Given how crucial wheels are to our daily lives, it is only fitting to ensure that they are properly maintained and kept in optimal condition. Don’t worry, we are not attempting to reinvent the wheel, but rather provide you with valuable information on how to ensure their continued reliability.
We harp about the importance of preventative maintenance in every segment of the industry. From your oil drain intervals to your tire pressure, there’s a lot of things to consider but one of the most crucial operations to actively keep an eye on is the one that literally moves your vehicle into motion.
Here are some go-to tips to help keep your fleet’s wheels on a roll.
This one should be obvious – keep them clean – Wheels and tires get the brunt of the harmful elements since they are more exposed to the roads. If not cleaned, a build up of mud, chemicals, corrosives and/or grime could cause some serious damage or abrasions. It’s best for the appearance and overall performance of the wheels if you keep them looking sharp.
Cleaning your wheels also acts as a great time to check for any cracks or rust that could be forming- this is especially important for off-road applications or trucks operating on uneven surfaces (ie. construction zones or mountainous terrain) these are the ones more prone to damage. We all know that should cracks and rust go unrepaired, it’s only a matter of time before it gets worse. That said, address any issues you may find as soon as possible to lessen the severity of damage.
Establishing pre-trip and post-trip inspection guidelines specifically for wheels can help ensure that these checks are being done regularly and consistently. This could include checking tread depth, tire pressure, and overall state of the wheel.
Along with inspection guidelines should come a fleet program to check torque based on duty cycles and operations. Start by checking all of the wheels cap nuts for proper torque after first use or removal and check on wheel nuts during service stops. It’s also important to check that torque wrenches are properly calibrated and wrench sockets are not worn to ensure accuracy during servicing. As a best practice, service techs should be calibrating torque wrenches regularly for best results.
Excessive or inadequate wheel torque can lead to failure of the wheel mounting and loss of a wheel. You definitely don’t want that so be sure to follow wheel torque recommendations from your designated supplier.
Speaking of following protocol: Always follow installation instructions and maintain proper lubrication of the wheel and its components. Diverting from tried and true methods for the sake of time or convenience could be at the expense of performance and reliability.
A simple rule of thumb regarding the frequency of checks: The older the wheel the more the inspections.
With proper maintenance of your truck’s wheels and assuming they are being used for the appropriate application, the wheels should last the entirety of the truck’s lifetime.
Fleet Equipment’s On The Road is sponsored by Rockland Flooring. Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every episode as we dive into the best practices and servicing information to keep your trucks On The Road.