– By Caroline Falls –
“Selecting the right tyres for a particular operation is the first step in good tyre management,” according to the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia’s Plant and Vehicle Management Manual, adding, a good preventative maintenance and monitoring system will maximise tyre life and performance and cut operating costs.
Among the critical pieces of guidance gleaned from this chapter are that spare tyres should be kept in a dark place (I must move mine from the back of my ute to the underbelly where it is supposed to live!), and, that tyre tread depth measurement and pressures should be measured at least every two weeks. Tread depth indicates when tyres need rotating or replacing.
Other keys tips include: “No vehicles should be fitted with alternative tyres without approval from the manufacturer. This is important because of the impact incorrect tyres have on wear and tear on the vehicle and safety considerations.”
To give you an idea of what’s covered in more depth in the chapter, the headings include: Tyre selection; Distinguishing tyre features; Application of radial tyres; Load rating index- compliance with legal requirements; Prolonging tyre life; Inflation pressure; Rims; and, Tips.
I really liked the section titled: Prolonging tyre life. It says low air pressure is the number one cause of tyre wear in the public works industry.
“Major tyre manufacturers estimate that a 10 psi variance is enough to cost a minimum of 7-10 percent in tread wear, but could cause a loss of as much as 30 percent of tyre life. In addition, it is the highest contributing factor to rapid and uneven wear. “
Meanwhile, over inflation will accelerate tread wear even more than under-inflation. Another point from this section, in its discussion on the value of valve caps, is that faulty caps are a main source of low air pressure. Caps’ purpose is to keep out debris from the valve core, and act as a primary seal. (How many vehicles out there are missing valve caps?)
This chapter on tyre management, like all 19 in the manual, sets out a step-by-step approach to best practice:
- When calling for tenders, have an option for fitment and management
- Develop a management plan, including replacement and rotation
- Development process and procedure guidelines
- Record all tyre and rim movements
- Regularly monitor tread depth and pressure
- Provide advice for operational managers to improve tyre wear
- Ensure staff who repair and maintain tyres and rims are trained in safe tyre management
The IPWEA manual is a how-to guide to setting up a fleet and asset management program. It covers topics such as rightsizing the fleet, minimising unscheduled repairs, returning the best value on a capital investment, deciding whether to buy or hire equipment, buying and disposing of equipment and embedding key performance indicators.
Fleet Auto News is running a series of articles based on the 280-page manual. This article is based on the third edition of Plant and Vehicle Management Manual, Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia. For more information about the manual click here or telephone 1300 416 745.