As one of the two biggest non-labor expenses that trucking fleets have, tires require careful maintenance, says Brian Buckham, marketing manager, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. (www.goodyeartrucktires.com) The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program further underscores the importance of good tire maintenance practices.
Because tire maintenance violations under CSA are very serious as they pose a high safety risk, tires play a major role in the CSA scoring system which calculates safety performance.
He says fleets can stay on top of maintenance in a number of areas:
- Tire tread depth. Be sure there adequate tread depth for the wheel position. Using a tread gauge to measure tread depths is recommended.
- Tire pressure maintenance. Tire pressure checks are a key part of any pre-trip inspection.
Check to see if the tire's inflation pressure matches the pressure that is required to handle the load, advises Buckham. Use a calibrated pressure gauge to obtain an accurate reading. Check the calibration periodically for accuracy.
- Visual tire inspections. Carefully look for damage to a tire's tread and sidewall area, paying particular attention to exposed belt or ply material. These items will trigger a vehicle inspection.
Take the time to look at the inside dual tire and between duals for rocks and other debris that can cause trouble, he says. Also look for uneven wear. If uneven wear patterns are present, a truck alignment might be in order.
- Wheel inspections. Look for cracked wheels, as well as bolt holes that may have become elongated due to loose lug nuts.
Through its Goodyear-FleetHQ solutions program, Goodyear commercial truck tire dealers offer services that can help fleets keep rolling and avoid penalties caused by CSA violations.
Through Trailer-Readiness, dealer technicians check tire tread depth, tire pressure, trailer lights, wheel seals, air valves, air lines and other components, says Jose Martinez, brand manager, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. Data is made available through a secure, online portal and also through Goodyear-FleetHQ's Tire Trac tire performance management program.
The tire inspections can provide indicators of tire issues that might arise during a roadside inspection, he notes, and can augment daily pre-trip inspections and enhance preventive maintenance practices.
The Tire Trac program provides fleets with an up-to-date analysis of their "tire readiness," says Martinez. Goodyear has built an extensive tire performance database through Tire Trac. The information it has collected, and continues to collect, can be used to develop advanced reports that can demonstrate how tire and maintenance programs are performing within customers' fleets and gives fleet managers the ability to identify problem areas.