Tyres form a significant portion of the operating costs of a fleet, and paying attention to tyre safety can potentially save both money and lives.
According to Toshifumi Yuze, senior general manager of the Technical Service Department at Sumitomo Rubber Middle East, fleet managers can potentially cut back on tyre-related costs by following the three tips below.
1. Maintain proper tyre pressure.
A tyre does not carry load by itself; it is the air inside the tyre that does. Without proper inflation pressure, the tyre cannot carry out any of its functions efficiently. Driving on tyres with improper pressure may result in reduced tyre life, irregular wear, and destruction of the tyre casing, which could lead to accidents.
Correct inflation pressure is paramount. Over-inflation causes the tyre to be more susceptible to impact damage and in extreme cases, may result in rim deformation or even a tyre burst. Meanwhile, under-inflation causes over-heating and can greatly shorten the life of a tyre. It reduces road holding and can cause irregular wear and internal damage. In general, the tyres for trucks and buses must be inflated according to the load they carry.
2. Do not overload or over-speed.
Overloading or exceeding the speed capability of a tyre causes excessive heat build-up, which may lead to tyre breakup. All tyres will wear out faster when subjected to high speeds, hard cornering, rapid starts, sudden stops and frequent driving, [particularly] on surfaces that are in poor condition.
Surfaces with holes and rocks or other objects can damage tyres and cause vehicle misalignment. When you drive on such surfaces, drive on them carefully and slowly, and before driving at normal or highway speeds, examine your tyres for any damage, such as cuts or penetrations.
3. Carry out periodic visual inspections of tyres.
Visual inspection will help to identify conditions and correct them. The tyres on a vehicle should be examined regularly with particular attention being paid to the tread for evidence of abnormal wear, cuts, localised deformities and foreign bodies (grit, nails, and so on); to the sidewalls for cuts, cracks, impact damage, abrasion and localised deformities; and to the bead/rim flange region for signs of chafing, rim damage, misfitment. In case of any such damage, the tyre must be checked by a specialist.