Tire Maintenance: Stay Safe & Save Money
Every day your sales people and technicians are on the road going to appointments with your customers. If vehicles in your fleet are out of commission, because they are not properly maintained, then you are losing money on sales and service. On top of those lost dollars, you are losing money on fuel economy and posing a risk to your employees driving those vehicles.
One of the easiest parts of the vehicles to maintain, but is often overlooked, are the tires. Here are some tips for making sure the tires on your vehicle are in safe working order.
Don’t Be Over or Under
Proper tire inflation of tires is one of the most important parts of tire maintenance for any vehicles. Both under inflated and over inflated tires pose a variety of safety issues and cost you money.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 12 percent of model year 2004 – 2011 vehicles on the road have at least one tire under inflated by at least 25 percent. Under inflated tires can lead to:
- Poor handling of the vehicle
- Lower fuel economy
- Longer stopping distances
- Heat build up
- Increased stress on tire components
- Separation or blow out of the tire
Over inflation is just as dangerous and costly. Over inflated tires can lead to:
- Uneven tread wear, leading to early replacement
- Increased susceptibility to damages from road hazards such as potholes.
To ensure that tires on your vehicles are properly inflated, locate the tire and loading information label on the driver’s side door edge or door post. This label will tell you the proper psi (pounds per square inch) that your tires should be inflated. Once you know what the appropriate psi is for your vehicles’ tires, use a tire pressure gauge to check them and then adjust the inflation as necessary. You should check your tires at least once a month, according the NHTSA, because your tires can lose up to 1 psi a month with regular driving.
Don’t forget to check your spare tire! Your spare can also become under inflated and not perform properly in the event you get a flat.
Tire Tread And Aging
Inspecting the tread on your tires is another important part to ensuring your vehicles are safe on the road. Tires that are “bald” or have low tread increase your chance of injury or death when driving according to NHTSA.
To ensure you have proper tread on your tires, visually inspect them at least monthly. If upon visual inspection you believe the tread may be low, you can do the “Lincoln Penny” test. To do this test, take a penny and hold it with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. Place the penny between the tire tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head that means your tire has less than 2/32″ of tread and you need to replace it.
Low tread isn’t the only thing you need to be concerned with, but also the age of your tires. Check your vehicle’s owner manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation for tire replacement.
Again, make sure you are checking the tread and age of your spare tire. You do not want to get a flat tire and not have a spare tire to get you back on the road.
It’s Better To Be Safe
All the information in this article should be used as general guidelines. Road conditions, weather, and usage of your vehicles will affect the wear and tear and performance of your vehicle’s tires. It is suggested that you frequently monitor the condition of your tires and replace or repair as needed.
At the end of the day, maintaining your vehicles’ tires is a fairly simply way to ensure your employees are safe when driving. Plus, it will save you money by keeping your team on the road and increasing your vehicles’ fuel economy.
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