For many businesses, having a fleet is essential. Unfortunately, a fleet can also be very costly to run, but you might still be paying more than you should be paying. One factor that can contribute considerably to the cost of running a fleet is tire wear. This cost can be particularly high for business owners considering fleet vehicles tend to see a lot of use. However, you can take some fairly straightforward steps to help reduce this cost.
Here are our top 5 tips on what you can do to reduce the cost of tire wear and waste in your fleet
· Keep Tires Properly Inflated
Having improperly inflated tires is one of the biggest causes of unnecessary tire wear. Tires are designed to be inflated to a particular pressure and, if the pressure is not right, the tires’ performance can be affected. If the surface of the tire doesn’t meet with the road as well as it should and the tire will also undergo otherwise avoidable stresses. The tire can wear away too quickly and there’s even the chance of a blowout or other potentially serious issues.
Having properly inflated tires will also help improve your gas mileage. If the pressure in your tires deviates from the ideal pressure then your gas mileage can worsen by up to 3%. For every 1 psi drop in average pressure, gas mileage can be decreased by 0.2%. These numbers can become very significant when you have multiple vehicles on the road, often travelling long distances nearly every day of the week. Not only will you be saving on the cost of fuel, but you will also be saving on the cost of new tires and potential damage caused by accidents.
· Buy the Right Tires
It’s also very important to get the right tires for your vehicles. Tires need to be large enough and strong enough to be able to support the weight of the vehicle, and tires that are too small are likely to wear down too quickly under loads they were not designed to carry.
Other factors to take into account include the climate where you live and what kind of road surfaces your drivers are likely to be driving on. Also take into account that some tires are built for high-speed performance, while others are more suited for helping to transport heavy loads. When it comes to fleets, it’s often best to go for tires that are made for durability and efficiency rather than performance.
· Rotate Your Tires
Depending on how individual vehicles are being used at any one time, the weight of the vehicle and its load is likely to be distributed unevenly, causing tires to wear out at different rates. For example, a haul truck with 3 axels will have about 65% of the gross weight of the truck on its front tires when the truck is unloaded causing the front tires to wear more quickly than the others. When the truck is loaded, however, the weight is likely to be distributed more evenly, and wear will also become more even.
You should also take operational factors into account when it comes to tire inflation. The PSI noted on the sidewall of the tire is the maximum, but not necessarily the optimal pressure. Try and take account into how much load the truck is carrying and its journey, and have each tire inflated to the optimal level before the driver sets off.
· Ensure Proper Treads
Tires are made up of different layers, including the tread on the outside of the tire and the casing on the inside. The tread helps your tire to grip the surface of the road, while the casing provides support. If casings are in good condition then they can be retreaded or sold for casing credits. If your tread wears too thin, however, then the casing itself can be worn and you could end up losing the casing altogether.
Proper tire tread is also very important for safety. A tire with little tread is more prone to experiencing a blow-out which can be very dangerous indeed. There’s also a greater chance of aquaplaning, which happens when there is too little tread to channel excess water away from the road surface, meaning the tire loses contact with the road surface altogether. This can potentially cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle altogether.
· Educate Your Drivers
The more aggressive your drivers are, the faster the vehicles’ tires will wear down. Aggressive driving typically involves driving at high speeds, braking heavily, taking corners quickly, and mounting curbs. The increase in tire wear can be significant if your drivers are driving aggressively often. Another problem with aggressive driving is the safety aspect and accidents will become more likely. Aggressive driving can also be harmful to your company’s image as other road users are likely to be disapproving of such behavior.
It’s a good idea to educate your drivers on tire wear and road safety, but it can be difficult to supervise their driving habits. However, technology is available that will help you measure how fast your drivers are driving, how quickly they are going around corners, how hard they are breaking, and whether they are performing other unwelcome behaviors.
With this software installed, it will not only inform you of aggressive driving but will also act as a deterrent to prevent your drivers from driving aggressively in the first place. Decreasing aggressive driving will then improve tire wear, reduce accidents, and help protect your company’s image on the roads.
The good news is that adopting measures that decrease tire wear is not necessarily expensive. Most of the measures will involve educating your drivers and maintenance staff, and maybe investing in technology that will help drivers behave appropriately on the roads.
When it comes to tire inflation, SC05-SS and PNT PRO air machines are ideal solutions. The SCO5-SS air machine automatically inflates tires to within 0.5 PSI of the desired pressure and comes with an optional truck air compressor that makes it suitable for use on trucks and other heavy vehicles. The PNT PRO is an air machine that is ideally suited to fleet owners as it’s built to quickly and precisely inflate a large number of tires throughout the day. Both machines are designed to be quick and easy to use, making it much easier for you to check for proper tire inflation before your vehicles hit the road.
You might be spending a lot more on tire wear and tear than you need to and you might be surprised at just how much it is needlessly costing you. There is a range of solutions that will help you reduce the wear and tear of your tires and they are generally quite straightforward to implement.
Not only will these measures help reduce the wear and tear of your tires, but they can also help reduce maintenance and repair costs for the vehicles themselves. Accidents also become less likely, further saving on cost and inconvenience, while also helping to make the road safer for everybody. For a relatively low initial outlay, you can reap considerable benefits, making it worth your time to look into what you can do to reduce the wear and tear of your fleet’s tires.