5 'Little' Ways Dealers Can Help Fleets - Tire Review Magazine

5 ‘Little’ Ways Dealers Can Help Fleets

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a good program better, even great. However, some little things can haunt fleets unexpectedly, creating disabling problems that can be elusive to diagnose and difficult to correct.

We tire people tend to focus on the big issues – proper tire selection, application, and maintenance, with inflation pressure checks dominating in-service recommendations. This sage advice deserves top billing in all fleet tire programs.

Still, the reality is that the basics – the smaller and sometimes more subtle considerations – are just as important. Overlay this with our time-squeezed work schedules, and the little things sometimes get forgotten.

Worse yet, some may never become known in the first place, as detailed, hands-on training programs are replaced by self-paced Internet-accessed material with no teacher-student interaction.

Here, we’ll discuss five lesser-known truck tire issues that should be included in every commercial tire dealer’s knowledge base. These ‘little’ problems, though encountered less frequently, can wreak havoc if ignored.

1. Tire Inspection on New Vehicle Deliveries

Although most new vehicles arrive with tires properly mounted and undamaged, all tires should still be inspected before placing them in service. A quick check of the GG ring (a molded circumferential ring in the tire sidewall) just above the rim flange will confirm the tire is mounted concentrically onto the rim. Improper or no mounting lube is the most common cause of problems here.

It’s also prudent to check visually the entire tread circumference for distorted or spongy areas. Contact with petroleum, overheating from chassis dynamometer testing and overinflation/high-speed damage during delivery are all potential causes of these problems. Cuts, snags and tear damage can also be quickly spotted by visual checks.

2. Storing Tires On and Off Vehicles

Unmounted tires should be kept indoors or at least in a shaded area, which is dry, clean and away from ozone sources, such as electric motors. They should also be racked vertically or stacked in a way that avoids deformation of the tread area. A good rule of thumb is to avoid pipe stacking tires more than eight high if they are stored horizontally.

Tires mounted on vehicles should be relieved of loading or rotated periodically to avoid localized tread and sidewall deflection for extended times. Exposure to sunlight should be minimized by covering the tires or parking trucks in an east-west direction so the tires are not susceptible to lengthy sun exposure. In all cases, contact with petroleum products (including asphalt) should be avoided when storing tires. The interior of all unmounted tires should be checked to ensure the absence of dirt or other debris prior to mounting. The use of filtered valve cores is recommended to avoid trapping any foreign material in the critical valve-sealing area.

3. Cleaning Tires

Truck tires, once mounted, can be cleaned for cosmetic reasons, although most manufacturers agree that dirt doesn’t adversely affect performance. Soap and water is a preferred cleaning assist. Harsh chemicals, especially any that are petroleum based, should be avoided.

Normal weathering and resistance to airborne chemicals is addressed by antioxidants and antiozone additives in modern sidewall and tread compounds, so tire dressings and chemical protectants are generally unnecessary. Mild steam cleaning is acceptable, but high temperatures and pressures, such as those often used for degreasing mechanical components, must be avoided. Tires can actually be burned or punctured by some steam-cleaning setups.

4. Emergency Puncture/Leak Repairs

Puncture repairs should preferably be made by reputable shops or retreading facilities and consist of a plug in the puncture opening, combined with a patch in the tire interior. All emergency over-the-road repairs made by unknown vendors and all rope-type repairs should be checked and corrected by dismounting, inspecting and properly repairing the tire as soon as possible.

Aerosol sealants containing petroleum or propellants of unknown chemistry should never be used and, therefore, should be removed from tires as soon as possible if they have been installed by mistake.

5. Hidden Tire and Wheel Damage

Often, tire and wheel damage is not visually apparent. Detection requires dismounting and careful inspection. Two events trigger most cases of damage – wrecks or axle-end overheating due to brake or bearing problems.

Tire beads burned from overheating brakes can lose their structural function and must be scrapped. Steel wheels can become bent, distorted or otherwise damaged, and alloy wheels can be distorted from excessive heat, especially in the critical bead-seating area. Thorough tire and wheel inspections, using criteria obtained from component suppliers, should be a mandatory part of collision repair and brake/bearing overheat repairs.

Training programs offered by tire and wheel manufacturers offer lots of valuable information on these and other topics. Also, ATA’s Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) offers several excellent reference publications designed to educate tire servicing personnel in accurately diagnosing and addressing many of these important tire and wheel conditions.

You May Also Like

Training and Technology Will Lead the Way in OTR Tires

When we look at how OTR tires keep up with innovations in equipment, it’s all about maximizing productivity.

Yokohama-construction-tires-OTR

After two years of probably the strangest logistics we've lived through—and a roller coaster ride of an economy—the OTR tire market is surprisingly robust. The construction industry has slowed down slightly, and there's a lot of talk about a recession, but so far, we haven't seen a lot of publicly or privately funded projects pull back, and quarries and mines are running hard. All that activity is good for the tire industry.

Last-Mile Delivery Tires Set to Outpace Long-Haul Tire Volumes

Prior to the pandemic, the last-mile delivery (LMD) market was booming. So, when COVID-19 hit, and newly-homebound consumers placed even more online orders — retailers like Amazon shortened delivery times to two days, one day, or even same-day services — and the segment exploded. Related Articles – Maxam Tire Completes Core Size Range for Agrixtra

Ford-E-Transit
Global Tire Manufacturer Ralson Enters US TBR Market

Global tire manufacturer Ralson is entering the U.S. commercial tire market with a new medium/heavy truck tire manufacturing facility and a team of veteran American sales and marketing tire professionals. Ralson debuted its products for the US with its American team at the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Related Articles – Hankook Tire Launches

Michelin Releases Agilis HD Z as New Urban and Regional Tire

Michelin North America has released the Michelin Agilis HD Z 19.5 in two sizes to offer fleets with light and medium-duty vehicles durable, long-lasting tires optimized for the stresses of urban and regional environments. The Agilis HD Z 19.5-in. tires will replace the Michelin XZE in two current sizes (225/70R19.5 LRG and 245/70R19.5 LRH) in

Michelin-Agilis-HD-Z-Tire
Yokohama Tire Launches the 716U UWB Regional Drive Tire

Yokohama Tire’s newest commercial tire – the 716U ultra wide-base – is a weight-savings drive tire that carries more profitability for fleets, the company says. It is available now in the US in size 455/55R225. Related Articles – Vredestein Launches New Pinza H/T in US – Goodyear Adds Wrangler HT Tire to Light Truck Lineup

Yokohama-Tire-716U-UWB-Sidewall

Other Posts

Continental Debuts Enthusiast-Driven ExtremeContact Sport 02

From timed autocross laps to drifting on a skid pad and mastering knee-jerk braking and turns on a raceway, dealers, influencers and members of the media were treated to a crash course in performance racing while testing out Continental’s newest UHP summer tire, the ExtremeContact Sport 02. Related Articles – BKT Tires Launches Agrimaxfactor Tire

Conti-extremecontact-02-closeup
BKT Tires Launches Agrimaxfactor Tire For Tractors

BKT has launched the Agrimaxfactor, a new tire series for tractors for transport and soil tillage operations. Related Articles – Continental Tire Launches ExtremeContact Sport02 – BKT Launches EM 933 Super Excavating Tire – Kenda Unveils Vezda Touring 4S, its First ‘Four-Season’ Offering The company says it developed the series in response to the request

BKT_AGRIMAXFACTOR_Field
Michelin’s Enviro System Unveils Tire with 58% Sustainable Materials

Michelin says its subsidiary Scandinavian Enviro Systems is the first tire manufacturer in the world to unveil tires with a high proportion of environmentally sustainable materials that have been approved for use on ordinary road vehicles. These include tires for buses and cars containing recovered carbon black from Enviro, among other materials. Related Articles –

Michelin-Enviro-Tire
Cooper Unveils Largest Tire in its Discoverer Rugged Trek Line

At the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company unveiled the biggest tires yet in its Cooper Discoverer Rugged Trek tire line. Designed for lifted pickup trucks, these all-new, large-sized tires feature signature Cooper Knife-Edge and Mountain Pass customizable sidewall designs and will be available to consumers in early 2023.