TAMPA, Fla. – Don’t be alarmed if you hear loud bangs ringing from the hills of Pennsylvania this spring.
The Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) is attempting to determine how tires should be tested for potential “zipper failures” that are typically linked to damage caused by low inflation levels. And the group will be blowing up weak tires at the Alcoa Wheel Service Centre to gather the data needed to set new installation standards.
“It (the sidewall) gets so weak, when the tire is inflated again… it will blow out, and the blow-out looks just like a zipper,” tire expert Peggy Fischer said, explaining the failures.
To ensure under-inflated tires can be put back into service, the Rubber Manufacturers Association and TMC has recommended over-inflating questionable tires by 20 psi and holding the pressures for 20 minutes. After surveying TMC members, however, they found few fleets actually followed the practice.
“The only use this (Recommended Practice) 232 has is really for lawyers to use in a courtroom when a tire has blown out and somebody has been injured,” Fischer said. “It’s an arbitrary thing. It came out of somebody’s ear…there’s no data to support it.”
Compounding matters is the fact that it isn’t practical to follow the process in a shop that mounts and demounts 100 tires a day.
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