Time is money for fleet tire programs

Time is money for fleet tire programs

Time savings should be quantified and calculated into a fleet's cost/benefit analysis for a tire pressure monitoring system.

We’ve all heard the expression “time is money.” A textbook example recently surfaced when a well-run fleet was debating the payback for spec’ing a tire pressure monitoring system on some new equipment. All tire engineers agree that maintaining proper inflation is the primary lifeline of tire performance, so the traditional cost savings—extending casing life, improving retreadability, increasing fuel economy, reducing costs of road service calls—had been factored into the cost/benefit analysis.

But this particular fleet also had considered several additional, more difficult to quantify benefits, including the safety of fewer tire-related roadside stops, the possibility of reduced insurance premiums and driver preferences. No specific cost savings, however, was calculated for time savings.

Time savings should be quantified first, by defining whose time is being used/saved and the corresponding labor (or vendor service) rates, and also by considering alternative uses of the time, especially for in-house employees. A third factor is the number of penalties, such as late delivery charges, goodwill damages and non-drive time expenses for idled drivers.

The most basic time savings is elimination of manual tire inflation checks. Fifteen to 20 minutes is considered the normal time required to check and make minor inflation corrections on a typical 18-wheel rig. Considering an average of this time for a weekly inflation check on a small fleet of 50 trucks, 14.6 hours would be required. Driver pre-trip visual inspections should still be performed, but both the normal maintenance and driver pre-trip inflation checks can be eliminated by using currently available TPMS and ATIS (automatic tire inflation system) devices, most of which can be spec’d on new equipment. An added bonus here is that fleets can expect fewer in-service “leakers,” as a small percentage of manually-checked tires develop slow leaks simply by depressing the valve core to obtain a pressure reading in the sometimes dirty, salty or corroded valve opening.

The time required for tire mounting and balancing also should be considered. First, maintenance managers must know their in-shop costs for these procedures and compare these to outside vendor charges to perform the service. In many cases, third-party providers specializing in tire/wheel service can offer lower costs, freeing in-house technicians to perform other maintenance tasks. Another growing practice is the use of an internal balancing/­dampening compound inside the tire and wheel assembly, which saves time (approximately 10 to 15 minutes per assembly) required for traditional balancing. This can eliminate the cost and maintenance of a heavy-duty balance machine, and reduce the lifting and handling of mounted assemblies to different shop areas.

Other simple time-saving tips include measuring and marking non-skid remaining on used tires, so individual units can be quickly and accurately mated to remaining tires across an axle when needed. Some fleets choose to store mounted assemblies in matched sets for steer and drive positions, and replace individual tires as needed for trailer positions.

The key is to establish and communicate standardized rules for tire replacements to save time and avoid confusion. Directional tires should generally be avoided, unless the accompanying benefits—such as enhanced traction or self-cleaning for certain surface conditions, or longer tread life to removal—significantly outweigh the extra time and attention needed during installation. When possible, new valves or grommets should be installed on bare wheels. This takes less time and facilitates proper tightening compared to fitting these parts later. It often is more time and cost efficient to have work done by a wheel supplier or refinisher.

A few minutes should be invested to analyze the time requirements of the many aspects of a tire program. This should include not only the traditional in-shop procedures of routine tire inventory and replacements, but also a more comprehensive overview of road service, vendor and provider practices, retreaders, and other supplier guidelines.

Recognize that modern radials are capable of delivering performance beyond their predecessors and that new service, balancing and inflation technologies will likely save time and improve operating efficiencies. As always, any changes must be clearly defined and communicated to all parties involved. 

You May Also Like

ACT Research numbers: Heavy-duty down, medium-duty up

ACT says after a year of unexpected growth, March orders may finally indicate a slowdown in capacity additions.


According to the latest numbers from ACT Research, final March Class 8 net orders totaled 17,410 units (17.2k seasonally adjusted), down 8.4% year-over-year. Total Classes 5-7 orders rose 23% y/y to 25,359 units (23.4k seasonally adjusted).

“March orders may finally indicate a slowdown in capacity additions, a requisite for the freight market to turn, after a year of growth that defied typical fundamentals. Though we note, Q2 and Q3 are the weakest points in the calendar for orders, so the call is not prescient,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “U.S. tractor orders totaled 10,400 units, down 1.3% y/y. In the vocational market, total NA Class 8 truck orders fell 2.0% y/y to 5,300 units.”

Akebono releases 14 new severe-duty brake pads

The new kits are for vehicles from Ford, Ram, Chrysler, GMC and Nissan, which expands Akebono’s coverage by roughly 11 million vehicles.

Panelite releases new guards, deflectors, sunvisors for Peterbilt 589

Coming to market after a year of development, Panelite says the components fit the Peterbilt
589, and match its style.

Commercial tire market cautiously recovering from 2023 challenges

To better understand commercial tire expectations for the remainder of the year, we spolke with Pierluigi Cumo, VP of B2B products at Michelin North America.

Phillips takes two awards at Penske Supplier Conference

Phillips Industries was awarded both the 2023 Best Performing Supplier – Components Award, and the 2023 Best Innovation Supplier Award.


Other Posts

Isuzu announces new battery EV medium-duty truck with Accelera powertrain

The companies are planning availability of the new Class 6/7 truck in 2026.

Cummins starts H2-ICE production at new India facility

The first B6.7H hydrogen ICE rolled off the production line in March and will now be integrated into Tata Motors’ trucks.

Noregon TripVision now covers medium-duty vehicles

According to Noregon, the update brings TripVision’s remote diagnostics to medium-duty brands including Ford, GM, Sprinter, Isuzu and Hino.

Daimler Truck reports good start to 2024

Despite lower Group unit sales, Daimler Truck says it continued toward a robust profitability in normalizing markets for Q1 2024.