Maintaining correct inflation yields a variety of benefits.
By Nick Davis
Tires are one of the biggest expenses that drive up a waste haul fleet’s operating costs. Fortunately, fleet managers can optimize tire life and performance and get the most out of their tire investment simply by maintaining correct tire pressure.
Proper Inflation Can Boost Performance
We recommend that fleet managers make it a daily practice to check tire inflation. Although a quick regular pressure check requires minimal time and effort, this basic maintenance can have a significant impact on overall fleet maintenance costs, including:
• Longer tread wear: Consistent, correct inflation positively impacts tire tread wear. Both over inflation and under inflation can change a tire’s “footprint” on the road and may cause irregular and accelerated tread wear. Under inflation can cause irregular wear patterns, such as flat spotting, diagonal wear, heel/toe wear and cupping. Over inflation can cause heel and toe wear and fast shoulder wear.
• Extended casing life: Proper inflation can protect the casing’s durability. Under inflation causes tires to flex more, generating excessive heat that can weaken the casing to the point of failure. Over inflation increases the tire’s susceptibility to impact breaks, punctures and cutting.
• Better fuel economy: Under inflated tires can force a vehicle’s engine to work harder, which can impact overall fuel economy for the vehicle.
• Early identification of issues: With the numerous road hazards and debris that waste haul tires are subjected to each day, regular tire inflation checks can help to quickly identify—and correct—tire punctures and damage.
The Right Way to Check Tire Inflation
Knowing the proper inflation level is the first—and most important—step in optimizing tire performance. Tires are engineered to run at specific inflation levels based on the load they carry.1 To determine proper load and tire inflation levels for your fleet, consult your tire manufacturer.
When checking tire inflation, bear in mind that temperature and operating speed can also play a role:
1. Check inflation when tires are ‘cool’: Tires are at their coolest temperature when at rest; therefore, inflation levels should be checked and set to the proper levels at the beginning of each shift, before the day’s driving begins. Once the vehicle is in motion, the tires will build heat, causing inflation levels to increase. However, this increased pressure does not need to be released from the tire, as it will gradually return to the proper level—dropping approximately 1 pound for every 10-degree decrease—once the vehicle is at rest again.
2. Stick to the prescribed operating speed: For maximum durability, truck operating speed should not exceed the maximum recommended speed stamped on the sidewall of the tire.
Additional Considerations for Optimal Tire Performance
In addition to performing regular tire maintenance, there are a couple of other cost- and time-saving solutions fleet managers should consider investing in:
1. Puncture-resistant tires: For tires frequently exposed to road debris, fleet managers should consider opting for a tire with puncture resistant technology, which seals tread punctures up to one-quarter of an inch in the tread area.
2. Tire management programs: Fleet managers may also want to consider investing in a tire management program that can provide timely and accurate tire data—like inflation levels and tread depth—to track tire performance and triage issues. Tire management solutions like Goodyear’s Tire Optix can also provide password-protected, cloud-based data storage and instant reporting for fleets.
By following the suggested recommended practices and maintenance, managers can optimize tire life and performance, ultimately impacting efficiency and costs. | WA
Nick Davis, a Senior Product Marketing Manager for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Akron, OH), has more than 10 years of experience in the commercial tire industry. He currently manages product marketing for Goodyear’s Mixed Service Commercial and Global OTR portfolios, where he draws on his prior experience partnering with fleets to optimize their spending by employing Goodyear’s innovative products and solutions. Nick can be reached at [email protected].
1. Example: the 315/80R22.5 Goodyear Endurance WHA in a Load Range L requires 130 psi to cover the 20,000-pound maximum load on most waste haul truck steer axles.