Superior Paving Uses New Technology to Reduce Flat Tires

Superior Trucking, the trucking division of Bristow, VA, contractor Superior Paving suffered 68 nail punctures in its truck tires in 2009. Each resulted in at least an hour of downtime. With each truck getting an average of one flat per year, that meant the company suffered between five and six flats per month, says Mike Blevins, general manager of Superior Trucking.

Tire Management

The company's trucking division operates 65 straight dump trucks — 30 (four-axle) Sterling trucks, 9 (four-axle) Mack trucks, 24 (five-axle) Mack trucks, and 2 (six-axle) Mack trucks. It also runs three Mack road tractors. The company's paving division has 368 pieces of equipment, including Class 8 Mack and Sterling straight trucks and tractors, Class 7 Freightliners, Class 2 through Class 5 Dodge and Ford trucks, and a number of passenger cars.

"With 68 trucks in our trucking division, we have 902 tires on the road every day," Blevins says. Chris Griffith, general manager of maintenance for Superior Paving's paving operation, estimates that his division has a total of about 2,000 wheel positions.

That's why Superior has its own crew of mechanics and technicians who change and mount tires in its maintenance shops and on the road, if necessary, for both divisions. The company's maintenance shop is equipped with an ARI tire-changing machine, which makes tire changing easier.

"Besides the routine inspections by our drivers and by our mechanics during scheduled PMs, our tire technicians check tire pressures weekly," Blevins says.

Yet, even with Superior Trucking's religious attention to tire maintenance, circumstances beyond the control of the company's fleet and shop personnel can still wreak havoc.

So the contractor decided to equip its Class 8 trucks with Goodyear's DuraSeal Technology tires, which feature a gel-like, solvent-free compound built into the inner liner of the tire. Goodyear says it can instantly seal punctures up to ¼-inch in the tread area, without the need to repair the tire until it is retreaded. This allows drivers to continue operating after a tire is punctured. (DuraSeal does not seal sidewall punctures.)

Since switching to DuraSeal tires the division's fleet of 68 straight trucks and tractors traveled nearly 2.2 million miles in 2010 without a single flat tire resulting in zero downtime due to tire issues for the entire year.

"Our customers know they can rely on us to keep our promises," he said. "But in order to do that, we have to be able to rely on our equipment and our equipment dealers."

Increased Tire Life

Another advantage Superior has found is the high miles to removal of these tires and their retreads.

Blevins said Superior Trucking gets between 65,000 and 75,000 miles on the steer positions using either a set of Goodyear G289 WHA in size 315/80R22.5 or Goodyear G287 MSA in size 12R22.5 with DuraSeal Technology. The steer tires are then removed, retreaded and repositioned on the drives. Superior also uses the G289 WHA and G287 MSA on the drive positions.

For the lowboy trailers the company uses to move paving equipment around, the company specifies the Goodyear G169 RSA and Goodyear G372 UniCircle retread design in sizes 11R22.5 and 255/70R22.5 on the trailer positions.

Superior's paving operation started using the new tires this year after the contractor's trucking division had success with them first.

In both divisions, Superior has its tires retreaded using Goodyear's patented UniCircle retreading method, which offers the company retreaded tires with like-new performance and appearance using a seamless construction that adheres snugly to the casing. The UniCircle retread features an exclusive compound that matches new tire performance for treadwear and traction.

"We've been able to retread the casings on our tires three to four times before they're scrapped at the end of five years," Blevins said.

Griffith said the paving operation has been able to double the amount of use out of its original tire casings using the retreads.

"Before we started using UniCircle retreading, we usually just turned in the tires for casing credit after two or three seasons and around 50,000 miles," he says. "Now we're getting upwards of 100,000 miles and seeing our tires last up to four seasons before we turn them in or have them scrapped."