Tire pressure, or a lack thereof, can be a significant driver of overall fuel consumption. In fact, research from NACFE reveals that a 0.5-1.0% increase in fuel consumption is seen in vehicles running with tires underinflated by just 10 PSI. It is important to note the council also found about one in five trailers are operating with at least one tire underinflated by 20 psi or more.
As fuel costs rise and customer demands increase, the impact of underinflation extends beyond just the vehicle’s fuel economy. It places an increasingly significant strain on the truck’s engine, components, and tires, making it a crucial metric to monitor closely.
The continuous utilization of under inflated tires can result in an ongoing cycle of expenses related to repairs, maintenance, and significant downtime.
Double Coin has curated a list of its top five invaluable tips to help you combat these issues, navigate the increasing fuel costs and establish best practices with an improved customer ROI.
Take your tires as seriously as you take your engine
When ranked in importance, the diesel engine is commonly the No. 1 component, and while it should stay there, your tires also play a significant role in fleet operations and should be treated with equal priority. They are the only part of the vehicle that makes direct contact with the asphalt and deserve the same amount of attention and care. Double Coin experts recommend establishing guidelines and standard best practices reflected in information provided by ATA’s Technology and Maintenance Council. Additionally, incorporating tire tracking software allows for the identification of patterns, recurring issues that can be avoided through preventative maintenance practices.
Preventative maintenance should be proactive maintenance
Speaking of preventative maintenance, it is not enough to simply solve a problem once it pops up. A consistent preventative maintenance schedule should ensure all components of the vehicle are running at optimal performance. Instead of spending extra effort, downtime and money putting out fires as they appear, inspect tires daily for any damage and monitor air pressure regularly. Additionally, Double Coin recommends regular alignment checks to ensure total vehicle alignment, which is crucial for getting maximum service life out of tires and alignment related components. The frequency of these checks is dependent on factors such as duty cycle, miles driven and driver behavior.
Drifting: Good for the race track, not the highway
When a vehicle’s axles, truck and trailer are no longer perpendicular to the vehicle’s frame, this is considered improper alignment and causes the truck to pull to the left or right—in this case, the driver will have to counter steer to stay within the respective lane. Not only does this cause increased work for the driver, leading to driver fatigue, it takes a toll on overall tire performance through increased, uneven wear and contributes to poor fuel mileage. Double Coin experts recommend fifth wheel maintenance practices be implemented into standard maintenance procedures, which includes regular greasing, especially where multiple connections occur.
Tire inflation: A continuing education
Through extensive and on-going driver and technician training, many problems that occur from improper tire inflation and alignment can be mitigated and easily corrected. Double Coin states one of the most beneficial practices is to implement a pre- and post-trip inspections, which will ensure each tire is rolling at the proper PSI.
The tire maintenance balancing act starts at the beginning
When it comes to your vehicle’s wheels, perfect balance starts with initial installation. This means that each wheel should be cleaned and inspected upon tire mounting. The next steps include inflating each tire to 5 PSI horizontally to achieve the proper concentric bead seating and completing the inflation process within a safety cage. For more tips on how to keep your fleet rolling in the right direction, visit Double Coin or download the Double Coin App.