Fleet management

Tyres: when pressure rhymes with safety and savings

  • 30/05/23
  • 5 min

While the average life of a truck tyre varies from 120,000 to 220,000 kilometres, if the same tyre was designed to have several lives, it can last up to 600,000 kilometres. Tyres are a major source of wear and tear and require increased vigilance; they must be closely monitored!

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The tyre is the link to the road, transmitting all the power of the engine, and carrying the whole vehicle.

During a typical vehicle service, tyre maintenance often comes first, as the examination of the tyres can indicate vehicle problems and show areas that may need further investigation. give details of any ‘symptoms’ of the vehicle and its general condition. For example, if the tyres show irregular wear, they can point the technician towards potential problems with the suspension, steering or front end.

The condition of the tyres is a good indicator of possible mechanical faults.

The first thing to check before repairs are carried out is the tyre pressure.

“If we see an obvious loss of pressure, we investigate to identify a possible puncture. If there is a puncture, we place a ‘mushroom’ (patch) through the inside of the tyre and re-inflate it. “At Fraikin, we believe that an operation on the inside of the tyre guarantees the safety and reliability of the repair, unlike an operation on the outside,” explains Dominique Reveleau, Workshop Manager at the Fraikin branch in Emerainville.


Uniformity of wear and tear: an economic logic

Did you know? A tyre wears out twice as fast if it is fitted to the front of a vehicle rather than the rear. This is because the vehicle’s traction force and steering cause faster wear. At Fraikin, in order to preserve the existing tyres, the rear tyres, less worn, are mounted at the front and only the rear tyres are replaced by new ones. This ensures the best use of tyres and the most economical and ecological approach.

In the case where a tyre is worn on one side more than the other, the rim return technique is used to balance the wear on the less worn side.

“To rebalance the wear, we remove the tyre from the rim and turn it inside out, putting the outside on the inside. In this way, the tyre continues to wear, but in a uniform manner,” Dominique Reveleau continues.

Economically, it makes absolute sense: if tyre maintenance is not carried out with rigour , then the overall wear and tear of the vehicle accelerates, resulting in downtime and increased repair costs.


Heavy duty tyres: a specific treatment

“The truck tyre has three lives: its life as a new tyre, a second life when we retread it and a third life, after retreading,” explains Dominique Reveleau.

Indeed, after its life as a new tyre, the truck tyre will be re-cut. Retreading consists of re-creasing the tyre by heating the rubber: the patterns are reworked in compliance with the standards indicated by the gauge wells, which indicate how deep the tyre should be reworked.

For its third life, the truck tyre goes back to the manufacturer (Bridgestone for Fraikin). During the maintenance operation, the tyre is dismantled, sent back to the tyre manufacturer, who will remove the tread and replace it with a new one. Once this operation has been carried out, the truck tyre can be driven for hundreds of thousands of kilometres! According to the French Rubber and Polymers Centre, “a new top-of-the-range tyre covers an average of 100,000 additional kilometres and has an average life span of 220,000 kilometres. As this tyre is designed to be retreaded, it will double or even triple its lifespan and achieve 440,000 km or 660,000 km respectively.”


How to maximise the life of your tyres?

In addition to the pressure, which should be checked at least once a week to ensure the balance of the tyres, Dominique Reveleau, workshop manager at the Fraikin branch in Emerainville, warns us: “Beware of climbing on the pavements! It doesn’t seem like much, but given the structure inside the tyre, it’s essential to pay attention. In a tyre, you have a metal structure made up of small cables, and by climbing on pavements you increase the risk of hernia and bursting tenfold.”


Good pressure: the key to a safe guarantee

All tyres should be checked monthly with a pressure gauge.

The right tyre pressure means less aquaplaning, less tyre overheating, lower fuel consumption and longer tyre life.

Tyre pressures should always be checked when the tyres are cold, as rolling causes the temperature, and therefore the pressure, to rise.

If the pressure found at the time of the manual check is more than 1 bar higher than recommended, a more complete pressure check should be carried out.

From July 2022, semi-trailers and trailers will have to be equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system called TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems).


The right tyre for every vehicle on the road

There are several types of tyres. Light commercial vehicles are equipped with road, all-season or snow tyres. Heavy goods vehicles also have a road model, as well as mixed tyres – on site approach, and specific tyres for site travel.

As a result, each Fraikin branch stocks tyres according to the region in which it is located. For example, if a branch is close to an area with a lot of construction sites, it will have more construction tyres in stock. This will also be the case for a branch located in a mountainous area.


Recycling: how are tyres processed?

Once a tyre has reached the end of its life, it is sent for recycling. “At Fraikin, we work with Aliapur, which collects all our tyres,” continues Dominique Reveleau.

Once processed, the tyres are shredded and transformed into a multitude of products that we use every day: fitness mats, road surfacing, the floor of a children’s playground, or even artificial turf…

In brief

It cannot be repeated often enough: checking tyre pressure is crucial to keeping a vehicle in good condition, optimising fuel consumption, as well as ensuring maximum safety for the carrier and any goods. Proper tyre maintenance increases the longevity of the vehicle, reduces downtime and therefore reduces costs.

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