As a fleet operator, taking good care of your tyres is the first step towards ensuring the safety of your drivers. Often times, fleet operators neglect their tyres until it’s either punctured or flat. Not taking care of your tyres can affect the quality of your rides, the brakes and driver performance.
What’s the best way to take care of your tyres? With the COVID-19 pandemic restricting our movements, the need to look after tyres is no longer a priority especially since driving has taken a backseat for many.
However, the fact that you don’t move around as often as you used to doesn’t mean you should neglect your vehicles. Fleet managers might be operating low during this pandemic and as a result, a lot of vehicles are left unattended.
The question still remains: How best should fleet managers take care of their tyres?
The first thing you should know is that tyres are meant to be inspected on a regular basis, whether the vehicle is operative or on standby. Don’t go longer than a month before your next tyre check.
For fleets, money is lost every minute that their vehicles are off the road. Thus, having a tyre maintenance policy in place can help to prevent vehicle downtime, leading to increased savings and efficiency.
What to look out for when inspecting Tyres
- Tyres should be properly inflated to improve safety and fuel efficiency.
- Make sure tyres are not standing in pools of water or chemicals of any sort.
- Always inspect your tyres for damage and pressure loss
Regularly check tyre pressure
Did you know the wrong tyre pressure can lead to more fuel consumption and quicker wear and tear?
Under or over-inflated tyres can cause serious damage to the brake and steering of your car. It’s therefore, important to ensure that your tyres are using the right pressures. Always check the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended level which can be found in the vehicle handbook.
Over-inflated tyres can cause your tyres to wear out faster, however, under-inflated tyres can cause your vehicles to consume more fuel.
Look for any damage
When checking tyre pressure and tread depth, give your tyres an all-over visual inspection. It’s important to look out for abnormal wear and damage. If there are any stones or screws, they should be taken out as well. Look out for any cuts or unusual signs of wear and tear. If you notice any problems, get your tyres checked out by a specialist as soon as possible.
Don’t overload your vehicle
Did you know that overloading your vehicle can cause severe damage to your tyres? To be sure you’re not overloading your fleet, check the car’s manual to know the load limit. Overloading your fleet can cause increased fuel consumption, poor handling and tyre damage.
Check the Tread Depth
The tread depth of your tyres can seriously damage your vehicle’s traction and grip, especially in poor weather conditions. The tread is the rubber on the tyre that touches the road. If your tyres are old, they usually have an average tread depth of 8 to 9 mm which is likely to wear down as you drive.
Adequate tread depth makes your car more stable. However, inadequate tread depth can result in accidents. It’s therefore important to ensure your fleet vehicles has a tread depth of at least 1.6mm.
Pay attention to how you drive
The way you drive can also have an impact on the condition and longevity of your tyres. Good driving habits can make them last longer, so avoid excessive braking and speeding. Also, drivers should avoid uneven road surfaces and potholes and learn to slow down for speed bumps.
Don’t let your tyres get too old
Tyres don’t last forever. Although there is no strict rule, tyres that more than five or six years old should be replaced. That’s because the rubber gradually wears out. Tyres that aren’t used much actually age more quickly because the chemicals added to tyres to slow down wear and tear are only released when they’re in use.
How do you know how old your tyres are?
Look at the tyre sidewall. You’ll see the letters DOT (Department of Transportation) then a set of numbers. The first two numbers are the week the tyres were manufactured, and the second two are the year. So, 4319 would be the 43rd week of 2019. If you can only see three digits, then your tyres were made before 2000 – so it’s time to get some new ones.
In conclusion, regardless of the quality of your cars, if your tyres are out of shape, they can’t function properly. So as fleet managers, be sure to take care of the health of your tyres to make sure they serve their purpose.