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Tyre Tips - Light Commercial Vans, Trucks and Buses

Tyre Tip 8 - Operating Costs

In earlier articles, we discussed the necessity for the truck fleet operator to be aware of the influence of tyres on his operating costs. As we said at the time, tyres follow fuel to be the second most costly operational expense item, and any saving that can be achieved is directly off that critical bottom line. Even a modest 5 percent overall improvement can reduce an annual fleet fuel bill of $100,000 by $5,000. Enough to bank roll their next set of drive tyres!




Click to EnlargeClick to EnlargeTread patterns and casing constructions can also contribute to tyre efficiency. When the requirements of steer, drive, and trailer positions are analysed, they are all different. The steer position tyre should incorporate a strong, rib type pattern with a braced belt configuration for handling and stability. A drive tyre requires tractive effort and long wearing capability, whereas a trailer tyre is basically in rolling mode only. This means that ideally each position could have (depending on the tyre manufacturer's design criteria) a different casing configuration and tread pattern to cater for these individual requirements and deliver maximum efficiency.


As an example, consider the use of deep tread drive tyres. These usually incorporate an aggressive block or lug pattern with around 20 to 24 millimetre tread depths. All this to provide premium traction qualities. The downside to this is that you pay for these attributes by means of increased rolling resistance, particularly when new, and inherent increased fuel consumption. The message to the fleet operator is to fully evaluate his traction requirements, since it may be possible that a general-purpose tyre with standard tread depths can provide adequate traction and treadwear characteristics while at the same time minimising his fuel bill. This is the inevitable balancing act.


Another area for the operator to review, is the question of where the greatest tyre fuel saving effect can be achieved. The answer is ---- trailer tyres. This is simply a matter of numbers. The steer axle has only 2 tyres to influence fuel economy; the drive has 8 tyres; and the trailer has 12. The European sourced diagram (above) gives you an idea how much input these positions have. An astute fleet operator will ensure that his trailer tyres are regularly checked for correct inflation; tyres should be considered that are smaller, straight ribbed, shallow tread depth; even a move to the wide base super single tyre replacing 12 tyres with 6 will yield significant fuel savings.