The bottom line to fuel economy depends on the bottom of your vehicle – its tires. You can reduce your fleet’s fuel consumption by monitoring tire pressure, alignment and specifications. The right tires can contribute to the fuel efficiency of your fleet. Energy-efficient tires will help you maximize fuel efficiency as they are designed to reduce rolling resistance, giving you high levels of productivity.
The benefits derived from Low-Rolling Resistance (LRR) tires outweigh the challenges. Investing in LRR tires improves fuel economy. Fleets operating in adverse weather conditions face traction concerns, and tire specifications can be adjusted to match the region's requirements. Driver input is a critical aspect in determining the spec changes required.
Heat generation, tire deflection and deflation, uneven wear, and tread depth are critical components to consider. LRR tires include specially formulated compounds to reduce friction between the tires tread and the surface of the road, reducing heat generation. Tire wear life is enhanced by using unique rubber in manufacturing without requiring a larger tread depth. LRR tires are very fuel efficient, resulting in significant savings for your fleet.
Duals or wide-base
While selecting tires, apart from rolling resistance, make it a point to compare configuration for improved fuel efficiency. Choose duals or wide-base singles; whatever provides you the most significant benefits. Reduction in overall vehicle weight, lower rolling resistance, equivalent purchase prices, and the possibility for reduced maintenance are some of the benefits in comparing wide-base tires to duals. Drawbacks associated with wide-base tires may include limited product availability, a higher cost to on-road breakdowns, lower resale values, limited ability in re-treading tires, and poor acceptance from drivers.
Calculating lifecycle costs of tire ownership is a must. Per-mile costs are determined solely on the initial purchase price. Consider the value of LRR options as replacing these tires may happen more frequently than non-LRR tires. Fuel consumption costs due to rolling resistance is five times greater than the initial purchase price of the tire. If you are considering the impact of fuel expenditure on your fleet, you are likely to miscalculate the impact of tires to your bottom line.
After selecting the right tires, maintenance is crucial in reaping the highest benefits possible when it comes to fuel efficiency. With precision tire alignment systems, tandem scrub and steer axle toe errors can be eliminated which can cause increased rolling resistance and, therefore, a reduction in fuel efficiency. Alignment issues may cause tires to scrub, decrease in stability, and handle poorly. Other issues may include increased aerodynamic drag and vibration, which will adversely impact your vehicle's fuel efficiency.
Preventive maintenance inspections (including alignment checks) are important. Fleets may schedule alignment checks during steer replacement, and some connect this check with the vehicle's overall operating mileage. Trailer wheel alignment may not be included in scheduled checks for most fleets but is investigated when the driver has a complaint. A robust alignment process is vital. Improper alignment can worsen after an alignment for well-aligned vehicles or those with alignment problems.
Consistent check-ups, maintenance, and service for individual parts of your vehicle are paramount. Regular tire maintenance is comparatively easier and cheaper and provides maximum efficiency.
The Right Way to Maintain Tires
Uneven wear impacts rolling resistance. When tires are not rolling smoothly, more fuel is needed to keep running. This may reduce a tire's lifespan, requiring replacement more often. Inflation and alignment are critical components when it comes to having a longer lifespan for your tires. A misaligned vehicle wastes rubber, and uneven wear costs fuel.
A driver’s intuition will tell him when his vehicle is underperforming. Regular checkups and maintenance when it comes to keeping tires correctly inflated is part of his daily responsibility. Drivers should also check for uneven wear as this may hurt their cost per mile which ultimately impacts your fleet's efficiency.
It’s important that a fleet completes tire rotation for long-haul vehicles every 25,000 kilometers. This may vary with variable loads, driver habits, setups, and road conditions. Different types of wear issues can be tackled by following different rotation patterns. Your vehicle's user manual will guide you in rotating each tire in whatever situation you encounter.
This may seem obvious, but proper alignment ensures that all tires on your vehicle are rolling in the same direction you are moving. Check tire alignment if irregular tire wear is reported or if the vehicle is dog-tracking or pulling to one side. Alignment should be completed when tires are replaced. Alignment checks are important as tires face challenging road conditions with heavy loads. More than front-end alignment is required for trucks with tandem axles. A misaligned drive and trailer axle can contribute to irregular wear, steering pull, and driver fatigue, leading to a scrub. Uneven wear is easily observed on steer tires and is commonly caused by misaligned drive and trailer tires. Drive axles will have a considerable impact on the overall alignment of your vehicle.
The challenges a fleet may face are similar, irrespective of size. Load management is one challenge. This involves managing the load for every axle and tire and opting for consistent load bearing to help preserve the lifespan of your tires. Proper load management alleviates rolling resistance and reduces costs per kilometer.
A smaller, more efficient vehicle may be suit your preference. Middle Eastern fleets may be susceptible to exceeding the Load Index specified for tires as they often operate in overload conditions. Overloading can result in excessive wear and tear and may require replacing tires and brakes more frequently.
Choose tire patterns depending on actual load conditions and maintain tire pressure as per the loading pattern. Standard semi-steel tires have lower rated pressure compared to all-steel tires. Take steps to maintain optimum pressure and loading patterns for your fleet; this helps avoid the risk of tire failure while extending their lifespan.
Replacement and Reinforcement
Every tire involves a considerable amount of rubber and engineering. When tread is wearing thin, the entire tire will need replacing. For tires with reinforced sidewalls, consider re-grooving and re-treading rather than purchasing completely new tires. To improve the long-term efficiency of your fleet, purchase tires that will deliver superior mileage and, at the same time, give you low replacement costs.