The never-ending debate among truck fleets operators is whether to use cheap tyres on a throw-away basis or expensive tyres which are expected to last longer.
With cheaper, China-made tyres costing about $300 each compared to ‘good’ established brand tyres costing about $500 each, there are economies of scale at play that seemingly make the decision difficult.
Taken into account must be fleet size, distances to travel and type of road to which the tyre is exposed.
However, according to independent Australian tyre maintenance specialist, Bear’s Tyres, the above argument is no longer relevant as expertise and technology now exists to ensure fleet owners that buy the less expensive tyres can at least maximise their performance.
Mr Brad Bearman, managing director of Bearman’s Tyres which developed the world-first Tyre Tracker maintenance software, says the mentality of transport companies is that tyres will only be wasted anyway or they will hit gutters but still be safe for city use.
“Some less expensive tyres have performance comparable to that of a well known brand tyre but only because they are maintained properly, meaning they are rotated at appropriate times in the life cycle”.
“There is also a misdirected fear of retreads because of the wastage often seen on the side of the road – particularly major highways”.
“Retreads can fail from wear and tear but in many cases the cost of a well maintained retread beats that of the Chinese tyre and when done properly will actually outperform it.”
Mr Bearman, who is gaining a growing reputation nationally as a true independent voice on tyre choice, fitting and maintenance, says that all transport companies and truck fleet operators should view tyres on three different quality levels (A, B and C), with A being the expensive, established brands through to C, which represents the so-called ‘cheap’ imports.
And as tyres are now more relevant at the design stage of commercial and industrial vehicles, understanding the function of the tyre relative to the specific duty is paramount – once again it is all down proper maintenance to make cost savings.
“Nowadays design engineers are trying to get smaller trucks carrying the weight of bigger trucks,” said Mr Bearman.
“Therefore, the tyres they use are higher load carrying tyres, yet the smaller diameter the better tyre is required.”
“I can point you in the right direction in terms of which truck tyre brand is the best for you regardless of what type of operation you run”, says Mr. Bearman, adding that, “its not the tyre brand that is the issue here, but rather, how you manage it that makes all the difference”.
[HK Machinery & Materials]