Tire tips that pay off

by James Menzies

Shadwin Trucking in Lloydminster, Sask. spends about $200,000 a year on tires, so it has paid close attention to where it can reduce costs. The company moves oil, water and other fluids to and from oil and gas sites. The company pulls tires before they will need to be replaced in the field.

“We try not to let them wear down to anywhere near the cords, or even the wear bars,” says Craig Bell, maintenance consultant. “We take them off and send them out for recapping.

The company runs virgin tires on its highway trucks and recaps on off-road vehicles. “A recap costs $180 – chuck it in the bushes – as opposed to $500 for a virgin tire,” adds Harry Martens, president of Shadwin.

The company also keeps tires “clean and full of air.” Bell advises: “Get the mud and snow off the tires. They have to run in balance.”

Tire pressures are checked once a week. The company also has solved the problem of brakes freezing up, dragging – and killing – tires, by switching to disc brakes.

“In three years we have replaced 35 tires off drum brakes, and a lot more skidded, but the driver caught them right away. We’ve lost zero tires off disc brakes,” Martens says.

For Brent McMackin, maintenance manager, Terra Nova Transport in Atlantic Canada, it comes down to regular tire inspections and being attentive.

“This boils down to the guys in the shop and their pride in their work. Every month they check the tire pressures rigorously. We inflate to the OE recommendation. All of our power equipment is Michelin,” he says. “It’s an automatic thing, (our mechanics) flicking rocks out of tire treads when they walk past the trucks.”

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