Feb 1, 2007 12:00 PM
TIRE maintenance is essential to on-road safety, said Guy Walenga, Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC, at the National Tank Truck Carriers Cargo Tank Maintenance Seminar. “And proper maintenance is what makes tires safe,” he added.
One of the most important procedures is maintaining proper and consistent tire pressure on all tires, but more diligence may be required for dual-mounted tires since the inside tire is harder to reach. The difference between the two tires should be no more than five psi.
“The issue (if one dual-mounted tire has a different pressure from another) is you have a smaller tire,” Walenga said. “The large one will dictate how the smaller one moves. These tires are rigidly bolted together. They have to cover the same space, same distance, and the same speed at the same time. It's going to increase your chances of developing uneven wear on the tires.”
Although it takes two-to-three hours for a tire to cool down after usage, its pressure should be checked at ambient temperature. Walenga recommended daily pressure checks: before the equipment is dispatched, at the fuel island, and after the vehicles are returned to the yard.
“You need the correct pressure to carry the load,” he said.
Tire pressure should always be determined with a gauge, not by thumping the tire. In addition to pressure concerns, tire condition should be checked visually. A good pressure gauge is essential, along with a master gauge in the shop in order to determine gauge accuracy.
Mechanics should be trained for accurate wheel mounting. “It doesn't take long to do it right,” Walenga said. Tires should always be inflated in a cage. New valve cores, grommets, and caps should be applied when a tire is repaired.
Turning to a discussion of wide-base single tires, he said that they are proving effective for the tank truck industry. They reduce weight, are easier to check for inflation, and reduce fuel usage.
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