Tires and seats for heavy-duty trucks are the focus of two customer satisfaction reports compiled recently by J D Power and Associates, Agoura Hills CA.
The report found that the most frequently cited problems with heavy-duty truck tires are excessive or uneven tread wear and blowouts. The report also measured four other problem categories: sidewall separation; tread separation; tire out of round or unbalanced; and tire seal leaks.
"Besides fuel costs, tires are one of the largest operating expenses for heavy-duty truck owners, fleet managers, and trucking business owners," says Jen Loukes, senior manager of commercial vehicle research for J D Power and Associates.
Just as tires are a key operating expense for truck owners, seats are an essential comfort item for drivers. "Drivers can spend many hours in their Class 8 vehicles, so seats play a crucial role in overall driver comfort," Loukes said. "Comfort and durability are two key attributes that truck owners look for in their seat."
According to the report, Michelin tires received high marks from heavy-duty truck owners for overall satisfaction and Bridgestone tire owners reported a low incidence of problems. Michelin received strong ratings from Class 8 customers in each of the three tire areas that comprise overall satisfaction: tire safety, wearability and tread life, and tire value. Bridgestone fared well, but below Michelin, on the same four attributes. However, Bridgestone customers reported the fewest number of things gone wrong, measured as problems per 100 tires, according to the report.
Customers rated seat comfort, operation, and quality. National Seats received strong satisfaction ratings for three of the five satisfaction measures: overall driver’s seat comfort, ease of reaching/operating driver’s seat controls, and driver’s seat lower back support (lumbar). The other two measures of overall satisfaction were durability of seat material and ability to adjust the seat position.
The study also measured problems with the seat. While only three percent of customers report seat problems, Bostrom and National Seats customers report the fewest number of problems per 100 seats.
The 2001 Heavy-Duty Truck Original Equipment Tire Report and 2001 Heavy-Duty Truck Seat Customer Satisfaction Report are both derived from the 2001 Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study and are based on responses from more than 2,800 original owners of 1999 model-year trucks, according to J D Power & Associates.