Tires are going to wear out over time and occasionally have blowouts. It's frustrating when it happens to your personal car, but even more when a business vehicle is out of commission. It's an unexpected expense not just for the price of new tires but in employee downtime and potential missed deadlines.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to anticipate and avoid a blowout on a company vehicle while on the road.
- Give Regular Inspections
It's important to simply give each tire a visual inspection regularly, and conduct a more in-depth inspection on occasion. A simple visual inspection is to assure the tires are well inflated, not worn down beyond recommendation, and don't have any nails, screws or debris in the treads which could cause potential troubles. A deeper inspection involves a few more steps.
- Ensure Proper Inflation
The first step of a deeper inspection is to check the tire pressure with a gauge. It may be over- or under-inflated without being visibly so. If the pressure is too low, the tires overheat which can cause a blowout. If too high, the tires are stretched beyond what they were intended for and can also be susceptible to blowouts. In addition to preventing blowouts, proper tire pressure provides the performance the vehicle was designed for with a balance of efficient traction and gas mileage. The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends checking your tire pressure at least once per month.
- Provide Regular Maintenance
Beyond keeping the tires properly inflated, additional maintenance involves tire balancing and rotation. Balancing assures the weight is evenly distributed around the circumference of the wheel, providing an even and smooth ride. Rotation distributes the way the tires wear according to the way the vehicle handles.
- Stick to the Replacement Schedule
The replacement schedule for tires is based on two factors. The first is the actual tread left on the tire. When the remaining tread lines up with the marked points between treads, it is time to replace the tire. The second factor is the mileage as guaranteed by the tire manufacturer.
- Educate Employees on Driving Style
Unfortunately, with fleet vehicles you don't have direct control over each employee's driving style. Still, it's important to incorporate a policy toward safe driving as it is not only a good idea in general, but excessively fast acceleration, braking, and cornering all lead to tire wear and potential blowouts.