TAKING the time to manage tire preventive maintenance and instructing drivers in related vehicle handling pay off in an improved bottom line, said Bernie McNally of Snider Tire.
At the National Tank Truck Carrier Maintenance Seminar October 18-20, he offered information to improve tire performance. McNally pointed out that tire maintenance in Canada is seen as crucial and requires people who install tires to be trained and licensed.
Beginning with tire pressure monitoring, he emphasized that air carries the load of the tank trailer. By paying close attention to tire pressure, blowouts can be controlled. Of the tire debris along the highways, about 90 percent is a result of under-inflated tires.
Problems can be avoided by being sure that alignments are on the preventive maintenance schedule, as well as noting brake imbalance, which can damage tires if not controlled.
Drivers also are an important part of insuring tire life. Driving practices to avoid include use of trailer brakes without applying tractor brakes, spinning tires, excessive speed, driving over curbs, and panic braking.
Training drivers to properly evaluate tires during pretrip inspections also pays off in tire life.
Training mechanics in tire maintenance is as important as being sure drivers have instruction. Mechanics should be instructed in techniques for mounting, demounting, and inflation, as well as other related service requirements.
If bolts are over-tightened or under-tightened, problems are likely to occur. Torque wrenches are available that can indicate accurate torquing. However, they are sensitive and must be handled carefully.
Mechanics should be sure that there is a clean wheel-mating surface, fasteners are checked, and lubricants are applied properly. Bolt holes and studs should be checked for condition.
Damaged wheels should be taken out of service.
Tires should be stored inside a building, be kept free of moisture, and away from hot pipes and compressors.
Indirect causes for tire wear, such as worn and/or damaged suspensions and tire/wheel assembly balance, should be addressed.
Other situations that affect tire life include engine torque — the more power, the less tire life, he said.
In addition, when buying tires, managers should specify the correct tire for the typical load hauled.
More information about tire maintenance can be found on the Tire Industry Association Web site at tireindustry.org.