“A tire scrap pile can be a gold mineof information,” says Guy Walenga, director of engineering for commercialproducts and technologies at Bridgestone Americas. “When you go through a scrappile and look at how tires have been treated, you will find ways to adjust yourtire choices or maintenance practices. Tires need to be utilized correctly toget their full value.”
“Instead of looking at the pile oftires as a nuisance to be discarded, consider the hidden treasure your companymay be throwing away,” says Tim Miller, commercial tire marketingcommunications manager at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. “In that pile of tiresis knowledge about what is right and, perhaps more importantly, what is wrongwith your tire program. With the information you gather, you can see trendsthat can guide you in making choices that have a positive effect.”
All truck tire manufacturers agree that effectively analyzing scrap tires canlead to improvements in tire life and lower costs. They also universally pointto the “Radial Tire Conditions Analysis Guide” published by the Technology& Maintenance Council as one of the best resources for fleets. “For failureanalysis and training for fleets, the TMC guide is a true aggregate ofinformation,” says Roger Stansbie, director of tire technology, commercialtires, at Continental Truck Tires USA. “It reflects the consensus of truckingcompanies and tire manufacturers.”
Now in its 4th edition, the TMC guide is reviewed and updated by manufacturersevery three years. Included are technical details on various tire failureconditions and their causes, along with photos of commonly seen wear andfailure conditions and recommended steps to resolve issues. TMC also offers a“Radial Tire and Disc Wheel Service Manual,” which is a compendium ofRecommended Practices associated with tires and wheel ends and addressescritical service procedures for radial tires and disc wheels used in medium-and heavy-duty commercial vehicle operations.
Some of the best resources for fleetsare also available from suppliers. “Dealers and tire manufacturers investsubstantial amounts of time and money to educate their people and theircustomers on lowering the overall cost of tires to the fleet,” says RickPhillips, director of commercial sales at Yokohama Tire Corp. “Understandingexactly why tires are coming out of service is certainly a big part of thateffort.”
Scrap analysis should be an integral part of a comprehensive tire managementprogram for every fleet, notes Doug Jones, customer engineering support managerat Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “The fleet should know and gather data onevery tire that comes out of service.”
Goodyear ‘s Miller recommends fleets analyze scrap tires in an organizedmanner, carefully collecting relevant data. “Going through a pile of scraptires should not be a one-person job,” he says. “It’s easier to have at leastone person to help move tires around and another to write and input tire data.The sales representative from a local tire dealer may agree to help with thistask.”
Data to be collected, according to Miller, can be managed easily on a simplespreadsheet. Included are tire brand and type, and a brief description of whythe tire has been discarded, such as even tread wear, which means it lasted itsexpected life, or irregular wear that caused it to be discarded prematurely. Ifretreading is part of a fleet’s tire program, retread and date codes brandedinto the sidewall of the tires should be noted.
Effective analyses of scrap tires also point out what all manufacturers agreeare the most common causes of tire failures. “The number one issue related totire failures is air pressure maintenance,” says Walter Weller, vice presidentof Double Coin Tires. “A comprehensive air pressure maintenance program willreduce downtime and expensive emergency road calls. It is important that fleetmaintenance include air pressure maintenance for tires as a function ofdrivers, as well as maintenance staffs, for both tractors and trailers.
“Another strategy is to use the services of a tire dealer to perform yardchecks on a regular basis,” Weller adds. “Of course there will be a cost forthis service, but it will pay for itself quickly if it reduces road calls anddowntime, not to mention the extended tire life that will come from better airpressure maintenance. Managing tires is a numbers game and the benefits can addup quickly.”
Clint Covey, engineer of truck and bus tires at Hankook Tire America Corp.,says that along with proper inflation, using the correct tire for theapplication, match-mounting tires and wheels, dynamic balancing and correctvehicle alignment all have a significant impact on tire life and costs. “Inaddition to promoting better fuel economy and longer wear,” he adds, “properinflation can also prevent more serious occurrences. Underinflated tiresgenerate a great deal of heat, which can degrade the rubber components of thetire, leading to a number of possible serious failures. The necessity of properinflation cannot be stressed enough.”
Performing as designed
“Under or overinflated,” says Continental’s Stansbie, “tires can’t perform asdesigned. Tires are engineered to have a certain amount of deflection based oninflation pressure and load. If that is changed, the tire’s footprint changes;more movement can lead to more irregular wear or a too high pressure can pushstones into grooves and damage the casing, making the tire unfit forretreading.”
Bridgestone’s Walenga points out the importance of vehicle alignment inmaintaining tire life. “Alignment should be part of the maintenance process,”he says. “Don’t wait until the tire shows an issue. Done properly, an alignmentcan last a long time.
“It is also important to pay attention to tire and wheel mounting techniques,”Walenga continues. “If a tire is not mounted concentrically on a wheel, usingguide rings to see that the bead is set properly on both sides, and the wheelis not mounted properly to the axle end, tire life will be affected. Propermounting is part of getting the best life out of a tire.”
Jones at Michelin points out other issues that can impact tire life. “Puncturescause failures,” he says, “so fleet yards, shops and staging areas should bekept clean and free of nails, screws, bolts and other debris that could cause apuncture. In addition, fleets should address any driver abuse and conducttraining to help avoid curbing, excessive hard braking, brake lock and hardturning in locked positions.”
“The reasons for tire failure will vary depending on the application andvocation of the fleet,” states Yokohama’s Phillips. “The good news is that themajority of tire failures are preventable. A good proactive maintenance programwill catch potential problems in the shop before they become real problems onthe road.”
Tires are valuable assets. The information that tires in the scrap pile revealscan save fleets a lot of money in the long run. An effective tire maintenanceprogram can help avoid mistakes and result in reduced tire costs.