|MINIMIZING IRREGULAR TRUCK TIRE WEAR
The right inflation pressure can minimize many types of irregular wear
-- and that means higher removal mileage and reduced tire handling
Bridgestone/Firestone has assembled data from its own research as
well as studies done by The Maintenance Council (TMC) and Rubber
Manufacturers' Association (RMA) that concludes that tires last
longer when properly inflated.
Tires rotate about 500 times for every mile traveled, so in 100,000
miles every part of the tread gets pressed against the pavement
some 50 million times. Since uneven, irregular wear is the result of
uneven abrasion, tires need to press against the pavement the same
way every single time. Having the tire maintain a consistent shape
throughout its life helps a lot.
The way to achieve this "ideal" shape is to adjust inflation pressure
after consulting load and inflation tables. TMC reports that 10
percent underinflation will shorten tread life by nine to 16 percent. If
an average tire price of $250 is used, this underinflation costs about
$25 per tire. Because tires will be changed more often, fleets will pay
more in tire service fees along with costs related to downtime.
How many drivers and maintenance people, if they had a target
inflation pressure of 100 psi, would consider 90 psi (10 percent
under-inflated) "close enough?" TMC suggests that each 10 percent
results in a similar loss of tread life. So 20 per-cent underinflation
could cost $50 per tire. If underinflation exceeds 10 per-cent, there
may be bigger problems such as flats and emergency road service
calls that can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000.
Both TMC and RMA recommend that tires found to be 20 percent or
more under-inflated should be immediately removed from service,
demounted and inspected for damage.
Reprinted with permission from Fleet Equipment.
SAFETY PRODUCTS FOR
REAL INDUSTRY LEADERS
|Truck tires, the key to success in trucking is getting the
best for the buck?
Humans Can Tame Roadside Alligators
Despite advances in tire technology, tire debris still lines the
nation's highways and the problem is actually getting worse. In
many places particularly during summer weather, those
unsightly strips of tread and steel belts (alligators) are so
plentiful they have become a public safety issue. From surveys
of tire debris in 1995 and again 3 years later, a task force of
The Maintenance Council (TMC) counted 28% more alligators
from the same 13 locations in 1998. The total count in 1998 was
In the latter survey, most of the tires were retreads and 70% of
them were rib-type tires, which points to trailer and dolly
positions. It's easy to see why public safety advocates are quick
to point the finger at retreading as the culprit and call for
government controls of retreads usage.
The truth, again borne out by TMC study, is that neither
manufacturer defects or retreading is at fault in the
overwhelming majority of tire failures on the highway. The true
culprit in almost 90% of the cases is underinflaton due to poor
maintenance, and to a lesser degree, road hazards.
Here are some specifics from the most recent survey:
59% of pieces inspected had failed due to belt separation and
other mechanical problems.
27% had failed due to road hazards, such as nails or rock
Only 6% failed as a result of tire repairs.
Clearly the cost of running underinflated (or overloaded) tires,
retread or new, is very high. A recent TMC survey of commercial
truck fleets showed the average out of pocket cost of each tire
related road problem is $180.00 plus the replacement tire. The
average down time is more than 2.5 hours and the average cost
of driver delay time is $130.
That's only the start of your woes. Add to these problems the
cash costs a missed delivery (especially just-in-time) and loss of
future business opportunities. Is the problem industry wide? The
TMC survey of fleets revealed that 60% of the fleets had more
than 11 road calls each month.
Though most tire failures involved retreads, simply switching
your replacement program to all new tires would be an
unnecessary and expensive move. Recycling a $75. casing one
or more times with retreads not only delays tire disposal costs,
which can be $3 to $7 per unit, but saves big time in
replacement costs, as much as 38%, surveys show.
The TMC surveys have shown that underinflation is the most
frequent cause of tires "giving in" along the highways. And the
fact most were on the trailer axles indicates a weak spot in
maintenance and driver attention to trailer tires, which are more
often overlooked during inspections than tractor tires.
Sometimes fleet mechanics don't see their company trailers for
weeks and even months.
The other pertinent issue is driving technique; how careful
drivers are to avoid road hazards, curb damage or too much
pedal on the metal. A loss of inflation pressure through
penetrations or impact and excessive speeding both create heat
buildup in tire casing, leading to fatigue and eventual failure. In
the end. belt package and tread detach themselves from the tire
Most fleets (80% of those surveyed) assign tire responsibility to
their mechanics and about 2/3rds of them have written tire
maintenance procedures. At least 97% use pressure gauges to
But is that enough? Apparently not. Only 22% of their drivers
check the psi before starting a trip and of those, just 37% use
an air pressure gauge, calibrated or not. The survey also
showed 1/2 of the drivers didn't think checking air pressure was
Drivers are key players in preventing tire failures. Through
driver education programs, thy must be made aware of their
tires importance and what can happen when they fail to check
tires (tractor AND trailer) before and during trips. A TMC
brochure sent to fleets during 1999 states checking and
adjusting tire inflation pressure on 18 wheelers takes only 20
minutes. For the driver's own safety, that could be the shortest
20 minutes he or she will ever spend.
DRIVER'S CHECKLIST FOR KEEPING TIRES INFLATED:
Use calibrated air gauge
Inflate to specified pressure
Have tire removed if 20 psi under target
Are metal valve caps on tight?
See any tire damage or nail penetrations?
Don't forget inside duals.
Article from the
Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau
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