With National Tire Safety Week just behind us, it’s important to keep tire safety practices fresh in your mind—especially since it’s a year-round issue. Bridgestone Americas, Inc. is helping drivers prepare their tires for the busy summer driving season. The company’s consumer, commercial, and retail businesses are providing ongoing education and services to engage summer travelers, commercial truckers, and daily drivers around the importance of proper tire care and maintenance.
In April 2016, Bridgestone commissioned an online survey through Harris Polls regarding tire maintenance. The survey revealed that tires are often are overlooked by Americans as a safety feature. The survey showed that among 2,109 US adults, only 41 percent rank tires as one of the three most important safety features of a vehicle. Furthermore, the survey showed that while 58 percent of drivers have checked their tire pressure in the past three months, only 38 percent have checked their tread depth in the same period.
THUS, THE CAMPAIGN
With survey results showing less-that-satisfactory tire maintenance participation, it’s no wonder Bridgestone is initiating a bit of broad-range education. But, what exactly is the company doing to spread the word? “We’re visiting fleets and making ourselves available,” says James Kiriazes, director, Market Performance Engineering, Bridgestone Commercial. “One of the larger efforts that we’re doing is making sure, on the commercial side, that we reemphasize what is traditionally well known and used information. We recognize that the market is very fluid and people are trying to find their way through how to get the most out of their assets and how to work with the current regulations. What we’ve seen is the fact that we probably need to do a little bit of awareness, to talk about four main points that every truck driver and every equipment owner/operator should know and understand about tires relative to their assets.”
FOUR GOLDEN RULES
With increased speed limits, the ability to optimize asset utilization, and generally a lack of downtime during which to inspect vehicles, Bridgestone wants to make sure you really look at the four key elements of tire maintenance and make them part of an operation to ensure tire performance and safety. Kiriazes explains the four key elements of tire maintenance and safety:
Know your tire’s speed rating: States are setting speed limits that are very high—in some cases, higher than they’ve been in the past—and we want to emphasize that tires have a maximum speed rating. Even though there might be a posted speed limit higher than what the tire is rated at, you have to be aware of your tire rating and stay within that tire speed range.
Maintain proper cold inflation pressure: We want to make sure that people still take time to maintain and inspect tires appropriately. By that, we mean setting and maintaining proper cold inflation pressure. Inflation pressure is a large part of tire operations and maintenance. Make sure you take the tire pressure when the tire is cold to maintain it at the desired set point.
Inspect the tire for damage: Make sure you take time to inspect the tire—look for cracks, damage, cuts, bulges, penetration, and things that might have happened along the way. If there’s any serviceability issue, get that addressed immediately. These are things that are sometimes overlooked when you’re running trucks 24/7 and trying to get the most out of them.
Make sure you have the right tire for the application: Make sure that you’re using the right tire for the right application. In selecting the right tire for the job, look at the tire size, the load carrying capability, the speed rating, and the service type. All of that kind of information is available through not only Bridgestone, but every manufacturer’s data books. Just understanding that will help you select the right tire that ultimately will perform best for you in the long run.
“The whole idea of putting together some type of awareness campaign is to reinforce notions that have been out there for a long time—the speed rating, selecting the right tire for the job, maintaining proper cold inflation pressure, and inspecting tires for cuts and damage that might have been incurred along operation,” says Kiriazes. “Those are long-held best practices and will always end in satisfaction for you in the long term.”
“Generally speaking,” adds Roger Best, project engineer, Market Sales Engineering, Bridgestone, “it’s a good idea to check your air pressure every week, just to make sure you’re maintaining correct inflation. It’s also good to do an overall check of the tire for road hazards, cuts, snags, any uneven wear, or anything that shows you need to do a tire rotation. It’s just a good practice to check your tires once a week to make sure you’re staying within the parameters of how you want the tire to perform.”
WHEN IN NEED
“If there is any question that a fleet operator or an owner has on their tires, their operations, or what the right selection is, manufacturers have data books and information online. You can also reach out to any dealer or to any of the fleet contacts and they’ll be very glad to walk you through to make sure you have that right selection and you’re maintaining it the way you need to,” says Kiriazes.
“The dealers can also help you put together a program that works for your business to help get more out of your tires, including what steps may need to be taken in order to get another retread out of every casing or just having better air pressure maintenance,” says Best. “In today’s world, where most of the cars on the road have some kind of tire pressure monitoring system, commercial vehicles do not. The idea behind the campaign is to make everyone aware that they still need to perform safety checks and inflation checks on their tires to make sure they’re keeping them in good working order.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Find out more about Bridgestone Americas, Inc.’s products and services, visit www.bridgestoneamericas.com.