Heavy equipment is the large vehicles used for construction. If you’re in the business involving them, you’re aware of how big the expenses you need in financing them. From finding people to operate them and maintenance, the costs go high up the roof.
For instance, wheeled heavy equipment operation expenses include labor, fuel, and tires. You may tend to overlook tire maintenance, but it’s part of keeping your equipment functional, and you have to spend for it. Their tires must be kept in good condition to operate heavy equipment properly and safely, all the more so because of the hazards that their operators face.
Maintaining tires will always be a part of your expenses; all you can do is find ways to do it well so you can reduce costs. If you’re still trying to figure out how, then this article might help. Here are tips for maintaining your heavy equipment tires.
Keep track of your equipment’s tires
Tracking your tires is a simple and effective maintenance step you can take. Employing this method is mainly about gathering important data that affects the condition of your equipment’s tires.
You can calculate your tires’ cost per hour numbers to see how long it takes to replace tires and which brands last longer. To calculate, check the hour meter on the machine every time you install new tires and each time you put in a replacement. Besides determining the best tire brand for your equipment, you can also identify which one of your operators drives more carefully and the ones that don’t.
Another tracking method you can employ is failure analysis. Failure analysis is simply taking note of the cause of a tire being pulled from service. Doing this will help identify the root cause of the damages your heavy equipment tires sustain, which will help find ways to deal with them.
Coach your operators on the do’s and don’ts
Training your operators to do the minimum and avoiding things that must be avoided to preserve your equipment’s tires is an excellent maintenance approach. Here are some of the essential tire maintenance procedures your operators should do regularly:
- Check tire pressure
Tire pressure is a crucial factor for maintaining your equipment’s tires. Operating wheeled heavy equipment using overinflated or underinflated tires will shorten tire life and increase safety risks. Hence, making it a must for your operators to check the tire pressure of your equipment is optimal.
You should at least have a master air gauge and pressure gauges your operators can use to check tire pressure. Have them do it before using their equipment and every week to make it a practice.
- Conduct visual inspections
Regular inspections can be done after checking the tire pressure before driving your construction equipment. Coach your operators to look for signs of irregular wear on the tire treads and shoulder. Also, have them look for bubbles or bumps, which are signs of air infiltration.
Check for any signs of debris penetration, chunking, and cutting as well. If they see any kind of damage on a tire, the equipment shouldn’t be operated until a technician has assessed the tire damage.
- Beware of tire mixing
Mixing tires between heavy construction equipment is a good maintenance practice typically done to increase tire use life. However, you must orient your operators on how to match them. The use of two different mismatched tires could damage your equipment’s internal components, as well as the tires themselves. Make sure to match the tire’s treads to the application it’s meant for.
As for the things your operators should avoid to maintain your equipment’s tires, here are some of them:
- Never under-ply
The ply rating is the measurement of the load-carrying capacity and strength of heavy equipment tires. Reiterate to your operators that they must avoid under-plying. Choosing a tire not rated for the load the equipment carries is dangerous, so train your operators to practice following the ply rating.
- Avoid overworking the equipment
Your operators must avoid exceeding the limits of your equipment. They should be aware of the tire’s restrictions and avoid violating them. These restrictions include weight capacity, haul speed, and haul length.
In addition, they should also know to avoid tire-damaging behaviors such as counter-rotating on skid steers and running over debris. Doing things like that will only accelerate tire wear.
Get to know your machines (inside and out)
Thorough knowledge is essential when it comes to maintaining heavy equipment machines and tires. Knowing basic and crucial information about a particular machine should be your core principle. Here are more effective ways you can get to know your machines inside and out:
- Listen to your operators
Unless you’re working on control daily, you’re not likely to have full knowledge of each machine’s quirks and capability. With that, it’s best that you learn and listen from your operators. Take the initiative to talk to them and consult with them about how a particular machine is doing. Operators will most likely sense when something in your machine is amiss, and they will tell you.
- Cease operations immediately when there’s a problem
Just like humans, these heavy equipment machines are prone to overwork. Stop operations immediately and deal with a suspected problem right away to avoid further complications. Plotting scheduled maintenances every now and then can be big on your budget and savings in future failure costs and losses. Prepare for the worst ahead of time, so you know when and how to bounce back up should there any need to be.
Also, do not ever restrict proper maintenance to rigid schedules. Instead, allow flexibility should you feel the need. Believe me, doing so will save you a chunk of time and money. And finally, don’t underestimate the power of good maintenance.
Taking of your tires is about practicing proactive methods like regular inspections. Employing the best practices will ensure your heavy equipment tires are in good shape. Implement them strictly, and you’ll have lesser things to worry about and expenses to pay for.
Frank is an energetic salesman. On his free days, he spends his time writing and reading about quality tires and vehicular parts. He says it’s because of his love for cars ever since he was a kid, when his dad started teaching him about automotive parts.
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