One of the most significant parts of a fleet vehicle is, of course, its tires. Tires carry the vehicle everywhere it needs to go, and an issue with a vehicle’s tires can cause accidents or at least a lot of downtime. That is why it is so crucial that fleets take care of their tires in every way that they can, even beyond standard maintenance. However, it can be hard to know how exactly to take care of a vehicle’s tires. That’s why we’re here to help with a list of steps for how to make tires last longer, so you can ensure that your fleet vehicle’s tires are in good shape anytime you set out on the road.
5 Points to Check on Your Tires
To keep your tires in good shape, you should check on them regularly. This prevents accidents, ensures that you get the best gas mileage you can, and ensures your vehicle doesn’t suffer unnecessary wear and tear. There are five points that you should always check on your tires:
- Inflation: Your tires should always be properly inflated. Check tire pressure every single day, but particularly when it’s cold outside or the vehicle has been sitting for a while.
- Tread: Replace tires when there is less than 1/16 inch of tread left. Keep in mind that front tires will wear down more quickly than rear tires, so keep a close eye on those front tires.
- Valve and Rim: Valve stems need to have caps on them so that moisture and dirt don’t get inside and air doesn’t leak. If valve stems have cuts or scrapes, these can cause leaks as well. Ensure the rim doesn’t have any dents or rust, as these can cause blowouts if not addressed.
- Spare Tire & Tools: Your spare tire must always be properly inflated. Remember that you shouldn't use spare tires at more than 50 miles per hour or for more than 3,000 miles. Make sure your drivers know how to put the spare on.
- Road Damage: Foreign objects from the road can often become embedded in the tire. Glass and gravel can get deep into a tire and cause a flat. Anything penetrating deep into the tire, such as a nail, should be removed by a professional.
Steps to Prolong Tire Life
Establish an inflation maintenance program
As mentioned previously, you should check tire pressure every day. Leakage can occur at any time because tires naturally lose air. Air can be lost through the smallest punctures or even through valve caps. If you check your inflation levels frequently, keeping your tires at optimal inflation for mileage will be easy. You can track your inflation with telematics and track maintenance needs with fleet maintenance alerts.
Keep vehicles aligned properly
If tires aren’t aligned properly, tires can wear down unevenly and cause unnecessary wear and tear on the vehicle. Therefore, tires should be aligned regularly to prevent this issue. Correct tire alignment can increase mileage by as much as 30%.
Rotate tires regularly
Part of tire maintenance is ensuring that you rotate tires routinely. Fleets should rotate tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Rotating them regularly ensures that the tread doesn’t wear unevenly on the tires and cause potentially unsafe driving situations.
Replace tires with matching ones
Whenever it comes time to replace a tire, be sure to replace it with one that matches the other tires on the vehicle. Tires should match all across the vehicle to ensure even tread wear. You don’t want more than a 2/32-inch tread depth difference between tires, and you want the same tread design on both positions of an axle.
Reduce your speeds
The faster a vehicle goes, the more wear it inflicts on the tires. Goodyear found that increasing speeds from 55 miles per hour to 75 miles per hour can reduce a tire’s tread mileage by 20% or more. Tire life isn’t the only benefit to slowing down; you also get better fuel mileage when you drive at lower speeds.
Mount tires correctly
Rounder tires wear better. It’s essential to ensure that tires are mounted on the wheel correctly so that they last longer. Tires should be match-mounted to the wheel where they are marked to show the low and high spots. You can always check with a tire’s manufacturer to see how they mark their spots. You will take the high spot of the tire and match it with the low spot of the wheel.
Tires are an expense that fleets can’t afford to waste. Get the most out of your tires by following these steps. It’s also crucial to stay on top of fleet maintenance with maintenance alerts from Azuga’s fleet management software. This software uses telematics to tell you when your vehicle needs any maintenance, including tire care. Get started with Azuga today!