Automotive Fleet

FEB 2014

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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Page 47 of 73

FINDING THE BALANCE BETWEEN AUTOMOTIVE FLEET I FEBRUARY 2014 44 Tire safety goes beyond a quick check of the pressure — it also includes ignoring the myths that can lead to dangerous outcomes. W hether it's the middle of a historic winter blizzard or a scorching, sticky summer day, properly maintained tires keep vehicles on the road and run- ning safely. When it comes to tire safety, though, in addition to the high number of tips out there to help keep the rubber on the road, there are also some myths that can get drivers in a heap of trouble if they are blindly followed. To sif through this pile of possibilities and f nd the gems — and discard the fables — AF reached out to experts on the subject. Don't Believe the Hype Roger Marble, consultant, spent four de- cades in the tire industry, working for a ma- jor manufacturer developing tires for applica- tions in North, Central, and South America. In that time, he came across a handful of tire safety myths that have never ever been true: ✔ You can check air pressure by just looking at your tires or kicking the tires. According to Marble, this method is usu- ally of by 10-20 percent or more. ✔ A plug-type repair or using f at f xer f uid injected through the valve is OK. Neither tire companies nor the U.S. Department of Transportation accept this practice, and it will void the tire warranty. ✔ Re-inf ating a tire that has been run more than 10 percent low will make it A-OK. "T is is like believing that put- ting the potato salad back in the refriger- ator af er it sat all day out in the sun will make it OK to eat," Marble noted. ✔ As long as there is tread design lef , the tire is safe to use. Certain applica- tions do not put a lot of miles on a tire, so the tire rubber can get too old to properly stretch, causing it to crack. "Tires should be inspected by a tire dealer and a written report issued af er f ve years of use and every year thereaf er, and replaced at 10 years, no matter how much tread is lef ," Marble said. ✔ It is OK to ignore the warning from tire pressure monitor system (TPMS), as you can probably drive for hundreds of miles before service is needed. As with any vehicle warning system, drivers need to take them seriously — ignoring them could cause damage to the vehicle or pos- sibly an accident. Inf ate, Rotate & Evaluate Kurt Berger, manager, consumer sales engineering for tire manufacturer Bridges- tone Americas, of ered a trio of tips to help f eet drivers ride on road-ready rubber: ● Inf ate: T e most important aspect of tire maintenance is proper tire inf a- tion. "Tires can lose one pound per square inch per month under normal conditions," Berger explained. ● Rotate: Regular tire rotations also will help prevent irregular and premature wear. According to Berger, as many as 40 percent of drivers have not rotated their tires within the recommended distance of 5,000-7,500 miles. ● Evaluate: Routinely look for signs of tread wear or damage. "T e 'penny test' is a simple way to check tread wear," said Berg- er. "Place a penny in the tread. If Lincoln's head is visible, the treads are too worn and need replacing." FACT AND FICTION SPECIAL FLEET SAFETY SERIES SPONSORED BY VOLVO CARS NORTH AMERICA A F 0 2 1 4 s a f e t y . i n d d 4 4 AF0214safety.indd 44 1 / 2 3 / 1 4 9 : 4 0 A M 1/23/14 9:40 AM

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