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tire care tipsTires are a crucial part of vehicle maintenance, but often get the least attention. Everyone focuses on the engine while simply ensuring that the tires are inflated, or checking to see if they need to be rotated or changed entirely because the tread wear it too low. However, tires need much more attention than that. They can’t be treated like other parts of the car where you can simply replace them when they wear out. How should you treat your tires? Our article roundup regarding tire care and maintenance has everything you ought to know about giving your tires the care they need.

How Maximum Tire Pressure and Saving Gas are Related – Your tire pressure affects your gas mileage, and an over-inflated tire hurts your fuel efficiency (and your tire’s tread wear) as much as an under-inflated tire. Some have recommended that maximum tire pressure is what you need to have the best fuel efficiency and the safest ride, but this isn’t exactly the case. Proper tire pressure is not the same as maximum tire pressure.

3 Things You Need to Know About Buying New Tires – When purchasing a set a new tires for your car or managed fleet vehicles, there are three factors you need to consider: size, performance, and weight. Size is of particular importance, as a tire’s fit can be off by a few millimeters, and those few millimeters can mean that yours will lose its pressure much more quickly. Obviously, the tires needed for a tractor trailer aren’t the same as those needed for a two-door, but determining the right size for your car is much more complicated than that.

How Water Harms Your Tires – Water isn’t good for your tires. You don’t want to be driving with it sloshing around inside, which can happen if the air you use to inflate your tires has water vapor (which happens more often than not). Water can deteriorate the rubber of your tire, rust the axel, and cause your tire pressure to fluctuate more often as the water heats and cools as you drive. Removing the water vapor from the air when you inflate your tire, even if you do it yourself, is much harder than it sounds.

The Cost of Under-inflated Tires – Under-inflated tires hurt your fuel economy, your tires, and even your safety. Under-inflated tires also hurt because it can be hard to tell when your tires are under-inflated. You can’t always tell by looking at them, and if you’re using regular air, then your tire pressure is likely to go up or down, depending on when you measure it because the heat from driving will increase the pressure.

Guess What? Air Isn’t Free Anymore. Nitrogen Tires are a Better Deal – One of the arguments against nitrogen tire inflation is that air is free, so why pay the money? But, not everyone offers the service for free anymore, where it can cost up to $2 to use an air compressor. With this in mind, comparing nitrogen tire inflation and air tire inflation becomes a product/service comparison instead of a straight price comparison. Does a $2 charge mean you’re only getting $2 worth of tire inflation?

Prep Your Tires for Summer Travel Season – Winter may not be over yet for a few more weeks, but summer travel season (especially Memorial Day Weekend) is the weekend with the highest incidences of tire troubles. This includes blowouts, flat tires, and other scenarios that require the help of AAA. Stay safe as you use your long weekend for a quick vacation by prepping your tires for the road trip ahead.

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extended tire life

With an extended tire life, fewer tires will be wasted and placed into landfills.

Nitrogen tire inflation has a very slight improvement in one vehicles over the course of its lifetime. It doesn’t sound like much, but to a managed fleet of 100, or 10,000, or 100,000 vehicles, improving each vehicles slightly translates into significant improvements for the whole fleet. However, many managed fleets are still hesitant about nitrogen tire inflation, unwilling to try something new or failing to see how the practice is different from regular air. One big difference in tire life, and here are four tire life advantages with nitrogen tire inflation, advantages that you want to capitalize on in order to cut costs and to improve your bottom line:

Increased Fuel Efficiency

If gas tanks are draining family budgets, then they are probably draining fleet budgets, especially since you have more than two or three vehicles to worry about. Fuel is one of the largest expenses for a fleet, if not the largest. A quarter of government fleets surveyed said their fuel costs increased by 25% between 2006 and 2011. Any improvement in fuel efficiency is an improvement on the bottom line, and nitrogen tire inflation is a fuel efficiency improvement because it keeps tires at the right tire pressure for a longer period of time. Just having the right tire pressure can increase fuel efficiency between three and 10 percent, which is incredibly for a fleet of 100 or 1000 vehicles. Nitrogen can do this, and it compliments the fact that your drivers should already be checking tire pressure regularly and correctly.

Less Wear and Tear

Proper tire pressure for a longer period of time improves fuel efficiency, but it also improves tire life. overinflated tiresThis is because tires that are over- or under-inflated, as shown on the left, don’t grip the road the same way a properly-inflated tire grips the road. Because the grip is different, the wear patterns will be different, meaning that the wear patterns for over- and under-inflated tires decrease their tire life. Tires with those wear patterns aren’t safe for driving and they will need to be replaced. Tires that are properly inflated will also wear slower, so they can be used for much longer while needing fewer retreads over the course of their lifetime.

Protect Your Fleet Vehicles

Regular air causes corrosion to inner liners, rims, and steel belts. Although regular drivers aren’t concerned about that kind of damage to their vehicles, commercial drivers and managed fleets ought to be a little more concerned. You need these vehicles to last as long as possible, and be as safe as possible, while not costing a boatload in maintenance. Nitrogen tire inflation can do this by extending tire life and extending the life of these parts without cutting corners or requiring a lot of investment over time. Once you have a nitrogen tire program in place and you have your employees trained in proper tire care, your fleet vehicles will be protected from these problems, giving you a significant advantage over your competitors, who will have to spend extra time and money keeping their vehicles in top shape.

Savings for Your Managed Fleet

Firestone reports that with just one vehicle, you average about $116 per year in savings with nitrogen tire inflation. Granted, that’s not a lot and the practice isn’t necessarily worth it if you have just one vehicles. However, when you consider that the largest commercial fleet in the country has almost 100,000 vehicles, $100 per vehicle per year is a monumental amount of savings. Even though most fleets aren’t anywhere near that size, also consider that a fleet of 10 vehicles will save $1000 a year, which is also substantial for the small or medium-sized business that needs every dollar it can get.

Related Links:

How to Implement a Nitrogen Tire Inflation Program into Your Fleet

3 Effective Ways to Improve Fleet Safety

How the Cost of Carbon Affects the Trucking Industry

nitrogen tire inflation white paper cta

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nitrogen tire inflation law enforcement

Police vehicles like this one can have their life extended with nitrogen tire inflation. Photo by Jaymast.

Law enforcement agencies all across the country have committed to nitrogen tire inflation programs in order to increase safety and to cut costs in fleet maintenance. One of the first police departments in the United States to embrace nitrogen tire inflation is the Garner Police Department in North Carolina.

“There’s approximately a 10 percent savings on gas mileage, and when you’re talking about 60 cars in a fleet, you’re talking about quite a bit of money of time,” said Garner Police Sgt. Joe Binns on WRAL. “Anytime when we can save money on taxpayers, it’s worthwhile.”

Although other studies have found that the percent savings on gas mileage is closer to three or four percent, those savings do add up when it comes to a large fleet of law enforcement vehicles, especially in these tough economic times. Whether those savings are seen in the fuel efficiency, in an extended tire life (a tire that’s 20 percent under-inflated will have a 15 percent shorter life), or in reduced maintenance costs, nitrogen tire inflation is an easy way for law enforcement agencies to save money when budgets are only getting tighter.

But the smallest things can make a big difference, as is seen by the The Kingsport (Tennessee) Police Department. Kingsport  started using nitrogen in their vehicle tires a few years ago, and noticed a difference in performance within six months. “Since I’ve had the nitrogen in my tires, I’ve never had to touch the tires,” Kingsport Officer Tom Wayt said on PoliceOne.com. The city is citing preliminary data showing not only better gas mileage but better wear on the tires.

Sergeant John Zoller of Broken Arrow, Okla. agreed to the long term benefits of utilizing nitrogen tire inflation in law enforcements fleets. This is especially important for law enforcement fleets since these vehicles acquire put on a lot of miles in one year.

“We really should look at nitrogen for our fleet of vehicles and specifically within law enforcement. The increase savings in gas mileage and tire wear would certain prove its worth in time,” Zoller said.

If a typical tire costs $100 and a department sees a 10-percent increase in tire life by using nitrogen tire inflation, then that’s a savings of $10 per tire or $40 per car. If tires are replaced about every 10 months, a 10-percent increase in life extends the tire life to just under one year. So every year, each car saves approximately $40. If there are 100 vehicles in a department’s fleet, then a switch to nitrogen tire inflation can save $4,000 per year.

However, only 10 percent of tire dealers nationwide offer nitrogen tire inflation services. If you’re considering nitrogen tire inflation for you or your fleet, and have trouble finding nitrogen service, then consider Nitrofleet99.

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