricant stick for the rail industry to improve the efficiency of trains. This product is very popular since it is so clean and easy for rail crews to handle. All this led to the idea of making grease a smooth, clean, solid material when purchased by the customer. But as the old saying goes, “easier said than done!”
Why should drivers be excited about your grease — what’s different about it?
After a great deal of research, we found a way to create grease in a solid form. But the grease will automatically transform to the normal consistency of regular grease when applied to the 5th wheel joint. We form the solid grease into a square pad which is simply placed onto the 5th wheel surface. When the trailer is lowered onto the 5th wheel, the weight of the trailer will crush the pad and transform it into a semi-solid grease. The turning action of the truck will spread the grease over the entire 5th wheel surface. Basically, the truck and trailer are doing the work for you of applying the product.
For those who don’t know, why is it so important to keep the 5th wheel lubed?
Maintaining a sufficient coating of grease on the 5th wheel surface is vitally important. Lack of lubricant can cause actual handling issues in driving the truck which could be serious on slippery roads. Obviously, a lack of lube will lead directly to wear of the 5th wheel surface, reducing the life of the unit. Another known issue is the possible reduction of steer tire life if the 5th wheel surface is not lubricated on a regular basis. Our new 5th wheel pads help drivers to keep their 5th wheels properly maintained.
What’s wrong with the way that drivers are currently lubing the 5th wheel?
Drivers have just two primary means available to maintain their 5th wheels. The first is to use a grease gun, or just “dump” grease from a tube onto the surface. Drivers well know the hassles and mess of dealing with grease tubes and grease guns. Further, they often don’t work at all in cold weather — and that’s not to mention the “joy” of applying lubricant when it’s nasty outside. A second option is to use grease inside a plastic bag. Many drivers tell us that they are not very fond of this type of product. The bags often discharge their grease off the 5th wheel surface. It’s also concerning that the bag often becomes litter in parking lots and on our roadways.
What makes your solution a more attractive option for drivers?
In our case, drivers just need to take a couple pads out of the box and lay them in the proper position on top of the 5th wheel. That’s all there’s to it. You get no grease on your hands and on your clothing. There’s simply no mess involved. It also takes very little time, allowing drivers to get back on the road making money. You’re also not guessing at how much grease you should be applying; neither too little nor too much.
Why is your grease good for 5th wheels?
Our product does not have to be put through a grease gun. This gives us a lot more freedom to formulate our grease specially for the 5th wheel application. We produce our grease to exhibit “strong cohesion” — it sticks tightly to itself. Consequently, our grease will not easily be pushed out of the joint between the 5th wheel and the trailer surface. We believe over time, drivers will observe that our grease lasts longer than other alternatives.
This is a big question for many drivers — Is it affordable?
It’s important to consider the total value proposition that a new product offers. You need to think about a number of factors, including:
- The purchase price of the lubricant.
- How long an application of grease lasts.
- Are you applying the correct amount of grease?
- How much time does it take to do the 5th wheel service?
- Does the lubricant extend the life of the 5th wheel itself?
- Does the approach encourage drivers to keep the 5th wheel lubricated to extend tire life.
- The value of not getting grease on a good pair of pants! Or on the seat of a new truck.
- The value of buying a product made from renewable material sources.
- The value of using a product which is truly environment-friendly.
Despite all the other merits our product brings to the party, we price our product very competitively against high quality grease products in the marketplace. We especially provide very attractive pricing for bulk quantity orders. For a limited time, we are also offering small quantity packaging at low prices to allow customers to try the product out before making larger purchases.
Why do you use soy over petroleum?
Both petroleum and soy-based materials can be formulated to make excellent greases. But soy molecules exhibit a technical property referred to as “polarity.” In common language, this means that soy molecules will form a tight bond to a metal surface. The result is better protection of the metal surface which can extend the life of the 5th wheel itself.
What challenges have you faced as a company trying to sell such a unique product?
If you see our 5th wheel pads for the first time, and no one explains to you how they function, it is not obvious that this is a grease product. After all, it certainly doesn’t look like a grease you are familiar with. So, our primary challenge is to get the word out in as many venues as possible to explain to potential customers how this remarkable new solution works for them.
Why should drivers care about finding an eco-friendly solution?
Unfortunately, most 5th wheel grease is going to wind up on our roadways and be washed into the adjoining ground water. Most market greases utilize metals and even heavy metals in their formulations. Owing to the beneficial lubricant properties of a soy base, and considering the unique additional materials in our formula, we find it unnecessary to utilize any metals at all in our product. Our pads present no harm to the environment and are fully biodegradable.
Do you have a patent yet?
Yes. We were awarded a U.S. patent for this innovative new concept. We are also pursuing patents in major markets around the world.
What message would you have for fleet owners interested in your product?
We have described all the driver-friendly attributes our product offers. But we hope fleet operators will also recognize the significant contribution our 5th wheel lube pads will make toward their own goals to support renewably sourced and eco-friendly products. Our product does all that!
How do customers purchase your product?
At this point, customers will need to purchase our products directly from us on our website: www.gearheadlube.com. We are working with a number of potential parties to make our products available at retail outlets — keep an eye out.
And you’ve recently been recognized with an award?
Gear Head Lube was awarded the prestigious Heavy Duty Trucking Top 20 Product of 2022 Award. HDT presents these special awards to new products based on their uniqueness and the potential positive impact they may have on the industry. We are extremely pleased and honored to have been chosen by HDT.
Gear Head made a big impression at MATS in Louisville — what was that like?
The response to our new 5th wheel pads was nothing less than overwhelming. Our booth was fully busy the entire 3 days of the show. Clearly the trucking industry is ready for a new solution to 5th wheel greasing. We gave a large number of samples for drivers to evaluate and are looking forward to their feedback. A number of entities from foreign countries also expressed serious interest to import our pads into their home country markets.
How does your product support the U.S. farming industry and the U.S. economy as a whole?
Our facility to manufacture the 5th wheel pads is located in Cedar Falls, Iowa. We use locally sourced soy oil derived from Iowa farmer produced soybeans. We consider it a major achievement to have created such an exciting novel new product and to be able to market it at attractive pricing, all the while making it in the USA.
To sum up, what are the major reasons for Gear Head’s success over the past few years?
Our new technology is truly a game changer. Nothing like this has existed before. Taking proper care of a truck’s 5th wheel will no longer be viewed as a chore. We now make 5th wheel maintenance quick, clean, convenient, highly effective, and absolutely affordable. There is also no need to be dribbling environmentally unfriendly materials onto our roadways. To top it off, we offer a product made in the USA that strongly supports our US farm economy. We are very excited to bring this innovative concept to the trucking market. We certainly hope the entire range from owner-operators to large fleets will embrace the comprehensive value our new 5th wheel pads represent.
Check out the video below to see how easy the Gear Head product is to use.
If you want to try Gear Head’s innovative 5th wheel lube pads for yourself, click here and use code CDL22 for 20% off your purchase!
This is sponsored content.