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Care for tyres: That will take care of bottom line

Care for tyres: That will take care of bottom line

By VN Ramamoorthy* :

Tyres and their performance – Safety, Reliability and Longevity – are critical, not only for proper and safe operation of a commercial vehicle but also for the economics and profitability of the business

V N Ramamoorthy

So far, in the earlier discourses, I discussed about the retread industry scenario in India, the need to care for tyres and the various factors which affect the performance and life of tyres. We also discussed the need to go in for quality repairs and retreads to enjoy the full life of tyres purchased and how Quality Retreads can help in minimising air & environmental pollution, save costly resources like crude oil and act as a “Green initiative” to protect the mother earth.
It was explained at length that cost of tyres is very critical for any commercial vehicle operator – whether single / small fleet or Large fleet. Therefore there is a NEED to know the “Do’s and Don’ts” with tyres and the correct “Tyre Care Tips.”
It goes without saying that tyres and their performance (Safety, Reliability and Longevity) are critical, not only for proper and safe operation of a commercial vehicle but also for the economics & profitability of the business. As we have seen elsewhere, the cost of tyres is the second largest expense for any truck/bus owner.
Hence, there is no alternative but to adopt the best tyre care practices – those who don’t, will do so at their own peril. So my adage: “Care for your Tyres … They take care of your bottom line”

Tyre care tips

We have elaborately discussed that there are multiple factors which affect tyre performance and its life – resulting in premature failures and abnormal or uneven wear necessitating costly replacements. More than the cost, such factors affect the “safety” of passengers and goods carried.
It is also evident that some factors are beyond the control of the owner / operator /driver. At the same time, many critical factors are UNDER THE CONTROL of the owner- operator provided they understand and desire to control them!
Here we must realise that one needs to monitor / control only 3 factors and that will take care of almost 70% of tyre related problems!
So the magic formula for a CV owner / operator is to control three most important areas of tyre maintenance, namely
*INFLATION (Rated air pressure)
* LOAD (Rated Load)
* SPEED (Rated speed)

Tyre Inflation:

• Always ensure that only recommended air pressure is maintained as per the specifications of the Tyre maker or vehicle manufacturer. (Invariably the recommended inflation levels – in single or dual fitment – are engraved on both sides of any tyre).
• Always ensure that inflation check is done in “cold “condition, before a trip, in the morning hours.
• Under or Over inflation – both will lead to incorrect “foot print” (contact area between the tread area and the ground) of the tyre which will result in uneven wear leading to premature failure.
Load Condition:
• Operators MUST adhere to recommended load only as specified by Vehicle maker or Tyre maker. Recommended loads are engraved clearly on both sides of the tyre by all makers.
• Over Loading or Uneven loading is the perfect prescription for premature failures and loss of tyre performance.
• There is a prevalent “misunderstanding” among users that by increasing the inflation one can carry extra load beyond the recommended level!

Speed of Operation:

• It is mandatory that every operator (driver) must adhere to the speed limits as specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Here again, the recommended speeds (or the speed ratings) are also marked on the tyres.
• Driver training programs must be conducted at regular intervals to inculcate “recommended and GOOD driving habits”. Structured training programs for Drivers are available.
• Drivers must be trained to use the brakes “minimally” to “maximise the life of tyres. This also helps to “minimize” fuel consumption (fuel economy) and to get optimum CPKM (cost per kilometer).

Apart from the above 3 main factors which are to be constantly monitored, there are some more useful Tyre care tips which are equally important.

Dual Matching:

• Whenever 2 tyres are to be fitted in a dual position, it is mandatory that they are “dual matched “as per set procedures” before selecting them for fitment in a dual position.
• Mismatched tyres, if used in dual fitment, will result in “Over loading “of the larger tyre and its premature failure.
• As a “double whammy” when the larger tyre fails there will be consequential failure of the smaller tyre also due to irregular wear or faster wear.
• The tolerance limits allowed in comparative Diameters or Circumferences of the
“Partner” tyres for dual fitment (for commercial tyre sizes only)) are as below:
Tyre Sizes Tolerance limit in Dia Tolerance in Circumference

8.25 “& below sizes maximum ¼” (6mm) maximum ¾” (18mm)

9.00 to 14.00 sizes –d0– ½” (13mm) –do– 1 ½” (40mm)

• After dual matching is done (meaning the diameter/ circumference of the pair tyres are found to be within the allowed tolerance limits), the Tyre with shorter diameter/circumference should be fitted at the “inside” position and the bigger one at the outside.
• Measurement of Diameter or Circumference must be done at recommended (rated) inflation and in cold condition only.
• Under no circumstances, any difference in Diameter or Circumference should be corrected by adjusting air (inflation) pressure of either tyre.

Tyre Rotation:

As recommended by Tyre makers (and also by the commercial vehicle manufacturers), for best results from tyres, it is a must to do Tyre Rotation at periodic intervals. The end users and /or Tyre management staff must refer to the Tyre Maintenance chart issued by respective Tyre Company or the Maintenance manual of the vehicle maker and follow the guidelines for Tyre rotation.
Rotating the tyres at recommended intervals will help to compensate any uneven wear caused by positioning of tyres in the axles or due to mechanical defects in the vehicle.
Timely Removals – for Repairs & Retreads:
• Tyres must be checked daily for any nails/ stones entrapment or for any cuts/damages.
• Neglected nails, stones or cuts will lead to major repairs which may in due course result into “separation” of plies and tyre failure.
• When the tread portion is worn, the tyre must be removed for Retread. The tyres are to be removed when the tread wear reaches “TWI” mark (Tyre Wear Indicator). The TWI marks are given in every tyre , at least at 6 places on both sides of the tyre.
• Running the tyres beyond TWI mark will ultimately damage the internal plies rendering the tyres “UNFIT” for further use.

Never mix radial and bias tyres:

Because of the basic difference in the design and construction of the Radial tyres vis-à-vis the Bias tyres, they cannot be mixed and fitted in the same vehicle even if the sizes are the same.
For best results, longer life and lowest cpkm always fit all Bias or all Radial tyres in the same vehicle.
In case of emergent situations if one is forced to fit both Radial and Bias tyres in the same vehicle temporarily, the operator / driver must ensure that at least in the same axle ,all tyres are of same type. In other words, ensure that either All Radial or All Bias are used in the same axle.

Why retread?

We have discussed earlier that retreading is “recycling, ” a “Green initiative” and it helps to reduce air & environmental pollution. Multiple retreading of every tyre helps to save natural resources like crude oil, natural rubber, carbon etc.
New tyres can be safely used only till the “TWI” mark (Tyre Wear Indicator mark). This initial run is called “ITM” or Initial Tyre Mileage from a new tyre. On the average, the ITM (for both Radial & Bias tyres) you can get is only 30-35% of the total life of the tyre. The balance 70% life / mileage can be enjoyed only by retreading the tyres.
Caution: Always ensure to use quality materials and accredited retread processes from reputed, certified sources.
It is therefore easy to understand that multiple retreads = Maximum life of tyres = Lowest CPKM. A vehicle user must look for lowest CPKM i.e. cost per kilometer rather than cheapest solutions for Repairs & Retreads.
Care for your tyres and follow the above tyre care tips and enjoy safe and long life from your tyres which will also take care of your bottom line!
*VN Ramamoorthy is former CEO of TVS Tread. He can be contacted on mobile 9380294636 or via email: vnrama@hotmail.com

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