Who doesn't like to drool over the latest truck features? Seriously. We want to meet that person.
For the rest of you, we sat down with Jeff Watkins from Sioux Falls Truck and Trailer and got the details on five brand new ad-ons that promise to make life on the road even better.
Kenworth Key Fob Light Check
Have you ever been walking out of the truck stop, ready to get back on the road and wished you didn't have to climb back into the cab to test your lights and complete your walk around? Well your wish just came true.
Kenworth has developed a light check feature that is on your key fob. According to Watkins there is a button on the key fob that turns on all your lights so you can do a light check without ever entering your truck. Just complete your walk around, jump in the truck and you are ready to go.
For the past few years Kenworth has provided a dash switch that turns on all the lights for a light check as a standard feature in new Kenworths, but this key fob takes it to a whole other level. The key fob will be available as an add-on starting in the 2019 models.
Inverters are great, but after market installations can be tricky and sometimes even dangerous if they aren't done by professionals. That's part of why factory inverters have become a pretty big deal. Factory installed inverters allow drivers the peace of mind that their power supply is safe and reliable.
Most models include an on/off switch at the control center in the sleeper with a display showing the current on/off status, current voltage, and how much voltage they are using. These factory installs also allow for more outlets. You'll never have to choose between your TV, DVD player, microwave, and CPAP machine again.
The factory inverter is one of the most popular add-on features because it adds a lot of functionality for drivers. There are two versions, one has shore power and one does not, so the cost is dependent on which model you select.
The smart wheel is an exciting upgrade option for the steering wheel. In addition to being a good, durable steering wheel it also has button features including headlight flash, radio options, emergency lights, and cruise control—all built into the wheel for driver convenience. It also includes a leather wrap that really helps with ergonomics.
The basic level of collision mitigation is a former add-on that has now become standard. The system includes a radar that is mounted into the bumper. If a driver comes onto slower moving traffic too quickly and gets inside of a certain distance from potential impact it will alert the driver with an alarm. Or if they get really close, it will even apply the breaks.
The alert includes is a sound that comes over the radio speakers as well as a visual alert on the dash. This alarm even works if the radio is turned down as it overrides the volume of the radio. While this is now a standard item, there is an even more robust upgraded version as well.
The upgraded version includes all of the collision mitigation features plus lane departure, speed limit detection, and an onboard dash camera that is automatically triggered in case of an accident. The lane departure feature protects drivers if they drift over the white fog line. Cross over the right line and it will buzz your right speaker to alert you to a problem. The same is true with the left line. It is an annoying buzz, but it gets the job done and keeps you and other drivers safe.
The upgraded system also includes automatic speed limit sign recognition. Using the onboard camera the system reads traffic signs and shows you the speed limit right on the dash display. You can also set up alerts for if you go a certain amount over the speed limit.
For an additional monthly fee you also get an integrated camera system that protects you in the event of an accident. If you give a hard break, like you would before a potential accident, the camera begins saving the recording. It is able to go back to a few seconds before the brake event so that you have footage to prove what happened during the accident.
Many drivers appreciate this for the extra legal protection in cases of accidents. Insurance companies and fleet managers are beginning to push for technologies like these because of their potential to avoid fatalities.
New Kenworth Transmission
The new Kenworth automatic transmission has been a great success and is selling like hot cakes. It is a 12-speed transmission with a different type of clutch allowing for better low-end maneuverability.
Hooking up to a trailer, tighter maneuvering in a parking lot—it is all a lot more driver friendly.
This upgrade also includes a new controller for the transmission and Jake brake that is mounted to the steering column so it is right at your fingertips. This makes it easier for drivers to gear select and control the Jake brake while keeping their eyes on the road and not having to reach off to the right. The system allows drivers to do manual or automatic gear selections and downshift or upshift as they see fit. This can be a huge help in extreme weather driving because of the increased control.
If this glimpse into the latest technology has left you wanting more, contact Jeff Watkins at Sioux Falls Truck and Trailer. Or, if you need a change of scenery, click below! We are always looking for great drivers to add to the K&J family!