Many folks may call scrap tire piles ugly, but to the fleet manager, they should be beautiful because they contain hidden gold in terms of intelligence that can reduce tire operating costs.
Knowledge is power
According to Heavy Duty Trucking editor Jim Park, “Thousands of tires are scrapped prematurely every month in the United States. That’s hundreds of thousands of miles of operation fleets give up because their tires died untimely, unnatural, and often unnecessary deaths. And the tires themselves are rarely to blame.”
If you don’t see examples of shoulder wear, feathering, cupping, scalloping, punch wear, zippers and more in your scrap tire pile, then congratulations . . . you are doing most everything right as far as your tires are concerned. But you would definitely be the rare fleet manager.
Tire tracking program
Park correctly notes that establishing a tracking program is the first step. You need to identify which truck and wheel position the tire came from, so problems can be traced back to the source.
You can use tire management tools that are available in many maintenance apps to save tim, or you can use a basic spreadsheet or just a piece of paper. Either way, a thorough analysis will surely save you significant dollars if you act on what you learn from your scrap tires.
The data you collect should include the following:
- vehicle ID and wheel position
- tire size, brand and type
- original tread depth, and tread depth at removal
- mileage at mounting and removal mileage
- recommended air pressure and actual inspected air pressure
- acquisition cost
- observations on why the tire was removed from service (damage, irregular wear, end of life).
Once you know the cost-per-mile or cost-per-32nd figure for a specific tire brand/product, you can analyze the equipment and application for that tire. For instance, you may, as many have, that the Double Coin RR150 is one of the best spread axle trailer tires on the market due to its anti-scrubbing properties.
As Park notes in Heavy Duty Trucking’s December 2018 supplement on tires and wheels, “It often comes down to a combination of factors that include tire construction, tread design and compounding, the steering geometry and suspension characteristics of particular vehicles – and even the truck’s work environment. Identifying the wheel position as well as the unit number and its application will provide a better picture of the service the tire saw.”
“Key to the evaluation is tire manufacturer, tire design, tire size, ply rating, age, number of retreads, casing condition, tread depth, load distribution and alignment. If the problem is accurately diagnosed, changes and new practices can be implemented to correct the issue. The most common scrap tire conditions include run flat, air infiltration, pinch shock, impact damage and fatigue-related damage.”
There’s gold in those piles. You just have to know how to find it!