On the Move
Taking care of your tires is as easy as counting to 10.
While you probably perform maintenance checks on your equipment (daily inspection of the oil and filter, for example), you may be overlooking one of the most important parts of your fleet: the tires. A regular maintenance program for tires is just as important as engine maintenance. Without tires, most of your equipment is useless. So if you’re not currently checking tires as part of your regular maintenance routine, start by using the following tips to ensure that your tires operate at peak levels throughout the season. Keep in mind that the key to good maintenance is checking tires regularly. Developing a schedule for routine maintenance reduces downtime, eliminates preventable major repairs, improves operating efficiency and promotes higher levels of productivity. Simply translated, 10 simple steps can save you considerable time and money.
Conduct a visual inspection of your vehicle’s tires prior to operation. Look for signs of irregular wear in the tread or shoulder of the tire, and examine the tire for bubbles or bumps caused by air infiltration or foreign objects. If you notice either of these symptoms, have the tire repaired promptly because both can lead to tire failure and potential danger.
If you notice deep cracks, cuts or other major problems during the inspection, don’t operate the vehicle. Have a trained service person diagnose the severity of the problem and make the proper repairs. Never allow an unskilled person to attempt repairs, because incorrectly mended tires can lead to performance problems in the future, or even result in personal injury if the tire fails.
Check tires for correct air pressures. Perform this step daily on vehicles in constant use because air pressure is critical to a tire’s performance. Check air pressure weekly on vehicles with less demanding schedules.
Check the vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine precise air pressure required for its tires. The manual should provide initial data on the weight of the vehicle and standard load. Your tire distributor can help you pinpoint the exact air pressure recommendations for your tires based on the manufacturer’s requirements and the application in which you are using the vehicle.
Never operate a vehicle that has flat tires, damaged or distorted rims or wheels, missing bolts or cracked studs. Any of these symptoms could be dangerous.
Never weld or apply heat to parts of the wheel near the tire. Heat causes serious damage to tires and can even cause them to explode. You should always remove tires before conducting these types of procedures.
Store tires properly when you are not using them. Place them in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight to avoid premature aging. Also, prevent exposing them to ozone sources such as sun, arc-welders and mercury vapor light bulbs, as well as ultra-violet rays and inclement weather. Store tires standing upright on the tread and avoid stacking, which can weaken the tires on the bottom of the stack.
Avoid lifting tires through the center with a crane hook, because this can damage the critical bead area. Instead, lift the tire under the tread by using flat straps. Flat straps are recommended over steel slings or chains because they will not cause cuts or abrasions.
Deflate the inner and outer tires of a twin fitment before removing any rim fixture from the hub of the vehicle.
Avoid mixing tires on your vehicle. For example, you should avoid pairing a normal-tread depth with a deep-tread depth or a bias-ply tire with a radial. Using two different types of tires could cause damage to the vehicle’s internal components because the tires do not work together to provide the same traction and handling performance.
Tire maintenance impacts the entire job site by keeping fleets operating at maximum efficiency. By following these 10 simple steps, your operation can take advantage of its tire investment and boost productivity levels.
Tomas Bennett is market segment manager of construction and quarries for Michelin.
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