Contact point and first support of the equipment. Tires are of fundamental importance for any vehicle. Taking care of them by means of an attentive and conscientious driving style improves both performance and safety.
Keeping one’s tires effective is essential – not only from a road-safety point of view, but also to ensure best performance throughout the entire product life-cycle.
Since tires are the direct contact point between road and vehicle, they hence require some precautions in order to preserve their inherent features, those that tire manufacturers have developed for this or that particular type of application.
There are some comprehensive factors that have an influence on a tire’s effective response, apart from the specific operation done. There are manifold elements; among these the most common are: load and load distribution, the vehicle’s barycenter, road surface conditions during transport, the terrain’s roughness and the presence of objects that might lead to premature tire wear, and not to forget the operating climate conditions.
There are subjective factors that can be traced back to driving behavior and operator habits, which directly or indirectly affect tire performance and durability. Among these, certainly driving style has an impact on a tire’s life-cycle, an aspect which is sometimes underestimated by entrepreneurs and fleet managers. For this reason, it is important to know a few precautions to take while driving a vehicle; first of all to ensure safety, but not to forget that optimizing tire performance leads to minor operating costs for the company.
This is why it is important that tires are always in good conditions. BKT’s technical team has found out a series of good practices to adopt for a correct and conscientious driving style that values its features. In addition, resellers and BKT experts are always available for precious tips for each customer based on the specific tire usage.
Preventive action: monitor tire pressure
Above all, before dealing with the question of the driving style, it is important to remember that regularly monitoring tire pressure values is essential. If pressure is too low, or on the contrary too high, not only does it have a negative impact on fuel consumption, but it also involves several risks such as casing deformation and increases the potential risk of tire burst. The latter event puts user’s safety at a serious risk. BKT hence recommends scheduled controls to check tire pressure and to have the certainty to always drive at recommended values.
Even if the vehicle stands still, tires are subject to wear due to the pressure exerted by the vehicle downwards. In this case, slightly overflating tires only and exclusively during equipment standstill can be an effective measure to limit flat spotting when the vehicle is going to be reused.
Avoid sudden acceleration and extreme braking
A driving approach characterized by extreme braking, for instance, has a negative impact on a tire’s durability. Indeed, the slippage between tread and road surface due to braking “grates” the tires resulting in faster wear. This is why it can actually be helpful to make use of engine braking, i.e. shifting down gears and slowing down the vehicle by means of the motor rotation rate.
Driving style becomes even more determining for road safety, if a tractor tows an agricultural trailer, especially in the presence of rotaries. And there is the risk that the weight of the load makes the driver lose control in case of too high speeds or extreme braking.
But also sidewall protectors bumping against sidewalk leads to premature tire wear in addition to a major risk of punctures resulting in vehicle standstill.
To conclude, an optimum tire output starts with accurately choosing the right product. A perfect tire actually depends on the type of equipment, weight, application, terrain and operating habits. It is an important, sometimes complex choice.