Preventative Tire Maintenance Tips
One of the most important factors of commercial fleet performance and safety is where the rubber meets the road, but tire maintenance is often overlooked.
It’s important to get on board with regular tire inspections. Taking a few minutes to check your tires could save you hours of costly downtime.
Check Your Tire Inflation
Tires blowouts are dangerous, even fatal in some cases. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tire failures cause about 33,000 accidents each year.
Pre- and post-trip tire inspections should be conducted to check for warning signs of underinflation.
Those may include:
- Excessive or uneven tread wear, especially on the outside edge of the tire
- Sagging sidewalls
- Cracks on the upper sidewall or running from the shoulder to the bead
- Decreased fuel economy
A lack of maintenance often causes air leaks. Ensure your tire pressure is within the manufacturer’s specifications before you hit the road. You might also consider upgrading your valve stems as they may be the source of air leaks.
Automatic inflation systems are another option to keep your tires at the proper pressure. If tire inflation falls below the desired level, the system will pump the necessary amount of air to refill your tire quickly.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Importance of Commercial Truck Tire Program
Inspect Tread Depth
A lack of sufficient tread will make a serious dent in your commercial fleet’s performance. Low tread depth provides less traction, so you’ll likely have to brake harder, resulting in longer stopping distances and heat buildup in your brakes and tires.
Tires with low tread also lack height, so the tread block is closer to the road and more susceptible to punctures. During your routine inspection, look for any visible damage, including tears, cracks, blisters, bubbling and bulges.
Remember the required tread depth for commercial tires:
- Drive and trailer tires: No less than 2/32” tread
- Steer tires: No less than 4/32” tread
Keep Your Tires Clean
The rubber in commercial tires degrades over time. Exposure to ozone, road salt, brake dust, tar and dirt can accelerate that process. Even stored tires are at risk of drying and cracking.
Here are some tire cleaning tips to remember:
- Rinse them off: Spraying your tires down clears away harmful grime that deteriorates your tires.
- Give them a scrub: Dish soap is a handy option that effectively eliminates oily residue. Rinse the tire and keep washing until the water runs clear.
- Apply a tire conditioner: Completely coat the sidewall with your preferred tire conditioner. Tire dressings can prevent drying and cracking and improve the longevity of your assets.
Mind Your Driving Habits
Your preventative maintenance efforts won’t matter if you’re driving irresponsibly. So, be mindful of driving conditions before you hit the road.
Inclement weather impacts your ability to spot potholes and debris in the road. Give yourself ample braking time and distance, so you don’t expose your commercial tires to excessive wear and tear.
Bauer Built offers complete tire maintenance services for fleets of all sizes. Request service online today.Categories: Bauer Built Blog