In an age where fleet maintenance and replacement costs continue to go up, up, up, Galasso Trucking is bucking the trend by having its costs go down, down, down—“to the tune of 60% on our tire program,” says Steve Galasso, fleet maintenance supervisor for the New York-based trucking company.
“What we’ve seen is nothing short of remarkable. When it comes to a tire program, it’s as if we were originally educated at the high school level. Now we’re at the master’s degree level and working on our PhD.”
Prior to setting up a tire program with Goodyear, the three-generation family trucking company—which operates an over-the-road fleet, a local delivery fleet and a rigging company—didn’t have a developed tire program.
“We basically went with the tires that came with the tractors and on the trailers,” says Galasso. “We didn’t give them much thought and just ran them until they were ready to be retreaded. So our initial miles to removal were all over the board and not consistent, plus when we took our tires into be retreaded, we never knew what we were getting back—if they were our casings being returned, or someone else’s. And we didn’t know how many times that tire had been retreaded.”
Tire condition, pressure checks
Compounding the problem was the lack of a maintenance program when it came to tire condition and pressure checks. “Between the three divisions, we run close to 70 power units and more than 150 trailers,” says Galasso. “We weren’t really great about checking inflation levels and our drivers weren’t disciplined, either. That combination, along with not having the right checks and balances with our retread program, got us into trouble, and the result was downtime.”
For any trucking company, downtime is a bane to customer satisfaction and a recipe for spikes in operation costs.
“My grandfather started this business back in 1945 with four delivery trucks,” says Galasso. “His very first customer was Bloomingdale’s, and I’m honored to say they are still our customer to this day. My father took over the business in 1970 and he grew us from a local trucking company to one that does specialized trucking and rigging in the tri-state area of New York City, in addition to long distance hauling east of the Mississippi.
“We’ve had a few growing pains, and tires were one of them. Several years ago, it came to a head when I had nine tire failures in a one-week period. And those tire failures were not from road hazards.”
Galasso contacted Barnwell House of Tires, a Goodyear truck tire dealership based in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., as well as Goodyear itself.
“I needed help in a big way,” he explains. “They examined our tire program and did a scrap tire analysis to really understand what was happening to our tires, and why. It showed most of our problems were rooted in over-aged casings. They then put together a program that made sense, using new tires, along with retreads. They also suggested we go with a five-year casing cutoff for retreading.
“Their solution included using Goodyear’s fleetHQ program, which provided us with emergency roadside service. And, boy, did we keep them busy at the beginning! To be honest, I was skeptical at first about fleetHQ. I thought there would be hidden charges, but there weren’t. Goodyear really proved itself with fleetHQ.
“We spec’d Goodyear’s G316 LHT as replacement tires for our trailers and Goodyear G372s when a driver had a problem. What we were charged for a replacement tire on the road was the same price that we negotiated with Barnwell and Goodyear. And the turnaround time was fast.”
Replacement tires from roadside service was the beginning of an overall change-out in tires for Galasso Trucking. For its fleet of trailers, the company took off all of its trailer tires on units that were six years old or older, and replaced them with fresh rubber, using the G316 LHT as its tire of choice. On newer trailers, the firm began replacing tread with G316 LHT retreads that were manufactured using Goodyear’s patented UniCircle method.
“Immediately, our reliability went up,” says Galasso. “The tires we replaced were in all kinds of conditions and of all ages. They were problems waiting to happen. We then began ordering new tractors and trailers and standardized them with Goodyear G399 LHD tires on the steers, 372A LHD tires on the drives, and G316 LHT on the trailers. Going forward, we plan to order trailer tires with Goodyear’s DuraSeal Technology as another measure to protect against flats.”
DuraSeal is a yellow, gel-like rubber compound that instantly seals punctures of up to 1/4-inch in diameter in the tread area of a truck tire. (It does not seal sidewall punctures.) As a nail enters the tire and reaches the tire’s inner liner, DuraSeal immediately surrounds the puncture to seal the leak, according to the tire maker.
According to Galasso, the company began seeing a miles per 32nd increase—and on average, the Goodyear steers have been accumulating about 150,000 miles before being pulled at 4/32nds.
“Some have gotten up to 175,000 miles,” says Galasso. “As for the drives, we’re now transitioning out of the G372 drives and into the (SmartWay-verified) G572 tire with Fuel Max Technology. We’re on pace to get the same miles to removal, which have averaged more than 300,000 miles.” (Drives are typically pulled at between 8/32nds and 6/32nds for retreading). He says the G572s that recently were pulled for inspection had 132,000 miles without any irregular wear. “They looked virtually brand new.”
Galasso says the steers and drives are retreaded with the G316 LHT trailer tire design. “Since they have the same tread design and wear characteristics as new trailer tires, we couldn’t be happier with their performance,” he says.
Also to his liking is how Goodyear is able to track each of the trucking firm’s retreads with the tire manufacturer’s GTRACS-NG software. “Through GTRACS, Goodyear gives us reports so we know everything there is to know about our retreads, and they also provide our casing history. That’s invaluable to us.
“When a drive tire needs replacing, we’ll put on the G572. Eventually, when we’re all standardized and have mileage run-out on those tires, we’ll start retreading those for the drive position.”
Benefits of standardization
For the company’s local delivery fleet, Galasso Trucking standardized with Goodyear G661 and Goodyear G182 tires. When those tires are pulled, they’re retreaded as G316 LHTs and G372 LHDs.
With long-lasting tread and durable casings in place, combined with retreading practices that could be tracked, the next piece of the puzzle was tire maintenance.
“Goodyear and Barnwell took the time to come in a train our people—both our maintenance team and our drivers,” says Galasso. “They educated us on the importance of proper tire inflation pressure, mounting procedures, wheel and rim inspection, safety procedures, and tire maintenance practices to help reduce overall fleet operational costs.”
According to Galasso, the results of the combined efforts have paid off. “We’ve seen a huge savings in our tire programs, and tire failures and roadside calls are almost non-existent now. Before working together with Goodyear and Barnwell, we never knew what to expect in mileage and tire costs.
“Today,” he continues, “we have a tire program that is professional and one that not only saves us money, but also makes us more reliable for our customers.”