With fleets being forced to park up as work dries up due to the restrictions put in place to manage the coronavirus pandemic, haulage firms have warned that they could face big repair bills when they put their vehicles back into action.
Tyre manufacturer Michelin says vehicles need to be prepared for extended parking, with tyres in particular not “designed to carry the weight of a parked truck or trailer indefinitely”, The Truck Expert reports.
Rob Blurton, Michelin’s most senior technical field engineer in the UK and Ireland, says it’s essential that operators follow guidance to ensure vehicles can be quickly returned to service when freight volumes return to normal, and without the need to replace tyres unnecessarily.
He has provided some advice for firms to help them protect the condition of their fleet’s tyres and ensure vehicles remain ready to get back to work when the time is right.
Before a vehicle is parked up – potentially for months on end – Blurton says that all tyres should be inspected for visible damage such as cuts or bulges and abnormal wear, and cold tyre inflation pressures checked for all tyre positions.
For any tyre that is found to be under-inflated by up to 14psi, checks should be made for any visible cause. If nothing is found, the tyre should be inflated to the recommended level. If under-inflated by more than 14psi, the tyre should be demounted and the tyre’s interior should be inspected for signs of internal damage, such as mottling and creasing.
If mounted in a twinned configuration, the twinned assembly should also be demounted and inspected. Operators should also ensure each valve is fitted with an appropriate valve cap.
If a vehicle is sat dormant for four months, it should be driven around the yard where possible. If a vehicle can’t be moved for any reason, the tyres should be rotated a quarter turn. However, before any truck or trailer is moved, visual checks should be undertaken for signs of under-inflation. If a tyre doesn’t look right, follow the same guidance as previously stated.
Before commissioning any vehicle back into operation, check the cold tyre inflation pressure of all tyres and adjust in line with the tyre manufacturer’s guidance.
Blurton acknowledges that it’s not normal for an operator to see their fleet parked up for extended periods. By following his guidance, vehicles will be able to be commissioned back into work quicker – minus any hefty repair bills.
If your firm has been forced to suspend operations, have the following checks been made? Pass this guidance on!