Managing tires: Manufacturer programs can help fleets lower tire costs
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Managing tires: Manufacturer programs can help fleets lower tire costs

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The American Trucking AssociationsTechnology & Maintenance Council’s Recommended Practice RP 236A—Outsourcing Guidelines For Tire & Wheel Maintenance contains a wealth of information that can help fleets make more effective tire management decisions. As the RP notes, fleets are looking for efficient and productive ways to better manage tire costs and are turning to outsourcing and service providers to find ways to optimize these processes.

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TMC Recommended Practice 236A covers in detail three common types of outsourcing agreements. Included are total management solutions for compete tire and wheel maintenance services, new tires and retreads, repairs and road service, as well as on-site monitoring at fleet locations. Addressed as well are shared process management contracts for selected services, with specifically defined tasks for each party, and self-managed agreements that often employ standardized measurements to assess performance and identify areas needing improvement.

Detailed in the RP is an ongoing performance, accountability and quality control measurement process, recommended for fleets to review results and gauge reliability as they use supplier services to help lower tire costs.

Major tire manufacturers are making available a variety of programs for fleets:

  1. Managing Tires BridgestoneBridgestone’s National Fleet program provides consistent pricing on Bridgestone and Firestone new tires and Bandag retreads from local dealers or over the road. Additionally, the company provides Emergency Roadside Service 24/7/365 through b.e.n., the Bridgestone Everywhere Network of more than 2,500 authorized dealers and truck stops.  With the Bridgestone National Fleet program, users can also manage tire activity, including tracking usage online, and reviewing purchase reports. There are no start up costs or annual fees for the program.
    www.BridgestoneNationalFleet.com
  2. Continental Tire the Americas offers single source programs for emergency road service, including guaranteed pricing for tires and road service and tire maintenance. Included are Continental’s TrukFix program for national accounts and the free, membership based ContiFleet program for fleets that do not qualify for other national road service programs. Via a 24-hour, seven-day per week hotline, ContiFleet and TrukFix will dispatch emergency road services. The ContiFleet program also provides online access to tire and repair information, including monthly reports that track each breakdown and the time it took to complete the service.
    www.continental-truck.com
  3. Managing Tires Double CoinDouble Coin’s Smart Money Fleet Program allows all types of fleets to purchase Double Coin tires at more than 1,000 points across North America. The program includes standardized pricing at authorized truck stops or dealer locations and consolidated billing to streamline accounting processes. Access to the fleet program is available online 24/7. Double Coin also makes available to fleets a set of spreadsheets for tracking performance of steer, drive and trailer tires by mileage and costs, as well and for analyzing tire choices by brand and tread design.
    www.SmartMoneyFleet.com
  4. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., through its Goodyear-FleetHQ program, has a network of more than 2,200 locations across North America, including Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Centers, truck stops and independent shops. Offerings under the Goodyear-FleetHQ program include a range of business solutions for fleets such as national pricing, consolidated billing and Emergency Roadside Service.

    GoodyearProfitability tools are part of FleetHQ as well. Tire Trac is an online program that tracks real-time tire performance via fleet surveys, enabling users to compare cost-per-mile and monitor other important metrics. Through Goodyear GTRACS, fleets can track each casing through the retread process.
    Other management tools include Goodyear FleetHQ Service reporting for determining where road failures are occurring, which dealers to use in various areas and details related to each call, including costs and roll time. Goodyear Purchase reporting provides details on tire and service purchases as well as spending by month or year, tire type, size and location.
    www.goodyeartrucktires.com

  5. Michelin Americas Truck Tires recently launched Michelin Truck Care, a national network of service providers with an integrated cloud-based maintenance system. The new service provides fleet maintenance through a network of service centers and mobile units based on the existing Michelin Commercial Service Network.
    Customers can receive the following services through the new Michelin Truck Care service:
    • Preventive maintenance for tractors and trailers;
    • DOT annual inspections;
    • Electrical system repairs;
    • Brake adjustment, repair and replacement;
    • Wheel end work;
    • Suspension repair and replacement;
    • Mud flaps;
    • Minor body repairs to trailers;
    • and Reefer PM services.

    All procedures and services in the new program are audited by Michelin to ensure standardized quality throughout the network and consistent parts and labor pricing utilizing Motor Standard Repair Times and Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards coding. A national warranty backs all parts and labor.

    www.michelintruck.com/truckcare

Michelin Truck Care Maintenance

Powered by TMW Systems, Michelin Truck Care integrated systems can manage a fleet’s data or integrate with in-house maintenance management systems. Fleets can then access information on repairs and maintenance records.

Maintaining & Spec’ing Wheels

Wheel maintenance is a significant contributor to vehicle efficiency and operating costs. Accuride provides a Best Practice for Wheel Torque and Clamping Force guide aimed at preventing loose and cracked wheels and wheel end components.

Accuride

It is easy to overlook the role that the condition of studs, nuts and the proper torque play in the life of wheels, drums, hubs and other wheel end components, the company notes. A lack of basic maintenance can lead to cracks and failure, which may cause accidents, but these hazards are preventable with proper maintenance.

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Learning how to recognize and prevent loose torque conditions is paramount for achieving the maximum life of wheels and wheel end components.

Assuring wheels stay properly clamped is the key to avoiding early fatigue in wheel end components. Lack of inspection and routine maintenance, not following manufacturer instructions, mismatched parts and loose or over-torqued nuts are the main causes of losing proper clamping force on wheels and wheel end components.

Ideal clamping force is achieved and maintained through the use of new fastening components that are applied using the manufacturer’s specific torque and re-torque practice criteria. If any stud/nut combination loses its clamping force, the load forces are redistributed over the remaining studs/nuts, causing adjacent nuts to fatigue. Insufficient clamping force may create “play” in the wheel. This can increase stress loads on the wheel and other components that lead to fatigue cracks, deformed stud holes, stud damage and potential wheel loss.

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A common misconception is to correct low clamping force by over torque. This practice can stretch the stud beyond its yield point, rendering it ineffective. When checking wheels, look for signs of cracks and rust lines originating from bolt holes. These are common signs of low clamping force. If a stud is broken, replace the adjacent studs on either side of it. If two or more studs are broken, all studs must be replaced.

Excess paint, rust, scale or dirt between mating areas of wheel end components will lead to low clamping force. The maximum allowable paint thickness is 0.0035 in. (3.5 mils), which is about the thickness of a magazine page.

Alcoa Managing Tire Programs

To prevent damage to wheel end components it is important to pay close attention to wheel studs, and clean and maintain them regularly. Rust and corrosion should be removed from all mounting surfaces on the wheel, hub, drum and studs. Also remove any burrs on or around the bolt holes and center holes.

Achieving longer wheel life

Maxion Wheels also provides tips to promote longer wheel life. Proper wheel maintenance can be relatively straightforward by following a manufacturer’s recommendations, the company notes.

Maxion offers seven maintenance steps:

  1. Keep wheels washed and clean, removing any/all caustic road chemicals, often used in winter-ice conditions;
  2. Maintain a flat, properly painted wheel surface—road salt can find the most miniscule opening to cause problems;
  3. Attaching hardware must be free of debris to allow torque wrenches to torque to correct specifications. To ensure proper clamp load, fasteners or lock nuts must be clean, free turning and tightened to the recommended torque level;
  4. Use a calibrated torque wrench when installing wheel nuts and follow torque wrench manufacturers’ recommendations for calibrating wrenches;
  5. Properly maintain air wrenches by draining air guns, which can collect moisture, watching for worn sockets, and using air dryers to keep moisture out of the air supply;
  6. Maintain clean mating surfaces by removing all dirt, debris, burrs or anything that may impact the flatness of the mating surfaces; and
  7. Exercise caution to assure no lubricants exist on the mating surfaces or any vertical plane of the wheel. Lubricating the wheel pilot pads should be limited to the horizontal plane of the wheel pilot pads.

Maxion also suggests fleet managers could make wheels a ‘non-issue’ by following six simple guidelines when spec’ing equipment. Included are tire size and maximum air inflation, loads to be carried and wheel-carrying capacity, duty cycles such as linehaul, off-road, delivery, stop and start, axle ratings, warranty and field service support from your wheel supplier.

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When it comes to spec’ing wheels, Alcoa offers fleet managers a list of factors to consider. Forged aluminum wheels, the company points out, can reduce wheel weight. They can also lower maintenance costs by not requiring refurbishing and by enabling cleaning with soap and water. Alcoa also notes that there are sustainability benefits associated with lighter weight aluminum wheels.

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