After the recent Brazilian Grand Prix, the head of Pirelli motorsport, Mario Isola praised Red Bull and its leading driver Dutch F1 prodigy Max Verstappen for driving with a particularly smart tyre strategy using soft compound tyres and only one pitstop. Isola believed this tyre strategy would probably have led to victory for Verstappen had he not collided with rival Estaban Ocon. (source: GPBlog). Trailer tyre management strategy can also make a significant difference to driver safety and total cost of ownership for fleet managers. What is your trailer tyre management strategy?
There are several aspects of tyre management that fleet managers include in their tyre management strategies like tyre pressure, tyre selection, and smart tyre technologies all of which affect the total cost of truck and trailer ownership.
“Underinflation of tyres” was named as “the biggest issue in the industry,” by Sharon Cowart, product marketing director for Michelin Americas Truck Tires in FleetEquipmentMag. She also stated that it was the number one cause of “retiring” tyres before the end of their normal lifespan.
Underinflated tyres heat up and can cause the tyres to destroy themselves and their tread and lead to poor vehicle handling, lower fuel economy and a shorter lifespan than expected.
Conversely, overinflated tyres are also problematic. An overinflated tyre has a smaller area of the tyre in contact with the road surface. This reduces the grip of the tyre on the road and causes the tyre to wear down in an irregular way, thereby weakening it.(source:FleetEquipmentMag)
Maintain the correct tyre pressure
This is critical for several reasons:
- Safety– In 2017 Highways England, a UK government-owned company responsible for managing the UK’s motorways, investigated ways of using roadside-based technology to assess the condition of truck and trailer tyres as they drove past and identify those likely to cause breakdowns or accidents. Highways England instigated this research because approximately 1 in 12 truck tyres is underinflated to a dangerous level and tyre-related issues caused 120 serious injuries and eight deaths in 2016.(source: Motor1)
- Cost of tyre ownership– According to a report by the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Associations, a 20% under-inflation in a commercial vehicle tyre will increase tread wear by 25% and reduce the tyre lifespan by 30%. This results in significant increase in tyre costs for a fleet. Under-inflation by 10 PSI reduces fuel economy by 1%.
As tyres drive along a road, they rotate and flex outwards and away from the road’s surface, causing energy loss. The amount of energy lost depends on the tyres’ rolling resistance. The most energy efficient tyres have a low rolling resistance. This means less energy – and less fuel – is needed to move the vehicle. According to the EU, tyres account for 20 to 30% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption. Fuel efficiency is a key consideration when selecting tyres.
The EU facilitates tyre selection with its EU Tyre Label scheme which rates tyres for fuel efficiency/rolling resistance, wet grip and exterior noise.
However, there is a trade-off because low rolling resistance tyres have less tread and a shorter material lifecycle than a conventional tyre. (source: Transport Topics)
The right tyres for purpose
Fleet managers need to choose the right size of tyres for their trucks and trailers and the loads that they carry. Fleets delivering on shorter routes with many delivery points might select tyres that offer high mileage whilst those covering longer distances might consider more fuel- efficient tyres.
Managing the tyre lifecycle
All tyres have a finite lifecycle. Good maintenance practices will delay the need to replace them. It is then up to the fleet manager to weigh up the benefits of buying new tyres compared to retreaded and regrooved tyres. Most tyre manufacturers offer approved retreaded tyre programmes.
Terry Salter, Bridgestone UK’s Retread Development Manager said “A new truck tyre weighs 65kg to 70kg but a retread only requires 20kg of fresh raw material before it can go back into service. … That’s a big saving.” It takes 83 litres of oil to manufacture a new tyre compared to just 26 litres for a retread. (source: SMMT)
Smart tyre technology
There are an increasing number of smart tyre technologies to assist fleet managers with remote tyre monitoring and maintenance. Many include a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag. An RFID tag is a sensor integrated into the tyre for monitoring factors such as tyre pressure and temperatures. These sensors can measure the depth and wear of tread on tyres or track their location. These technologies equip the fleet manager and driver to take corrective action and maximise trailer uptime. (source: Transport Topics)
TIP tyre experience and expertise
Our experience in maintaining trailers for 50 years gives TIP extensive tyre expertise. Drivers can bring their trailers and trucks in for tyre maintenance and repair at one of TIP’s network of 84 workshops across Europe. Otherwise, one of TIP’s fleet of mobile service unit vans can come to your assistance onsite. Each van has a fully qualified and certified mechanic on board with a wide array of diagnostic and workshop equipment and tools to help you find a solution to your tyre and other mechanical issues. TIP can provide you with a flexible tyre service.
TIP and tyre management
Tyre management is for everyone, not just F1 drivers. TIP can set up your tyre management so that your trailers grip the road in the best possible condition! Contact us using this form.
Sign up for TIP Newsletter
If you wish to receive the latest industry news on a quarterly basis, please use the sign-up button below.