Whether you have scissor lifts or haul trucks in your construction fleet, tires are one of the most hard-working components of your equipment. They support the entire machine’s weight, so it’s crucial to maintain proper tire maintenance, from investing in wheel covers for scissor lifts to periodically measuring the tire pressure of your trucks. Here are some best practices for proper tire maintenance:
Conduct Regular Tire Inspections
Most tire-related safety issues can be prevented through regular maintenance. It’s an excellent way to avoid unexpected damages as long as you understand the basics of checking your tires. Here are some best practices for tire inspections:
- Check Suggested PSI Levels: PSI levels (pound per square inch) are given by tire manufacturers not only for safety recommendations but also for better fuel usage. Properly inflated tires can increase fuel economy, reduce wear and tear, and prolong their lifespan. Remember that heavy cargo will put a strain on the tires because the load deflates a part of the tire pressure, so check PSI levels beforehand.
- Remove Any Debris: Stones and any foreign materials that are stuck in the tires can damage them, so make sure to check for debris before using the vehicle. Also, make sure to check the wheel rim for loose parts and cracks, tighten them, and check for any leaks in the rear tires.
- Do a Quick Visual Inspection: Check for any bulges, missing rubber chunks, or separation in the tires. If you find any of these issues, consider a tire replacement immediately, as they can be dangerous to use.
Choose the Correct Tire
Always make sure to select the right kind of tire for the job. It’s one of the most important steps to take to avoid shortening your tire’s life, so consult a professional to help you with proper tire selection. Using the appropriate tire will make your vehicle equipped to handle a specific site condition or load weight.
If the incorrect tire is used to handle an equally incorrect weight, vehicle performance, operator comfort, and fuel efficiency will all be compromised and can lead to additional maintenance costs. Here are some common features that you should take into consideration when maintaining tires:
- Tread: Hard tires are known to be fuel-efficient and designed to go long distances, but you may encounter a decrease in traction in some conditions, such as rain. On the other hand, soft tires are designed to grip the road better and provide a smooth ride, but they wear down faster and may require you to fill up the tank more often.
- Load Capacity: Always check the maximum load capacity of each wheel to keep your tires running for the long haul. Avoid overloading as it can cause a blowout and destroy the casing and construction.
- Pressure: When tire pressure is not properly maintained, your vehicle’s performance may be affected, and your gas mileage may suffer, which can eventually affect the lifespan of the tires.
Remember Basic Tire Storage Rules
You may need to store your tires if they’re not in use. Specialty vehicles and seasonal tires will last longer if they are stored correctly, especially if you use tarps and covers. They should be stored in a horizontal or vertical position away from foot traffic. Be careful not to lean them in any way, scrape, bend, or puncture.
If tires are mounted on vehicles that are not moved for a long time, they will become misshapen. Make sure you start your vehicles at least once a week to avoid any damage. Also, location and temperature are vital, so store them in a moderately ventilated place with no high levels of humidity and heat.
Maintain Recommended Tire Pressure
Both overinflation and underinflation can lead to tire failure, so it’s important to maintain the correct tire pressure. Overinflation can make tires prone to punctures that can decrease your productivity, and the excess pressure sacrifices traction and flotation. Underinflation can produce fatigue in the tires that lead to heat generation and failure of the sidewall and other areas.
Always use a tire gauge to check the inflation pressure, and don’t rely on visual perception. Remember that even 5% below or above the recommended tire pressure can be harmful to the tires, so it’s better to always get accurate data.
Tires can be often seen as an afterthought in the construction industry, but they are essential products that contribute to overall equipment productivity. Make sure to protect your investment by conducting regular tire maintenance to avoid disruptions in your business’s processes.