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Saving Money ​On Tires​: How to Do It

On May 22, 2014, in Hybrid Tires, Saving Money, by allisonmreilly
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how to save money on tiresFor many managed fleets, tires represent about 20 percent of total expenses, putting them in the top three costs for operations and maintenance. For sanitation fleets, tires are the number one cost in operations and maintenance, costing the fleet more money than fuel. However, tracking the total cost of the tire from the beginning to the end of its life isn’t something that all managed fleets do, even though tracking the total cost will help many fleets save money on tires. Since saving money on tires can immensely help the bottom line of many managed fleets, here’s how to do it so that the fleet cuts its costs without sacrificing safety.

Invest in a Tire Management System

A tire management system can provide real time data about your fleet’s tires and alert drivers of any potential problems, such as a pending flat. Since the software measures tire pressure and tread depth, fleets can improve safety and fuel economy by catching these problems early. The system can also reduce maintenance costs by reducing the downtime of a particular vehicle. Topping off a vehicle costs less than replacing a blown out tire or assessing the tread depth of each tire manually. By taking the time to do smaller, preventative maintenance, fleets can also reduce their labor and tire replacement costs.

Although a tire management system can be done on paper, a manual system does not offer the same benefits as an online or computerized system. Not all commercial vehicles have tire pressure monitoring systems installed, so the driver has to remember to check the vehicle’s tire pressure and must remember to do so after the tires have cooled. Drivers should still continue to do this, but the information isn’t in real time. If a driver forgets, for whatever reason, then he/she may miss under-inflated tires that can lead to reduced fuel economy or to a safety hazard.

Make Tire Pressure the Number One Rule

Whether your tire management system is manual or on a computer, proper tire pressure should be the first thing in place for any management system. Proper tire pressure is much more than checking it routine, but a good tire management system should also include targeted pressures for the tires, designated periodic checks for proper tire pressure, and calibrated air gauges. Proper tire pressure cannot be assessed by sight or touch alone. A calibrated gauge needs to be used every time. A solid tire management system that emphasizes proper tire pressure can save a managed fleet thousands of dollars per month. It may take up to six months before the fleet sees the return on the investment, but it also takes only 30 to 60 days for a fleet to lose money on under-inflated tires because of the reduced fuel efficiency and the reduced tire life.

Consider Nitrogen Tire Inflation for Your Managed Fleet

While making tire pressure a top priority in your tire maintenance and management, consider the practice of nitrogen tire inflation. Nitrogen-inflated tires maintain proper tire pressure up to three times longer than an air-inflated tires. Tires inflated with regular air lose about 1.5 PSI per month, while nitrogen tires take about three months to lose the same amount of tire pressure. Managed fleets still need to check their tire pressure regularly with nitrogen tire inflation, but the practice will reduce the number of blowouts, flats and top offs while keeping fuel efficiency and tire life at their maximum. Much like tire management software, there is an initial investment needed when starting a nitrogen tire inflation program, but after a few months managed fleets will see a noticeable difference in the money saved on tires.

Overall, managed fleets need to view tires as an asset, not a commodity. If they are viewed as an asset, then the perspective shifts on how to get the most of the fleet’s tires and how to get the most out of that investment. The three strategies shared above will help your managed fleet save money on tires.

photo credit: psyberartist via photopin cc

nitrogen tire inflation myths paper

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mixing air and nitrogenThis is the most common question we get in the nitrogen tire industry, and what we’ve seen in many online forums and websites is that many people answer this question by saying  you cannot put regular air into tires that have nitrogen.

This is not true.

It is FALSE that air cannot be used to top off a tire filled with nitrogen. It is simply not true that air and nitrogen cannot coexist inside a tire. There is no harm in topping off a nitrogen-filled tire with regular air.

Air Doesn’t Take Away All the Benefits of Nitrogen Tire Inflation

The main reason why people say air and nitrogen can’t be mixed is that air negates all of the benefits of the nitrogen inflation. This isn’t entirely true because a tire that’s 100 percent inflated with regular air isn’t the same thing as a tire that’s 80 percent inflated with nitrogen, 20 percent with regular air. Although neither tire has all the benefits of a 100 percent nitrogen tire, the 80/20 tires still retains some of the benefits and has fewer of the consequences of the 100 percent air tire. The 80/20 tire has less water vapor, so it is still less susceptible to the temperature changes that happen throughout the day (this doesn’t include the temperature changes that happen between driving and parking the car for a few hours). The 80/20 tire will also retain proper tire pressure for a longer period of time, giving you an improved fuel efficiency and better traction with the road.

It’s Tough to Find Nitrogen Tire Inflation Services

We understand that topping off nitrogen tires with more nitrogen gas is difficult because nitrogen isn’t as accessible as regular air. Many auto repair shops sell nitrogen inflation as an add-on, and won’t offer it or advertise it as a stand-alone service. Also, some places that sell nitrogen tires do not sell nitrogen tire inflation services. For example, Costco inflates all new tires with nitrogen. It’s not an add-on, but a service that anyone who purchases a set of new tires receives. However, Costco doesn’t offer new or existing tire customers to option to convert or to top off their ties with nitrogen. But, don’t worry about topping off your nitrogen tires with air from time to time. With the nitrogen, you shouldn’t have to top them off as often as you would with a tire that 100 percent inflated with air.

No, Your Tires Won’t Explode

One of the most common myths about mixing air and nitrogen in your tires is that it’s dangerous and may lead to an explosion. Part of this crazy misconception is the myth that tires filled with regular air are an additional hazard in a fiery crash because the oxygen is fuel for the fire. We don’t know where this myth came from, but it’s not a “benefit” that’s touted by the nitrogen tire industry, and it’s certainly not a “benefit” we support here at Nitronomics.

NO ONE IN THE NITROGEN TIRE INFLATION INDUSTRY SUPPORTS THE IDEA THAT NITROGEN TIRES WILL HELP YOU IN A FIERY CRASH

Anyway, mixing air and nitrogen in  your tires isn’t dangerous. It doesn’t increase your chances for an explosion or a fiery crash.

You also don’t need to replace the green cap on your tires. The green cap comes with tires that are inflated with nitrogen when you purchase them, such as the tires you may get from Costco like we previously mentioned. It’s been suggested that the green cap needs to be replaced with a black cap because the tire is no longer 100 percent nitrogen, but it doesn’t have to be replace if you don’t want to change it or if you don’t have a black cap. The green cap is more for the seller than the consumer, so there’s nothing wrong with keeping the green cap.

photo credit: gever tulley via photopin cc

nitrogen tire inflation myths paper

 

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