Tire Management Tips to Extend the Life of Your Tires
Tires represent a large portion of your fleet maintenance cost each year. They are your vehicle’s the only point of contact with the road. Inspecting your tires regularly for wear and damage, along with a regularly scheduled tire maintenance strategy, can help extend the life of your tires and ensure your safety.
Incorrect tire pressure will affect a vehicle’s handling and braking, especially when roads are wet or icy. Incorrect tire pressure will cause your tires to wear unevenly, reducing the lifespan of your tires.
Under-inflated tires run hotter and can result in a sudden tire failure. Under-inflated tires also have a greater resistance, your engine works harder, resulting in poor fuel mileage. As a rule of thumb, a tire that is 20% under inflated will last 20% less.
When checking tire pressure, use a high-quality pressure gauge and check its accuracy with a tire professional. The pressure gauge provided in gas stations is often not accurate.
Check your vehicle owner's manual, or the sticker on the driver’s side door or the gas tank door for the correct tire pressure for your vehicle. Do not use the pressure on your tire’s sidewall.
At higher speed, tires have an increased chance of being damaged by road hazards. Plus, when tires do fail its high speeds, they tend to explode, causing a complete loss of vehicle control.
Your vehicle’s tires must have a safe amount of tread remaining in order to grip the road, and to expel snow, ice, and and water.
Tire tread depth should be checked regularly in several places around the tire. A quick test, if you do not have a tread gauge, is to insert a toonie between the tread. If the tread reaches only as far as CANADA, your tires need to be replaced.
Tires that are installed in the front and back will wear differently. The same holds true between inner and outer tires in the case of tractors, trailers, and heavy equipment. Rotating your tires will help ensure more even tire wear.
Tires should be rotated based on your vehicle manufacturer's recommendation or every 10,000 to 15,000 KM, or when inspection reveals irregular wear. And don’t forget to re-torque your wheels.
Potholes and other roadside hazards can throw off the alignment of your vehicle causing your tires to wear unevenly. Alignment is simply the adjustment of the suspension to ensure the tires are pointed in the same direction.
If the alignment is off, your vehicle may pull to one side, the steering wheel not to return easily after a turn, or the steering wheel may be turned on an angle while driving a straight line.
When tires are mounted on wheel rims, one area of the tire and rim is almost always heavier or lighter than the rest. Properly balancing your tires will minimize vibration and stress on your vehicle and avoid tire bounce and wobble.
Tires should be balanced when installing new tires, when rotating tires, or if the balance weight has been removed.
It is important that tires are properly cleaned and stored when not installed on your vehicle. Before removing tires, note the tire position of each. This will help ensure proper tire rotation when the tires are reinstalled.
If tires are to be left on a parked vehicle for an extended period of time, check the tire pressure monthly or jack it up to and remove the weight from the tires.
Tire management strategy
A tire management strategy does not have to be complicated so long as it factors in all tire maintenance procedures. However, using a fleet maintenance spreadsheet can be difficult unless you are disciplined in maintaining it. The use of tire management software that is built into your fleet maintenance software can help. There are lots of fleet maintenance software options available on the market, including our cloud fleet management software that tend to be more affordable and easier to use than traditional Windows-based software.