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Truck Tyres

Real-time truck tyre pressure monitoring is here with Goodyear (almost)

The Goodyear TPMS could have multiple benefits for fleet operators

One of the bugbears of fleet managers is wear and tear on truck tyres. One of the most common causes of extra wear and tear on a tyre is running at incorrect tyre pressure, which also causes handling and safety issues and harms fuel consumption. All these benefits of maintaining the correct pressure in a truck’s tyres are well known. Yet doing so remains difficult.

It’s hard to check tyre pressure on trucks that are constantly on the move. When they are parked long enough for pressures to be checked, it’s not an easy job. Getting to the valves can cause new leaks that cause new problems.

All these issues may disappear soon. Goodyear & Dunlop Australia are currently trialling their real-time Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), and indications are that it will be introduced as a service later this year.

How does the real-time TPMS work?

Goodyear’s system uses sensors on each wheel. These transmit pressure and temperature information every two minutes to a telematics box on the truck.

The telematics box transmits this information via mobile networks to a cloud-based server. This is where the magic really works. The information is crunched, and Goodyear applies a set of algorithms to it. These tell the system if an issue has occurred, so that the fleet manager can decide if action must be taken. This should prevent truck tyre issues becoming bigger problems.

The system doesn’t simply consider the tyre pressure. It also considers the effect that the temperature of the tyre has on tyre pressure.

What difference does the TPMS make to a fleet?

When drivers and technicians make manual tyre pressure checks, it is impossible to accurately allow for the effect of temperature on tyre pressure. While these changes in pressure may be small, they could signal a leak. Having this advanced warning, especially from trucks that are on the road and in motion, could help to prevent more costly repairs, the need for new tyres, or, in extreme cases, life-threatening accidents.

Making a repair to a small leak puncture could prolong a truck tyre’s life by several thousand kilometres, as well as that of the partner tyre in dual applications.

Alerts from the TPMS can also prevent the need for dangerous roadside repairs. When the system tells a fleet manager that there is an issue, time can be allotted to make the repair in the depot or at a tyre specialist’s shop. This early warning and prompt action also helps to prevent further damage to the tyre.

The TPMS alerts also provide information about other issues, such as uneven loading or problems with the brakes.

When will the Goodyear real-time TPMS go live?

The trials being carried out by Goodyear are proving very promising, with issues being discovered within minutes with pinpoint accuracy. While fewer than 1% of tyres being tested have needed urgent attention, the ability to know exactly which tyre and where on the tyre an issue exists is proving to be a big benefit to users.

The success to date has prompted Goodyear to announce that they will exhibit the system at the Brisbane Truck Show from 16th May 2019, and it is expected to be offered as a commercial service later this year. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we know for certain.

For all your tyre needs, contact Darra Tyres – we’ll see you right.

Keeping your family and fleet safe 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

9 tips to get the best from your off-road truck tyres in Queensland

How to drive safe and sure when you’re off-road

Goodyear’s Wrangler DuraTrac tyre was recently voted the best off-road truck tyre by readers of ‘Off Road’ magazine. It’s the fifth year running that it’s won the accolade, and once more the tyre polled over 20% of the votes from 20,000 readers. Goodyear has now won best off-road tyre in the annual poll every year that the magazine’s readers have been surveyed.

Goodyear’s Chief Marketing Officer for Europe said, “This award is particularly important for us because the readers of ‘Off Road’ magazine are true experts with high demands when it comes to off-road tyres. It shows that the Wrangler DuraTrac lives up to its promises.”

In this article, you’ll learn how to get the best from the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tyre, or any other off-road truck tyre you buy.

1.    Drive with momentum rather than acceleration

When you’re driving in muddy conditions, or through sand, avoid the temptation to put your foot down on the accelerator. Instead, you should accelerate into the mud or sand and use your momentum to travel, keeping your speed constant. It will prevent your truck tyres from spinning, losing traction, and becoming stuck.

2.    Select the right gear and turn off the ‘diff lock’

It’s best to drive in a lower gear and make your engine work harder when driving through mud or sand. If your truck has a differential lock (a diff lock) make sure it’s turned off. The diff lock makes sure that wheels on the same axle rotate at the same speed. On smooth roads this is great, but off-road you’ll want to allow the wheels to rotate with resistance. A wheel with less resistance will spin faster, and you’ll get more grip.

3.    Don’t fight resistance, and brake gently

As you drive off-road, you’ll come across a range of different terrains. You’ll meet resistance, too. Don’t fight this. Go with the flow. Your off-road truck tyres will find the best route through.

When driving through mud or sand, deflate your tyres a little. It increases the footprint and helps you to accelerate in a lower gear as you build momentum to carry you through. Always accelerate and brake gently.

4.    Plan the course ahead

As you are driving through different terrains, try to plan the course you want your vehicle to take. Rocky outcrops are particularly tough on truck tyres, and sand can hide sharp rocks below. These could slash your tyres and damage your truck. Remember, your tyres will try to find a way through, so don’t fight resistance. Instead, use it to inform your course.

5.    Don’t drown the engine!

When you’re crossing a river or flood, take extra care. You may not see rocks in the water. Sandy bottoms can quickly suck you in. Look at the terrain around the water to figure out what type of river bed you are probably dealing with.

Take note of the flow of water if you are crossing a river. It can tell you a lot about how you should traverse the river, and where you should enter and exit.

Disconnect or jam the fan belt to avoid it damaging the radiator or causing water to splash over your vehicle’s electrics.

Drive at a steady speed, and once clear of the water brake gently to lose water from the brakes. Stop, check the truck over. Look at the engine, gearbox, and axle oil for signs of water. If the oil is a milky colour, it means water has mixed with it. If this is the case, you’ll need to drain the oil and replace before continuing.

6.    Drive with company

It’s always best to make off-road trips with at least two vehicles. If you get stuck, the other vehicle can haul you out (providing you have the right equipment – tow ropes and shovels, for example).

7.    Remember that your company changes terrain

The vehicle in front of you will change the terrain as it passes over it. Rocks get dislodged, and mud and sand become ridged and rutted. Coming out of rivers, banks can become extra slippery. Watch for changing terrain and alter course and momentum accordingly.

8.    Know how to get unstuck

Everyone gets stuck at least once when driving off-road. Here’s how to get unstuck:

  • Don’t panic.
  • Attempt to reverse the way you came, slowly.
  • If this doesn’t work, start digging!
  • Dig around your truck tyres to clear a run-off.
  • Place the mats or branches where you have dug to provide your off-road tyres with extra grip.
  • Use a low gear to creep through, accelerating slowly to build momentum.
  • If you are with company, if it’s possible to do so always have them pull you out.

9.    Buy the very best off-road truck tyres you can afford

Finally, don’t neglect your tyres when planning an off-road trip. Check your tyres before you leave, and make sure they are the best your budget can buy. And, whatever you do, do not neglect your spare.

Contact Darra Tyres today and make sure you are properly prepared to go off-road in Queensland. We have an extensive range of off-road and truck tyres to suit all vehicles and budgets.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

7 tips to make your truck tyres last longer in Queensland

Increase value from your truck tyres

Tyres are one of a truck fleet’s largest expenses. Whether your vehicles run long, uninterrupted trips on highways and motorways, or do their business on stop/start routes through Brisbane and along the Gold Coast, Queensland’s road surfaces will eventually take their toll.

These seven tips for taking care of your truck tyres will reduce maintenance needs, cut fuel costs, and lengthen the life of your tyres. They will also ensure your drivers and their loads are as safe as possible on the roads in Queensland.

1.    Give tyres the once-over at every pit stop

A visual inspection of a truck’s tyres should be carried out at every rest break. Early warning of cracks or bulges in the sidewall is essential for safety. Look for sharp objects, and other road debris stuck in the tyre treads, as well as uneven wear and tear.

2.    Take note of tread wear

You don’t need to be a detective to recognise what tread wear is trying to tell you about your truck. During a visual inspection, look for the following wear patterns:

  • Wear on the tyre’s shoulder indicates underinflation
  • Wear through the centre shows the tyre has been driven while overinflated
  • Uneven wear shows that the wheels probably need realigning

3.    Rotate your tyres regularly

Not all wear and tear is even on all truck tyres. Loaded trucks exert different weight on all tyres. Depending on the work and types of loads your fleet hauls, we’d recommend tyre rotation at a maximum of 60,000 to 80,000 kilometres. Tyres on trailers may require more regular rotation. No two fleets are the same, so it’s best to customise your rotation methods and policies to your requirements. We’d be happy to help you decide the optimum schedule and pattern of your fleet’s tyre rotation. (A further tip here is to make sure you alter tyre inflation to the recommended levels every rotation.)

4.    Keep your truck tyres properly inflated

When tyres are improperly inflated, handling, fuel consumption and braking are all adversely affected. Systems like Continental’s latest truck tyre pressure monitoring system work on all brands and ensure a truck’s tyres are optimally inflated at all times. When you use such a system across your entire fleet, you should notice fuel consumption reduce and tyre life lengthen.

For smaller fleets without tyre pressure monitoring systems, drivers and maintenance staff should check tyre pressure regularly, when the tyres are cold.

5.    Align truck wheels regularly

When a truck’s wheels are misaligned, the tyres will wear irregularly. Fuel costs will rise, and tyres will need to be replaced sooner rather than later. Handling will also be affected. Check alignment at regular intervals, and every rotation.

6.    Keep truck wheels balanced

Truck tyres are easily thrown out of balance. Damage to tyres is a prime cause of this. A noticeable effect of poor wheel balance is vibrations while driving – which makes handling more difficult, and can affect suspension systems.

When truck tyres are fitted for the first time, they should be balanced correctly. After this, ensure that they are balanced at least once per year, and certainly, if they are repaired. If a driver does experience vibrations, get in touch with the team here at Darra Tyres, and book for an emergency assessment of your tyres. It could reduce fuel costs and, more importantly, save a life.

7.    Always get tyres repaired by professionals

Whether repairing or retreading tyres, the work should be carried out by professional tyre technicians. The team here at Darra carry out complete inspections on truck tyres. We look for damage, patch as required, and when a truck tyre needs replacing, we’ll ensure it is replaced with the best tyre for the job your truck does here in Queensland.

For all your fleet tyre needs here in Brisbane, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Can low rolling resistance truck tyres save you money?

How not to jeopardise driver safety when you save on fuel costs

As a fleet manager, you’ll know that a truck’s tyres could be responsible for as much as 30% of fuel consumption. It is because contact with the ground causes a truck tyre to heat up and deform. It is rolling resistance. The higher the rolling resistance, the harder the engine must work to turn the wheels, and the higher your fuel consumption.

It stands to reason that a low rolling resistance tyre (LRRT) will reduce fuel consumption and cut costs. But are LRRTs worth the extra cost? And how do you choose the best for your trucks?

A little history of LRRTs

Low rolling resistance truck tyres have been around for decades. Michelin pioneered the technology back in the mid-1990s. Since then, the major tyre manufacturers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on research and development in this field. Their aim is to sell more tyres, of course. To do this, they must produce tyres which are more reliable, and which deliver better energy performance with a longer life expectancy. Not only this, but fleet managers want their drivers to benefit from a better grip on the roads.

LRR technology is not simply about lowering running costs. If your drivers’ safety is compromised, better fuel consumption means nothing.

What affects your choice of LRRTs?

An LRRT has a different rubber composition to standard tyres. They are designed differently, and the tread is constructed to reduce resistance. They run more smoothly. However, it is not enough to simply buy the tyre with the lowest rolling resistance. The tyre that produces the lowest resistance on the road depends on several factors, including:

  • The type of vehicle on which the truck tyres will be fitted
  • The engine type
  • Loading
  • Axle torque
  • Type of roads and the conditions driven in, including weather and traffic
  • Driving style
  • Maintenance program

What other factors affect your choice of a truck tyre?

In addition to rolling resistance, you will probably also be concerned about surface grip and noise level. There will always be a compromise between different tyres and the business they are required to do in your fleet. Consider the advice provided by the manufacturers of your vehicles and tyre specialists.

Going green – an added benefit of LRRTs

A by-product of driving on LRRTs is that they reduce your CO2 numbers. Less fuel is consumed, so less harmful gases are released. If using LRRTs reduces fuel consumption by 1 litre per 100 kilometres in your fleet, this is equivalent to 2.66kg lower CO2 emissions per 100 kilometres. It is a reduction of 2.6 tonnes per 100,000 km!

No compromise on comfort

When a driver is in the seat of a truck for hours on end, their comfort is imperative. Fully inflated tyres are designed to soften the effects of potholes, cracks, bumps, and other imperfections on our roads. The major brands include comfort in their tyre tests, and LRRTs benefit from some of the highest comfort ratings.

However, the comfort level is not entirely the result of the type of tyre you equip your trucks with. It is also dependent on the even distribution of load, tyre inflation, driving style, and maintenance of tyres and vehicle.

More expensive, but cheaper!

LRRTs tend to be more expensive than other tyres. However, this initial outlay can be quickly recouped. These tyres give optimal performance when matched correctly to vehicle and use. Your trucks will cover more miles between fuel refills. Low rolling resistance tyres pay for themselves.

How do you select the best LRRT for your fleet?

With every new generation of low rolling resistance tyre, the fuel consumption numbers improve. So does longevity. However, unless driver safety can be maintained or improved, then the extra mileage and lower fuel costs are irrelevant.

When deciding on which tyre is the best for your fleet, consider what it will be used for, where and how. There is a reason why tyre manufacturers develop a range of tyres for different uses. The strain placed on a construction vehicle tyre is different to that experienced by a tyre used for a general transport vehicle. Long-distance journeys wear tyres in a different way to urban delivery routes.

For the best advice for your fleet tyre needs, contact us today. Our mission is simple:

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Truck tyres – How to buy the best retreads

Truck tyres – Can retreads be as good as new truck tyres?

When it comes to truck parts, its tyres are probably the most important. They’re the sole connection between you and the ground, and they play a massive part in braking and handling. Only with the right truck tyres will you be able to haul your load safe and secure.

In this article, I’ll explain the benefits of using retread truck tyres, how they are produced, and give you a few tips to make sure that when you buy retreads for your truck, they won’t blow out half a kilometre down the road.

What is a retread truck tyre?

Simply put, a retread is a tyre casing that is reused. The old, worn tread is removed and replaced with new.

How is a retread truck tyre made?

Retreads are manufactured by either hot retreading or cold retreading.

On a suitable casing, a new tread is added. The casing itself must be stable and undamaged. Finding a suitable candidate for retreading can be hard because most truck tyres have done hundreds of thousands of kilometres before the haulier is ready to discard it because of worn tread.

Once a suitable casing has been found, any remaining tread is skimmed off. The result is a smooth casing ready for retreading.

When a hot retread method is used, hot rubber is gradually added to the casing in thin strips around the tyre. Once the depth is correct, the whole tyre is put in the press. It heats the tyre to 300 degrees Fahrenheit plus. The press also imprints the new truck tyre rubber with the tread pattern.

In the cold retread method, instead of strips of rubber, a whole ring of rubber is added to the base tyre. We then use a machine called an autoclave to add steam and apply pressure until the new rubber has bonded to the old.

Whichever method is used to retread a tyre, the truck tyre is tested for resistance and resilience to the loads that it will be subjected to when in service on the road carrying your products.

What is the advantage of retreads over new tyres?

The most obvious advantage over new tyres is the cost. A retread uses around a third of the rubber needed to produce a new tyre. The typical truck tyre requires 21 gallons of oil in production – a retread uses only around 7 gallons. The typical cost of a retread truck tyre is around 50% of its new equivalent (though it does vary).

However, there are other benefits that are less obvious. For example, retread tyres are the green option. As we’ve seen, retreads need less oil to produce. As well as this, each retread tyre is a tyre that has been salvaged and recycled. In the United States, three out of every four truck tyres are recycled, and most of these are retreaded.

Every truck tyre retreaded is a truck tyre that isn’t discarded in a tyre dump. That’s safer for all and better for the environment.

The big question: are retread truck tyres safe?

The one-word answer is ‘yes’. A good retread can be as good as a new tyre. If you want proof of just how reliable it can be, look at the airline industry. I doubt that you’d find heavier loads and tougher conditions in which tyres operate. An aeroplane tyre could be retreaded dozens of times before being discarded.

Not convinced? Look at your insurance forms. Nowhere will you see that you need to declare that you use retreads. That’s a big pointer to the safety of retreads right there. If retreads were less safe than new tyres, insurance companies would be all over it like a tramp on a sandwich – any excuse to squeeze a few more dollars from drivers.

How do you buy quality retreads?

To make sure you get the best out of your retreads you should ensure that they are as good as new tyres. You wouldn’t use a sub-par, shoddy new tyre, so don’t accept retreads that are below the standard you’d expect from a new tyre.

Here are a few tips when buying retreads for your trucks:

1.     Don’t buy on price alone

You’ll save money with retreads, but you get what you pay for. As with all tyres, the real cost benefit is in how long they last, and the kilometres they cover before they need to be replaced. Always buy the highest quality retread from the highest quality retreader in Brisbane.

2.     Make sure you see samples and testimonials before buying

Ask to review the retreader’s work, reviewing testimonials from satisfied customers and examples of retreaded tyres.

3.     Take a look at the testing equipment

Ask to see testing equipment, and ask to see it in action. If the retreader doesn’t have any, then you better move on to the next retreader as fast as possible.

4.     Don’t go alone

Take someone with you to inspect the tyre shops and retreading facility. Two sets of eyes are better than one, and especially if the second set is someone from your tyre department.

Follow these four simple steps, and there should be no reason why your truck retreads are every bit as good as the new tyres you used to spend twice as much buying.

Contact us today (by Skype, telephone, or on our contact form) and book an appointment to check out the quality of our retreads.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Mining Tyres & OTR Truck Tyres from Darra Tyres Brisbane

There has been talk of a shortage of mining tyres in Australia due to China’s insatiable demand for Australian commodities.

The addition of new trucks for the mines and replacing tyres on these trucks to keep up the demand from China has caused a gap in the supply of tyres for mining and OTR vehicles.

How we are adjusting to look after your vehicles needs…

We have been actively looking for new suppliers and ways to bring our customers the products they need on time so they can get the job done. We understand how costly downtime is for a million dollar truck to just be sitting in the yard. Remote mining towns in Queensland can now order the tyres they need for their mining and OTR vehicles and we will do the rest.

What information do we need to get the right mining tyres or OTR truck tyres for you?

We understand how harsh the working conditions are in the mining towns across Australia so we know that you need good quality tyres to get the job done. To get the right tyres for your vehicle we will need to know:

  • Make of the vehicle
  • Model of the vehicle
  • Year
  • Application of the vehicle
  • Terrain and working environment
  • Average speed of the vehicle
  • Average distance travelled

Why do you need to know this?

Each application and vehicle will need a different tyre. So it is imperative that we get the correct tyre for the right vehicle, working environment and application.

How will I get my tyres to the job site?

When we know what kind of tyres you require we will find the most cost effective solution to deliver them to you as quick as possible. We can give you a no obligation free quote which will include the freight or shipping of the product to your desired location.

To find out more Contact Us, you can come down to 5 Station Ave Darra, call or email us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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