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How tire troubles lead to roadside breakdowns

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Jason Morgan is the editor of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 15 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

Tires are typically the cause of about 54% of roadside breakdowns, explained Jon Morrison, WABCO’s president for the Americas. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a report of a study it conducted that showed:

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  • Only 15% of tire-induced breakdowns occur as a result of a sudden damage; 85% of tire failures start with slow leaks.
  • Tire-related costs are the single largest maintenance cost item for commercial vehicle fleet operators. National average tire-related costs per tractor-trailer were about two cents per mile, or about $2,375 for an annual 125,000-mile operation.
  • For the average fleet operator in the United States, improper tire inflation increases the annual procurement costs for both new and retreaded tires by about 10% to 13%.
  • Improper tire inflation is responsible for about one road call per year per tractor-trailer combination due to weakened and worn tires.
  • Improper inflation increases total tire-related costs by approximately $600 to $800 annually per tractor-trailer combination.

The greater the rolling resistance of underinflated tires, the greater the decrease in fuel economy—not to mention the greater the increase in CO2 emissions. By ensuring the right tire pressure, WABCO OptiTire delivers fuel savings of up to 2% and a corresponding reduction of CO2 emissions, according to WABCO.

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Also, because an underinflated tire is more likely to suffer from sustained heat build-up and cause terminal damage to the body, solutions like WABCO OptiTire, for example, helps to maintain tire pressure at the recommended level and detect slow punctures early, which will maximize tire life and allow tires to be repaired rather than replaced.

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