As a successful fleet manager, you might spend a fair amount of time thinking about what’s happening on the inside of each vehicle in your fleet. But when it comes to the actual impact each car is making on the road, how do you account for tire use? According to many fleet management professionals, the key to keeping a fleet going is having the proper tire maintenance systems in place. You might have a handle on everything else going on in your fleet, from ways to get the best gas mileage to impeccable driver training to a seamless preventative maintenance routine for each car. You might even visit WatchCard.com for fuel cards without fees to create even more savings for the company. However, if you’re not paying attention to the cost, maintenance, and type of tires you’re using for your fleet, you’re in danger of hurting your bottom line. If you want to up your game and create a more efficient fleet, here’s what you need to do to keep your tires lasting longer and performing better.
Create a Tire Policy
Before you do anything, you need to create a tire policy that easily lays out everything you’re responsible for when it comes to each vehicle’s tires. What is a tire policy, you may ask? It’s different for every manager, but in general, a good policy will encompass the following areas of maintenance: speed, rotation, air pressure, and alignment. While most drivers don’t check their air pressure until it’s time for an oil change (about every 3-5 months,) fleet managers can’t afford to be careless and depend on the low pressure light on to let them know there’s a problem. In general, if the light has to go on first, the issue has already advanced further than it should have. Checking tire pressure is simple enough, as long as your maintenance team knows that it’s required after every ride. In terms of tire rotation and alignment, it helps to stay consistent with these as well. Each of these criteria should be consistently checked and logged after each ride to ensure that worn out or failing tires don’t become the cause of costly problems for your fleet.
Do the Right Preventative Maintenance
Contrary to popular belief, tire care isn’t just about replacing the odd flat and giving your tires a quick rotation every six months. To keep cars on safely on the road for longer, each car needs to go through a series of preventative maintenance checks both before and after a ride. When it comes to managing a fleet, you can’t be too careful. Getting a flat or blow out in a regular vehicle is dangerous enough if you’re on a non-commercial trip. If you’re driving a truck full of time-sensitive cargo, getting an easily-avoided flat tire or dealing with wear and tear isn’t just potentially dangerous, it also puts your entire business at risk. Your cars need to be able to stay on the road without issue. Keeping track of tire maintenance is part of that. When vehicles start showing up late or with spoiled products due to delays, your business starts to suffer because of it.
Know Performance Standards
When you buy gas cards for your fleet, it’s not a decision you make arbitrarily. A good fleet manager will have done the research, comparing different costs and the performance value of each gas type before making a choice. It should be the same with your tires. If you get a new car into the fleet, don’t assume that its tires are up to standard even if they’re brand new. If you want to keep things as consistent as possible, find the most trustworthy brand and stick with it, even if it means prematurely replacing some of your older tires. When trying to find the best tires for the job, you should be looking at ratings, lifespan, and speed to come up with a comprehensive cost-per-mile chart. You can use this to test new brands, decide when to retire an older set of wheels, and find the most competitive performer on the market.
Record All Costs
As a fleet manager, you’re already used to recording everything. From driver and GPM stats to individual job times and rises and in gas costs, a huge part of your job relies on knowing how much everything costs almost up to the second. Tires shouldn’t be any different. If you already use technology to auto-record statistics for each job, you can easily add in tire performance as a key factor if you haven’t already. You’ll be able to collect data instantly and find out which tire brands are outperforming others without having to wait to do a long-term sample test.