Examine tires you take out of service. “Did the tire perform as expected during its service life? If you are not satisfied because of tire performance, then a review of the tire type and application needs to be made,” says Gary Enterline, Michelin.
Also investigate other possible causes of poor performance. “Vehicle condition and inadequate maintenance can also lead to poor customer satisfaction,” Enterline points out. “Changing tires will not help this much.”
Old tires provide significant clues that can lead to future performance improvements. “For a tire technician, that is his Bible,” says Roger Stansbie, Continental Tire. “If you have a tire that has a characteristic of irregular or fast wear, seeing and touching the tire and seeing the wear pattern on the tire give you a clue as to what may be wrong. There are certain wear characteristics that point directly to problem areas – misalignment is an example. It could be that you have to adjust your inflation pressures.
“You really need to read as much as you can about how the tires wear and the associated conditions that lead to excess tire wear,” he continues. “There are courses where you can get educated on reading tire wear patterns. Most manufacturers will have a technical group that will come out for free and educate you on the fact that you might not be using the best tire for your type of application.”
Start by knowing where your trucks are going. “Understand road conditions and climatic conditions,” says Stansbie. “Once that is known, if you don’t already have a history of tire types that went on your vehicle, then go and look at your scrap pile.”
Next, contact the manufacturer’s technical representative to obtain their tire selection information. “Invariably, that is a free service offered by the tire manufacturers,” Stansbie notes. “It is well worth doing because you can save a lot of money.”
If you don’t already have a scrap pile analysis, set one up. “Scrap pile analysis can tell you reams of information about fleet operation and the best product application,” says Stansbie. “Most manufacturers will be happy to give you a demonstration of how to run a scrap pile analysis. Manufacturers and dealers have quite sophisticated software to go through a scrap pile and give the fleet a report that indicates what they could potentially save by changing tires or practices.”