Tire casings that live another day

Tire casings that live another day

Bridgestone Bandag retread drive tire
Bridgestone Bandag retread drive tire

“It’s important to inspect your tires for uneven treadwear, cracks, bulges or any sign of foreign material or trauma,” Hankook’s Ward said. “Never overload your vehicle and always check the tire load carrying capacity [or vehicle owner’s manual] for the maximum recommended load.”

“Proper cradle-to-grave tire management should be customized to each fleet,” Bandag’s Nye said. “It is important to work with a trusted tire partner to establish benchmarks for their tire management program. These benchmarks are unique to each fleet and should correlate directly to managing expenses while maximizing tire asset utilization and uptime. A trusted tire partner can help train fleet personnel on basics such as proper air pressure maintenance procedures, proper mounting and dismounting, proper mating of dual assemblies and proper alignment.”

Perhaps just as important as knowing what to do is knowing what not to do—avoiding certain pitfalls can ensure that a tire is not losing life unnecessarily. Chief among these issues to watch is proper air pressure. Hankook’s Ward describes air pressure as the “number one cause” of tire failure.

“Maintaining correct inflation levels is the single most important maintenance practice that a fleet can employ to help ensure casing retreadability,” Goodyear’s Buckham said. “Underinflation can be particularly detrimental to casings, as this condition causes casings to flex as they roll under loads, which can result in heat build-up. Underinflation also hurts fuel economy since underinflated tires force truck engines to work harder.”

“For every 10 PSI of underinflation, fleets will spend 1% more on fuel and experience faster and more irregular tire wear,” Naumann detailed.

Every fleet needs a tire program that includes air inflation standards with regular inspections using a calibrated air gauge and metal valve caps. Continental Tire also offers a ContiPressure Check System, Naumann noted, which automatically measures tire inflation pressure using sensors inside the tire that send data to a display in the driver’s cab, so the driver can take corrective action.

Bandag’s Nye noted yet another threat to tire life: heat. “[Heat] is directly connected to mismanaged inflation pressures,” he explained. “Fleets should check each wheel position with an air gauge once daily, adjusting inflation pressure as needed. Mismatched duals and misalignment, which can cause tires to overheat or develop irregular wear, are other common preventable issues. Addressing potential issues with a trusted tire partner before they escalate will keep problems from compounding into bigger maintenance headaches.”

Let’s not forget the human factor. The driver can also have a big impact on how many miles a tire and its casing can achieve.

“The overall tread wear can be heavily influenced by how aggressively drivers brake, accelerate and turn,” Cooper Tire’s Schroeder explained. “Proper use of brakes can help prevent brake skids on the tires, and ensuring that a wide enough turning radius is allowed to reduce potential damage from curbing or dragging a trailer tire sideways are just two examples of the impact a driver can have on the tire life.”

Casing credits and warranties

Continental retread

If a fleet chooses not to retread its tires or has excess casings, the fleet can trade them in at their local retreader for a casing credit, which is the fair market value for that casing. Casing value is typically determined by tire brand, the number of retreads or repairs it has had, the general condition of the tire, and availability of casings in that tire size.

“Casing credits would help lower the cost of a tire program,” Continental’s Naumann said. “It is a peace of mind that if something happens to the tire, it is backed up in writing from the manufacturer.”

Bandag’s Nye, on the other hand, advised fleets to avoid utilizing casing credits.

“As a rule, fleets should strive to maximize casing assets by retreading rather than trading them in for casing credits,” he said. “Fleets can realize greater savings by utilizing worn originals to extend their lives multiple times and maximize the overall investment. By prematurely exchanging their tire casings for credits, fleets often forfeit much of that investment.”

Casing and tire warranties are also available, both for original tires and for retreads. Be sure to check with your tire maker for details, as warranties vary from tire to tire and can change depending upon whether an authorized retreader was employed.

A friend on the road

In recent years, several tire makers have instituted service programs that provide help to customers who have tire issues on the roadside, maximizing the truck’s uptime in a difficult situation.

Goodyear’s 24/7 Emergency Roadside Service Program, which is offered through the Goodyear-FleetHQ suite of business solutions, has helped more than 1.1. million trucks return to service, according to Buckham.

“The Goodyear Smart Tech App also is helping to reduce roll-times by streamlining and expediting the emergency road service process,” he added. “Another helpful factor is the vast size of Goodyear’s tire and service network. This enables Goodyear to serve fleets with timely casing pick-up and finished retread deliveries.”

For over-the-road fleets, Continental offers a 24/7 Emergency Road Service Program called TruckFix. This free service for all Continental commercial tire national account customers handles breakdowns through a network of over 1,000 commercial tire dealers and service outlets. The emergency road service offering recently expanded to include light mechanical work and towing in addition to existing emergency tire services. Fleets and drivers in need of assistance can call the TrukFix toll-free hotline, or contact the service on the Truck Tire Dealer Locator App and be directed to an approved Continental dealer or service outlet.

Michelin’s Tire Case Tire Monitoring Program is overseen by trained Michelin Commercial Service Network technicians who employ state-of-the-art equipment that captures truck tire data electronically, nationwide. Fleet operators can use this data to maximize fleet uptime and control tire-related costs. The program promises to benefit fleets by reducing road service calls, improving CSA scores, maximizing fuel economy and increasing tire mileage. All of the maintenance data captured through the national network is made available to fleets in real-time via direct integration with their asset maintenance system.

Bridgestone’s National Fleet Program provides emergency road service through the Bridgestone Everywhere Network. The program also deploys the Bridgestone Commercial Market Team to analyze and recommend service options for fleets, including custom service programs. There are no start-up costs or annual fees for the program, which is offered at more than 2,500 Bridgestone, Firestone and Bandag dealers and service providers in North America.

Cooper Tire introduced its Roadmaster Fleet Service Network last year. The program offers 24/7 emergency roadside tire replacement and repair for eligible commercial trucking fleets that are part of the Roadmaster national account program.

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