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CONTROLLING TIRE MAINTENANCE COSTS

Posted: August 1, 2014

1. Inflation Monitoring and Recording
Fleet standard air pressures for your fleet can be established based on the loads carried and the length of haul. These air pressures are in accordance with the standards set by various tire manufacturers and the Tire and Rim Association.

It is the responsibility of all who service a vehicle to ensure the air pressure is checked with a properly calibrated air pressure gauge once per month. Having a stated standard air inflation which falls within most new tire manufactures recommended inflation will allow for a simple approach to this key issue. We emphasize that any tire with 20% air loss or more is considered flat and removed and inspected before being returned to service. A 20% air loss may result in a 20% loss in tread life or mileage. Over inflated tires can mean a 5% loss in tread mileage and can cause loss of retreadability.

2. Wheel Torquing and Re-torquing

When components of a wheel system are clamped together it becomes a very rigid joint, however, the extreme pressure of normal operation and fluctuation of temperatures cause movement and flexing within that joint. Fretting of the steel parts against one another forces any paint or rust out of the joint thus reducing the thickness of the joint between the head of the stud and the wheel nut. This is known as joint settling, the wheel nut has not turned but the clamp load drops due to the change in thickness of the layers in the joint. Loss of clamping force therefore allows for greater movement within the joint leading to even more material being forced from the joint. Eventually the wheel is loose enough that the nuts will begin to back off.

Wheel manufacturers recommend re-torquing of wheel nuts 100-150 Kilometers after installation.

It is recommended that wheel re-torquing be a part of a monthly yard check.

3. Yard Checks

In addition to inflation monitoring and wheel re-torquing, yard checks should include the following:

• Visual inspection of remaining tread
• Visual inspection of the tire for potential damage
• Check for flats
• Visual inspection of all wheels looking for misaligned valve stems, spun wheels, collapsed spacers, missing valve caps, damaged wheels, etc.

A valid tire maintenance program should include monthly yard checks so that potential road delays can be minimized. We recommend that these yard checks, which include inflation monitoring and wheel re-torquing, be done at the locations where higher tire costs occur.

4. Tire Repair

One of the leading causes of tire failure and casing rejection during the retread process is a faulty repair. This area is most often overlooked when fleets design tire maintenance programs, but as a recent survey indicates, 46% of tire failures were caused by improper repair procedures. Of course this means higher tire costs.

When a radial tire has been damaged to the point where the steel cords are exposed to the elements it is important that the area be repaired as soon as possible so that moisture is not allowed to migrate along the belt package causing further damage.

The most effective method of repair for nail holes (1/4″) is the plug and patch repair. The plug stops the migration of moisture and the patch on the inside of the tire supports the plug. For repairs larger than a nail hole (3/8″ and larger) the tire should be removed from service and sent to our nearest retread plant for repair.

This method of repair not only reduces the number of tire failures but promotes casing recovery as well.

5. Wheel Refinishing Program

Kal Tire currently provides wheel and rim refinishing in Calgary. Kal Tire will transport your wheels to and from the plant, at no additional charge.

Kal Tire’s wheel-refinishing program is due to the shift in fleets’ demands for full service outsourcing of tire management requirements. Our company’s existing infrastructure and distribution network will allow the wheel refinishing program process to fit seamlessly into your company’s operations.

Through Bandag, Kal Tire is able to deliver a wheel and refinishing program second to none. The process is called Amor Kote. It is a form of metal treatment that can significantly enhance the life cycle of wheel/rim enamel finishing. It offers over 600% improvement against rust and surface corrosion over Enamel finishes and offers a 300% improvement against rust and surface corrosion over Powder Coat.

Other advantages are as follows:

• Excellent durability against chipping and abrasion
• Can be utilized with a wide range of enamel colors
• Excellent surface appearance throughout life cycle of wheel
• Increased driver satisfaction with premium wheel assembly look
• Lowest per wheel life cycle finish cost of any system in the industry

6. Truck and Trailer Alignments

Industry figures indicate that over 70% of all trucks on the road have tandem axles that are misaligned. To keep the truck going straight, the turning force of the tandem must be offset by turning the front wheels in the opposite direction. This causes all ten wheels to scrub mile after mile.

It takes just 1/10″ to have a big impact on your costs. For example, a tractor with a toe misalignment on the drive axle, of just .10″ (or .06 degrees offset). If the mileage is 100,000 miles per year, the resulting effect is the equivalent of dragging the tires sideways for 100 miles. Aligning the steer axle isn’t enough. One of the two most critical factors in front-end wear is drive axle misalignment. A misaligned drive axle affects all the wheels on the tractor. This impacts on tire wear, and fuel consumption multiplied by tractor after tractor and trailer after trailer.

In summary, a total 3-axle wheel alignment provides the following benefits:

• Reduced tire wear
• Reduced component wear
• Spot prematurely worn parts
• Improved handling
• Decrease fuel costs by minimizing rolling resistance

7. Tire Branding

This procedure is done as a precaution, it indicates the ownership of the tires and thereby eliminates the possibility of having them installed on vehicles other than those operated by your company. It can also reduce the possibility of tire theft. Branding is a process which is perfomed by the fleets themselves.

For purposes of quality control, our retread plants brand each tire with our DOT, plant number and CSA number. Standing behind our product in this way demonstrates the confidence and committment which each of our retread plants have for the quality of our product.

8. NDI Casing Analyzer

The NDI Casing Analyzer is a sophisticated machine that detects air leaks and casing separations. It does this by using Ultrasonic sound waves sent from transmitters, through the casing to receivers and onto the computer. The computer monitor helps determine the size, severity and location of casing separations and air leaks. This machine is used as part of Kal Tire’s retreading process.

This process can save your fleet money because:

• It can determine the size and location of separations better than ever before, reducing potential road failures and costly downtime repairs and service.

• We can now determine the application and wheel position in which your valuable casing, once retreaded, can provide the best service and a lower cost per mile.

• It reduces the potential for costly downtime by detecting separations that cannot be detected by normal visual inspection methods.

9. Fleet Budget Projection Program

To aid your company in its budgeting process, Kal Tire has created a program, which will project what your annual tire, and truck alignment costs will be on a month to month basis. We are also able to generate a report that shows, for each unit number, current remaining tread depth and in which month each wheel position is due to be pulled at.

As well, this program will serve as a cost saving service because it flags mismatched tread depths in your fleet. Identifying mismatched tires, allows us to rotate tires to match each other in height, thus saving irregular wear conditions, premature wear, and down time due to blow outs (Mismatch tread in the dual position causes one tire in the pair to carry more axle weight.)

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