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Five things drivers can do to improve tire life

1. Maintain proper tire inflation pressure.

This is the No. 1 maintenance issue facing fleets today, regardless of the season. Underinflation leads to increased tire deflection, which leads to increased heat. Heat is a tire’s worst enemy. Low inflation leads to reduced tire miles, reduced retreadability, poor fuel economy and even an increase in the number of punctures. Check your tires at least weekly with a calibrated air pressure gauge.

2. Fingertip diagnostics.

Running your hand across the tread surface can identify alignment-related wear conditions. For example, if you run your hand across the tread surface and you feel a “stepped” wear pattern (not smooth), you probably have a vehicle toe-in condition. Catching alignment wear conditions early will allow the truck to be corrected so the tire can still achieve high removal miles. A Goodyear dealer can professionally check your alignment.

3. Visual tire inspection.

Look for signs of sidewall damage and tread area punctures.

4. Train drivers and mechanics in Tires101.

Work with your tire professional, who can conduct seminars on basic tire maintenance. Once drivers understand that tires are the highest fleet cost next to fuel, tires become a lot more important. Anything you can do to protect that investment is critical.

5. Don’t exceed tread depth standards.

Depending on your specific service vocation, make sure your fleet does not exceed removal tread depth standards. If you see a significant amount of off-road service, you may be best served to ensure you have enough remaining rubber before retreading to make sure the casing is protected against stone damage and stone drilling.

Article provided by: This great article originally appeared in a slightly different form in Commercial Tire Systems, Summer 2002 and is reprinted with permission.

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