Category Archives for "Fleet Management"

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What does the tread wear on truck tyres tell a fleet manager?

5 types of tread wear and how to correct them

Your fleet depends on their tyres. The more wear they suffer, the more fuel your trucks will use. Irregular tread wear makes handling more difficult and lengthens braking distances, and this makes your trucks less safe – risking the lives of drivers, other road users and pedestrians.

What causes irregular tread wear?

There are many reasons tyres wear irregularly. On steering axles, you’ll often find that tyres wear more on one shoulder (most commonly the nearside shoulder) as road cambers, cornering, and roundabouts take their toll.

On drive axles, tyres tend to wear faster on the inner edge of inner tyres. Under- or overinflation also causes irregular tread wear, as does a poor wheel alignment.

5 types of tread wear and how to correct them

Here are the five types of irregular tread wear that your truck tyres might suffer, with likely cause and corrective measures you should take.

1.    Tread wear in the centre

If your tyre tread is worn along the centre of the tyre, the most likely cause is overinflation. However, it may also be caused by mismatched tyres and rims, or by the high torque on drive axles.

Make sure that the correct tyres are applied for the rims used, and ensure that the tyre pressure is adjusted to the recommended pressure according to location and load.

2.    Tread wear on both shoulders

This may also be caused by incorrect matching of tyres and rims, but is more likely caused by underinflation.

Once more, check to ensure the tyres and rims match, and adjust inflation pressure accordingly.

3.    Tread wear on one shoulder

Should a truck’s tyre tread be worn on one shoulder, there are several possible causes:

  • Excessive toe or camber, caused by misalignment
  • Non-parallel axles
  • Bent axle
  • Incorrect tyre and wheel assembly
  • Severe operating conditions

In this case, it is important to identify the cause of the tyre wear and correct any mechanical faults. If the tread wear is not too severe, it may be possible to turn the tyre on the rim.

4.    Tread wear is diagonal

Diagonal tread wear also has many possible causes:

  • Dismounting of tyre and wheel assembly to the trailer
  • Mismatched twins
  • Driving at high speed when empty
  • Improper bearing adjustment
  • Toe-out alignment

Identify the fault that is causing the irregular tread wear, and correct it. If the wear is not too severe, the tyre may be turned on the rim. If the tyre wear is caused by driving style, some driver education will be necessary.

5.    Tread wear is in flat spots

Flat spots on the tyre are usually caused by poor driving technique, with sharp braking causing wheels to lock and wear quickly in patches. However, it may also be that the truck’s braking system needs adjusting – for example, locking brakes may be caused by the incorrect adjustment of trailer brake controls.

Drivers should be reminded of driving technique and to avoid harsh braking, and braking systems should be checked and corrected.

Turning the tyre on the rim

Turning the tyre on the rim can extend the life of a tyre and reduce tyre costs. However, it must be done early enough so that wear is equalised. If the difference in the tread is 3mm or greater between shoulders, you should turn the tyre.

Wear on the sidewall could also be a sign that the tyre should be turned. If the lettering or sidewall indicator is disappearing, you should have the tyre checked to ensure that it is safe to turn.

At Darra Tyres, we provide a 24/7 commercial outside service, outside fitting, and truck callout service, in addition to our on-site services. To discover why so many businesses in Brisbane put their faith in our technicians, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

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Intelligent fleets will use intelligent tyres in the future, says Goodyear

Intelligent tyres are nearer to being standard than many think

Goodyear is anticipating big changes in the fleet tyre market in Australia. It believes that fleets will use intelligent tyres commonly in the near future, especially as the move toward car sharing and autonomous vehicles gathers pace. Is Goodyear right?

The role of tyres is changing

A few weeks ago, we published an article that discussed how fleet tyre management is set to move to autopilot. Goodyear had just shown its concept tyre, the Oxygene, at the Geneva Motor Show. Although Goodyear cannot be certain of when such tyres will be commercialised, it seems that Goodyear is planning for sooner rather than later.

At the nationwide launch of its Assurance TripleMax 2 tyre in Victoria, Raelene Smith, head of shopper merchandise and market insights at Goodyear and Dunlop Tyres, said “We’re seeing new technology in cars today. We’re seeing people with self-driving fleets always looking at autonomous vehicles and how they work. So, we envisage that, at some stage, the role of tyres will change.

The new role of fleet tyres

Fleet tyres – and those on car shares – have a very different role to play. Their job will be to optimise longevity and safety.

A vehicle which is shared between multiple drivers is unlikely to receive the attention of a personal vehicle. The last thing people are likely to check will be the tyres. It’s not their vehicle, and, even though from a safety aspect you should check your tyres before setting out, people without a real vested interest are unlikely to do so.

Therefore, from the point of view of safety and optimising tyre life, fleet tyres will need to be ‘intelligent’.

What are intelligent tyres?

Intelligent tyres collect information through sensors in the tyre and then provide this information to you. This information could tell you about tyre and tread wear, load and temperature, as well as tyre pressure. This information is then used to optimise performance.

The sensors can also relay information about road conditions, too, enabling fleet vehicles to ‘talk’ to each other, and helping fleets manage routes more effectively.

As well as increasing tyre life, this technology should help to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

To recap, the benefits include:

  • Longer tyre life
  • Greater safety on the road because of better information about road and tyre conditions
  • Better fuel consumption and lower fuel costs

Little wonder that the intelligent tyre sales are expected to hit more than 400 million by 2026.

When will intelligent tyres become mainstream?

The new technology available in new vehicles today is bringing intelligent tyres closer, faster. Autonomous fleets are approaching, and the role of tyres will change.

Goodyear has partnered with Tesla to work on improvements. It has also rolled out a ride-sharing service with intelligent tyres to optimise fleet performance in the United States. These are early-stage developments leading to greater access to intelligent tyres as the first choice.

When I think of how fast these tyres may become mainstream, it makes me look back at the replacement of leaded fuel with unleaded; slow to start, but as more cars were built to run on unleaded, the new fuel snowballed. In a few years, as intelligent tyres become the norm on new cars, you’ll need to replace today’s common tyres with intelligent tyres.

The next big move in vehicles is already happening: electric. My guess is that by the time the electric car is mainstream, intelligent tyres will already be fitted as standard on most new vehicles.

Meanwhile, for an intelligent tyre fitting service in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

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Look after your tyres in Brisbane, and slash your fleet costs

Five minutes could save your fleet a fortune on fuel

I’m going to offer all fleet managers in Brisbane a potential cost reduction of an average of 1% to 3%. All you need to do is read to the bottom of this article.

How much is 3% of your costs worth to your fleet?

I can’t tell you how much a 3% reduction of your costs would be worth to your fleet, but it’s likely to be a substantial sum. But what if I could also offer you lower maintenance expenses, less vehicle downtime, longer tyre life, and fewer roadside breakdowns?

I’m guessing you’re wondering how I can make such promises.

No, I’m not a magician. I’m simply coming at a common problem for fleets from a different angle. The secret is also the most common cause of complaints received by tyre retailers and manufacturers.

Deflate your costs by inflating your tyres

Most complaints received by tyre companies concern comfort of ride and wear of tyres. Tyre manufacturers spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to improve their product. When they receive a complaint, you can be sure that they employ every means possible to understand why.

What tyre manufacturers consistently find is that there isn’t a fault in the tyre. Usually, the reason for uneven tread wear or poor comfort while driving is underinflation. When your tyres are properly inflated, you’ll find that:

  • Your tyres suffer less wear
  • Your tyres last longer
  • Braking and ride comfort is improved
  • Your vehicle is less likely to swerve if you need to brake hard
  • Your fuel consumption falls

6 out of 10 tyres are underinflated on Australia’s roads

Toward the end of last year, TyreSafe Australia conducted a survey on tyre condition on passenger cars. The results were astounding. 6 out of 10 vehicles were being driven with underinflated tyres. Even worse, it was found that half the cars surveyed were unsafe as far as their tyres were concerned.

Are your drivers checking their tyres?

The question I’ve got for you is this: how often do your drivers check their tyres? Because if they aren’t checking for air pressure, they probably aren’t checking for signs of wear and tear.

If your drivers aren’t checking their tyres, they are putting their lives, and the lives of others, at risk. And, from a cost perspective, underinflated tyres increase your fuel consumption, cause damage to the vehicle, and result in higher costs.

It takes less than five minutes to check your tyres. Make sure your drivers check their tyres regularly. Before every trip would be fantastic. At least once a week should be the minimum standard.

Let Darra Tyres help you cut your fleet costs

The key takeaways are that improper tyre inflation is:

  • A safety issue for all drivers and other road users
  • A main underlying cause of complaints about tyres
  • A major cause of increased costs for fleet managers

Like I said earlier in this article, I’m not a magician. But I can advise your fleet’s drivers on tyre check routines and correct tyre inflation pressures. And that could save you between 1% and 3% of your fleet costs. Isn’t it time you benefitted from the professional and personal tyre service that you can trust in Brisbane? For more info about our services for fleets, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

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How can you reduce your fleet’s tyre costs in Queensland?

The three factors of fleet tyre management

When deciding their policy for changing tyres, the three factors that should be considered by fleets are cost, safety, and the law. Though you might think about these separately, each has an influence on the other. For example, the amount of depth remaining on the tread affects safety on the road. Waiting longer before changing tyres may reduce your costs, but it could put your fleet’s drivers in danger.

In this article, you’ll learn how to balance these three factors, and how your drivers can help to reduce tyre costs and fleet impact of downtime while tyres are being changed.

The tyre law in Queensland

By law, tyres must have at least 1.5mm of tread depth to be legal on the roads in Queensland. This must be the depth around the entire tyre and its width. If you drive on an illegal tyre, you could be given an on-the-spot fine and demerit points. It pays to know when you need new tyres, yet it is estimated that one in three Australians is currently driving on illegal tyres. A new tyre will have 8mm of tread depth.

The safety factor for fleet tyres

Tyres are essential tools for the safety of your fleet’s drivers. Braking distances are determined by several factors, and condition of tyres is high on the list. No matter how good a driver’s reflexes and the condition of the road, braking is dependent upon the grip the tyre has on the road.

If your fleet’s vehicles are being driven on tyres with 1.5mm tread, the distance they require to stop is 38% more than on a new tyre with 8mm tread depth. The danger of crashing in a fleet vehicle is increased when drivers switch between vehicles, as anticipated stopping distances differ between vehicles with tyres at different stages of wear.

It is also worth remembering that not all new tyres perform equally. Even though new tyres have the same 8mm tread depth, a premium brand tyre is likely to perform better than a budget tyre.

The cost factor for fleet tyres

If a fleet changes tyres too early, it can drastically increase costs. The greater the depth when you change tyres, the more often you will need to change them.

Development of new tyre technologies by tyre manufacturers is increasing tyre safety, and so you should be able to change at a lower tread depth. Research by Michelin has shown that changing tyres at 3mm or 4mm instead of 1.5mm leads to an extra tyre change every two years. Those sorts of costs soon mount up.

If your policy is currently to change when the tread depth reaches 2mm, increasing this to 3mm could increase your tyre costs by almost 20% – not an insignificant amount when your tyre costs may be as much as a third of your fleet’s maintenance budget.

How to reduce tyre costs for your fleet

As a company running a fleet of vehicles, you’ll need to take all the above factors into consideration to minimise costs, ensure your vehicles’ tyres are legal, and ensure the safety of your drivers. And your drivers could help you to keep your tyre costs low.

There are tricks that can be used to make commercial tyres last longer – such as never overloading, always checking tyre pressures, and using a good driving technique. But these are not the only ways in which drivers can have an impact on your costs. By using our fleet tyre management service, you can help your drivers take more responsibility for their tyres. By booking tyre services outside of work hours and calling ahead to make sure that the tyre dealer has the right tyre, downtime can be reduced – and that’s a positive contribution to your bottom line.

To find out more about the fleet tyre management services offered by Darra Tyres in Brisbane, contact us today. We’ll help you get the maximum number of kilometres from every tyre in your fleet.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

What does the future hold for truck fleets in 2018 and beyond?

In-cab technology may be the theme of 2018 for truck drivers and fleet managers

While I don’t have a crystal ball, it’s fun to think about what’s happening in the truck industry and how it might affect fleet management in the future. I looked at a couple of these last year when writing about driverless trucks coming to Brisbane and discussing the era of the Executive Truck Driver.

Now, many believe that driverless trucks will never take off. Not me. I think they could be closer than we think. They’re already being used in mines here in Australia, and road trials are taking place, too. However, for commercial fleets, we’re probably three to five years away from driverless trucks on Queensland’s roads. The technology is here, but laws must be changed. Insurance companies must come on board. Then there are the livelihoods of truck drivers to consider, too. Much work is to be done.

But this year, I think that we could see technology playing an increasingly big part of fleet management, as we move towards a driverless truck environment.

5 trends for truck fleets in 2018

1.    Trucks will ‘connect’ with fleet management

Trucks will be equipped with a lot more technology. Every aspect of the truck’s engine and infrastructure will be monitored in real time. Weather, road, and traffic conditions will be transmitted between vehicles, with drivers alerted in real time. Simultaneously, the same information will be sent to fleet managers.

This type of connectivity will begin to prepare drivers and fleet controllers to work in the new environment, where trucks become autonomous and drive themselves.

2.    Fleet managers will have more control

Advancing technology has helped fleet managers have better control over their vehicles for decades. Once upon a time, when a driver left the depot it would be hours before the fleet manager discovered the driver’s progress on the road.

Today, trucks can be tracked. Technology will allow fleet managers to monitor driver behaviours as well as the condition of the truck. It should enable fleets to retrain drivers who have slipped into bad habits and reduce costs incurred because of those bad habits.

3.    Truck drivers’ jobs are going to start changing

Truck drivers will need to adapt their working practices to encompass new in-cab technologies. Cabs are likely to become more like aeroplane cockpits, with bells and whistles alerting the driver to engine and truck issues, as well as road conditions ahead of them. They will need to interpret data received from other fleet vehicles and take remedial action to ensure their truck keeps moving.

4.    Fleet managers will become data crunchers

Technology advances will make more data available, and fleet managers will need to learn how to analyse and interpret the information that is flooding into the central system hub. New ways of working will, therefore, affect controllers and managers as well as drivers.

Effective analytical skills should enable fleet managers to manage fleets to increase efficiency. Fuel costs should be reduced, and delivery times cut. Vehicles should be safer on the roads.

5.    Fleet safety will become a technology issue

Fatalities in the haulage industry are still too high. It is one of the reasons why the industry is embracing driverless technologies. Before we get to this nirvana, increased technology is likely to become not just accepted, but expected. We already have safety features in trucks (such as lane departure alarms and rear view cameras). Expect more technology in trucks as the industry strives to increase safety on the road and eliminate accidents and fatalities.

The future of fleets is being created in 2018

Some fleets we work with are already embracing the newest technologies. Without a doubt, these technologies are changing the way that fleets work. Driver safety is already being positively affected, as technology reduces human error.

As autonomous, driverless trucks enter the industry and become commonplace in the future, the jobs of truck drivers will change. Many will probably disappear. But the success of autonomous trucks may depend on the success of the technological advances in trucks’ cabs and fleet management in 2018 and 2019.

A certainty is that changes are on their way. 2018 could be the year when we see the fastest change yet in fleet management. It could be the year that sets the scene for a move towards driverless trucks on our roads within a few years.

To find out about our comprehensive services for truck owners and fleets, contact Darra Tyres. Never be stranded on roads in and around Brisbane again – even when most of your trucks are driverless.

Keeping your business and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

How truck fleet managers can reduce the top cause of breakdowns in Queensland

A truck tyre strategy for every day and roadside emergencies

In studies across Australia and around the world, tyres are the number one reason trucks break down while on the road. In this article, you’ll find out how you can reduce tyre issues while your truck is on the road, and what to do if you do break down on the roads around Brisbane and Queensland.

Cutting costs is a top priority for Australian truck fleets

It’s likely that your fleet is already investing heavily in cutting costs.

However, the competitive and cost benefits of modern technology and new working routines will be lost with truck breakdowns. So why do they happen, and what could they cost you?

What could a roadside breakdown cost you?

A roadside breakdown often triggers a domino topple of costly actions. You may need your truck to be towed. There will be downtime. You will probably have to dispatch another truck. You have a driver with wasted hours.

And the money saved by platooning a convoy could be a drop in the ocean compared to the damage a single truck breakdown within the convoy could cause: dozens of missed deliveries or pick-ups, and a previously unblemished reputation shattered. You could lose customers.

How likely are tyres to be the cause of roadside breakdowns?

Tyres are the number one cause of truck breakdowns on the roads, but just how much more likely is your truck to suffer a tyre issue than any other while on the road?

The most telling data available comes from FleetNet America. They compiled data from 60,000 truck repair vendors across the United States, over a five-year period. The research found that one in four roadside truck breakdowns was because of tyre problems. Tyres cause roadside problems twice as often as brakes.

What a difference it could make to your fleet costs and efficiency if you never had a tyre failure, or when you did, it was dealt with more quickly.

Use a strategy to help your tyres last longer

Improved maintenance procedures should help to reduce tyre problems on the road. In our blog post ‘Truck tyres in Brisbane – tyre management strategies that slash costs’, we detailed a 7-step fleet tyre management strategy to cut tyre costs:

  1. Purchase the best tyres that fit the required purpose
  2. Track truck tyres from day one
  3. Delegate responsibilities
  4. Create a tyre maintenance policy and set out procedures
  5. Carry out regular tyre cleaning
  6. Decide on a tyre replacement and buying policy
  7. Analyse why tyres have been scrapped

With a comprehensive tyre maintenance strategy in place, the occurrence of tyre failures while your trucks are on the road should drastically reduce. But there will still be occasions when even the best tyre maintenance program can’t stop a tyre failure on the road. How you handle this could be the difference between retaining and losing customers.

Your on-the-road tyre emergency plan

Before your trucks leave the depot, make sure that your drivers are prepared for a tyre failure on the road:

  • Ensure that mobile phones and radio systems are fully charged and that drivers have fully charged spare batteries onboard
  • Drivers should have contact details for all customers on their route – phone numbers, email addresses, and social media accounts – to warn them of altered delivery times as soon as they can
  • Routes should be checked for accidents, roadworks, and other obstacles (e.g. weather) before leaving the depot
  • Check that the truck is fitted with emergency equipment, including jacks, fire extinguishers, food and water
  • Emergency numbers of 24/7 roadside maintenance and repair services

While prevention is always better than cure, it pays for your truck fleet to be prepared for all eventualities.

To find out about our comprehensive services for truck owners and fleets, including our 24/7 truck and commercial mobile service – covering Queensland from south of Southport to north of Warana and east of Laidley – contact Darra Tyres today. Your fleet should never be stranded on roads in and around Brisbane again.

Keeping your business and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Industrial Tyres – Don’t neglect your tractor tyres check!

Do you have agricultural machinery or tractors but don’t really have the time to use them on your land?

Neglecting tractor tyres, agricultural machinery tyres or any industrial tyres for that matter for an extended period of time can be deadly.

Tyres will start to perish after they have been sitting unused for quite some time. The dangers are only seen when it’s too late. Too many people think that because the vehicle or machinery is not being used then “the tyres must be fine, a bit of air and they will be good as new!”, this is not the case. Not matter how little use the tyres have received age will deteriorate tyres to an unsafe level for use.

But they looked fine…

A simple look over the tread of the tyre is not a comprehensive check. Dry rotting and cracks to the tyre sidewall can occur and this is what can cause a tyre to burst. A tyre burst can be extremely deadly no matter how big the vehicle or machine. Especially on a large tractor or plough a burst tyre can cause the vehicle to roll, veer off course and cause accidents.

Is there a timeline on how long my tyres will last?

There is no expiry date like a litre of milk would have. As a guide tyres will start to lose the natural oils about 5 years after production. All tyres are produced with a serial Tyre Identification Number (TIN). It’s generally written in a 4 digit style. E.g 3494 is the 34th week of 1994, or 2806 is the 28th week of 2006.

What to do if you’re really not sure whether or not you tyres are safe…

It’s simple, give the team at Darra Tyres a call on 3333 5510 and our mobile service team will come out to our commercial customers or you can bring the tyre down to us at Darra for a proper inspection of the tyres condition and air pressure. If you’re not sure then it’s probably not safe. Always ask an expert. And what better experts than the team at Darra Tyres who have over 100 years combined experience in the tyre and automotive industry. Give us a call or enquire online to speak with one of our experts today!

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin and Darra Team

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