6 Important Steps in Tire Maintenance

By February 5, 2016Maintenance, Tires

Inflation is a scary term when it comes to the economy; but inflation is an absolutely essential standard by which to measure your tire’s safety.

In early April of last year, TruckingInfo.com ran a story, Too Fast for Your Tires; an article that dealt with the perception on the part of the press, and often the public, that driving too fast is a major reason why tires fail. I would recommend reading the article, which goes into great detail on one of the actual reasons why tires may fail.

In many cases it has more to do with maintenance than speed.  As the article notes, most but not all, North American on-highway truck tires are rated for 75 mph, and most trucks are probably not going to exceed that speed. But when it comes to maintenance, specifically proper tire inflation, the numbers are not good.

According to the article’s author, Jim Park, Equipment Editor for Heavy Duty Trucking, a TMC study found that only 44% of tires were within +/-5 psi of target pressure.  When we hear statistics like 40% of tires are under-inflated, many of us correlate that to the targeted pressures set by the fleet manager. The big concern is the weight each tire will carry and then setting the pressure for that tire to the manufacturer’s recommendation.  This can be significantly different from the fleet’s standard tire pressures.  As fleet managers, we like to standardize as much as possible; however we need to be cognizant of each tire’s application, load, and speed to ensure the tire is operating within the recommended limits. If not, the consequences can be alarming.

One very specific area where we can realize savings and safety is with retreading. There can be significant savings by matching the right tread with the approved casing criteria.  When putting that tire into inventory, be sure to mark that tire with the correct application (such as city, regional, line haul, trailer, etc.).  Be sure to discuss and set your retread operational requirements with your tire supplier.

Here are six actions you should be taking:

  1. Determine which casings are acceptable to retread or repair based on tire manufacturer, number, and size of section repairs, number of allowable nail holes, etc.
  2. Have a routine air pressure gauge accuracy test for all shop air gauges to ensure accuracy.
  3. Complete a failure analysis on each failed tire to determine the reason for failure – I like using the TMC tire failure manual as a reference.
  4. Check out and in every casing going to and from the retreader – noting the DOT number.
  5. Be sure to use the correct torque when mounting tires.
  6. Do weekly management air pressure yard checks and recheck a percent of PM’s performed.

We’re certainly not recommending that drivers shouldn’t obey the speed limit; nor are we saying that speed can’t be a factor in a tire’s failure and a subsequent accident. What we are saying is that staying on top of your fleet’s tire maintenance can make a major difference in the safety of your vehicle, your driver, and the road.

Read the full story.

Joe Puff

About Joe Puff

Joe Puff is the Vice President of Truck Technology and Maintenance for NationaLease. He has more than 35 years of experience in complex sales and fleet operations, including extensive experience in commercial vehicle maintenance. Joe is responsible for advising NationaLease members and the National Account team of new truck technology, industry trends, and maintenance best practices.

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