Fleet Manager Series - The tyre article
Posted: 11/11/2011 By:
Rory Deegan - Online Marketing Coordinator
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“Ok today we’re going to talk to you about tyres, the presentation is 40 minutes long and we have tea, coffee and pastries for you guys”. Those were the words of a supplier of ours who was showing us his company’s new tyre range. I remember thinking that 40 minutes was a hell of a lot of time to talk about tyres, I mean how much can be said about black rubber circles? How wrong I was. I left the meeting convinced that there must be hundreds of fleet managers who are wrongly weighting tyre selection and management decisions. With all this in mind I decided to write up an article on the subject which could help fleet managers appreciate the importance of good tyre management and also offer some advice on the subject itself.
- Conduct monthly pressure and tread depth checks – as often as this is said it still remains that drivers (especially when they do not own the car) don’t tend to carry out this work. It may be an idea to conduct this work yourself (as the fleet manager) to ensure consistency.
- When buying tyres remember to consider roll resistance, expected lifetime, tyre width and online reviews and comments. (caution: Tyre manufacturers regularly change tread patterns)
- Try to understand the company wide average life cycle – this can really help when making future purchase decisions, particularly in finding the right tyres for the right vehicles in your circumstances. It can also help you budget and forecast major tyre purchases.
- Remember to have a number of different preferences for tyres as not all tyres can be carried by repair/service centres – not having a second, third or even forth option can really hinder consistency as on occasion a very poor tyre can be chosen for lack of a well researched alternative.
- Be aware of the different roles of your vehicles and remember to match the tyre type to the vehicle use (I am talking mostly about off road vehicles here).
- Rotate tyres – done every 6 months this can really help smooth out the differences in wear which arise due to front wheel drives as well as slight variances between the centre and left hand side of the road (there is usually a very slight curve).
Trends and other key points
- The ascent of the eco-tyre – these new tyres boast long life and low roll resistance which is a positive for everyone out there who is looking for fuel savings.
- The growing popularity of the low profile tyre – these stylish looking tyres can improve breaking times and grip, however they can also cost more.
- Loads and tyre pressure – in trucks and vans which constantly carry a specific load (tools and materials) the tyre pressure may need to be adjusted, so always refer to the manufacturers guidelines (on the sidewall of the tyre) on this as a mismatch can lead to faster wear.
- Front wheel drives and wear – front wheel drives usually lead to the front tyres wearing much quicker than the back tyres (2-2.5 times faster) so be aware of this when rotating tyres and planning for replacements.
- Beware of the space saver tyre – these can usually only operate at speeds of up to 80kmph and as such they are not the greatest backup when covering long distances. Think long and hard about this fact and remember tyre replacement is very difficult on Sundays in the middle of nowhere.
For most fleet managers tyre management is an important part of their overall maintenance plan. However it is questionable as to whether or not it is allocated an appropriate amount in comparison to something like fuel management or servicing. Like with most maintenance issues, the main thing is to keep drivers safe, costs down and plan for problems; once these elements are covered and you, as the fleet manager, are aware of the different elements, you’ll have nothing more to worry about.
What problems do you have with tyre management?
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