TORONTO, Ont. — National Tire Safety Week runs next week in the US, to be followed shortly thereafter by the CVSA’s International Roadcheck North America-wide inspection blitz June 7-9.
The theme for this year’s International Roadcheck is tire safety and with tires expected to get some increased attention from enforcement agencies, suppliers have stepped up with some tips to help drivers manage their tires.
Set and maintain correct inflation pressure
Bridgestone notes tire pressures should be taken when cold, meaning before they are driven. Goodyear experts point out maintaining proper inflation pressure is the “single most effective practice that a fleet or driver can employ to impact tire wear, casing life and overall performance.”
Both over- and underinflation change a tire’s footprint, making it susceptible to irregular wear, possible loss of traction and excessive heat buildup. Goodyear recommends checking inflation pressures at least once a week.
Bendix points out underinflation by as little as 10% can reduce fuel economy by 1.5% and underinflation by 20% results in a 30% reduction in tire life, according to Technology & Maintenance Council research.
Watch your speed
Bridgestone notes that highway speed limits are increasing in many parts of the US, but your truck tires may not be rated to travel at those speeds. “Always abide by the tire’s maximum recommended speed, which may be lower than posted speed limits,” the company advises.
Tire companies remind drivers and maintenance managers to inspect tires for signs of problems. Goodyear says tires should be inspected for cuts, cracks, blisters, bulges and other issues, including unusual wear patterns such as cupping and feathering.
Keep your truck aligned
A regular alignment schedule can help prevent irregular tire wear, Goodyear notes. A traditional front-end alignment should be supplemented with a drive axle alignment. A correctly aligned truck will also produce optimum fuel economy, the company notes.
Don’t mismatch tires
Paired tires that have a diameter difference of greater than just one quarter of an inch can create scrubbing patterns for the smaller of the two tires, according to Goodyear. Bridgestone adds the proper tire size, load-carrying capacity and service type are all important considerations when fitting tires.
“Tires represent a significant investment for fleets and owner/operators,” said Brian Buckham, general manager, product marketing with Goodyear. “We encourage trucking operations of all sizes to incorporate the above practices into their tire maintenance programs, both now and throughout the year.”
Jon Intagliata, Bendix’s product manager for tire pressure monitoring systems, added “There’s really no such thing as taking too much care when it comes to a truck’s tires. So many aspects of safe vehicle operation – and, by extension, highway safety – depend on their maintenance and inspection.”