TIRE maintenance is synonymous with safety, said Guy Walenga of Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC at the National Tank Truck Carriers Safety Seminar April 4-6 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Proper and consistent tire pressure maintenance keeps your vehicles and drivers off the side of the road,” Walenga said.
He listed essential elements for achieving good tire performance that include pressure maintenance, proper mounting and selection, and tire dealer relationships.
With dual tires, even a five psi difference can cause irregular wear.
“Deflection rates differ, footprints differ, excess heat is generated, durability, repairability, and retreadability is reduced,” Walenga said.
He recommended that tires be pressure tested at ambient temperature — and with the proper measurement tools. Federal law requires drivers to check pressure in every pretrip inspection, but Walenga said tires also should be checked weekly, before drivers are dispatched, at the fuel island, and when the truck is returned to the yard.
As for mounting tires properly in the shop, he said mechanics should lube both beads and bead seats, match tire/wheel markings, if available, and check for concentric mounting on both sides. New valves, grommets, cores, and caps should be used.
“Mechanics should always use a safety cage when inflating a tire,” he added.