Heavy Duty Trucking

OCT 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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i 78 HDT • OCTOBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com hard to reach as one might think. The minimum numbers for owning an alignment system, he says, are f leets with 100 vehicles or more that perform at least 75 alignments per year. "The alignment itself takes almost no time at all, but you can tie up a truck and a driver or technician for hours getting the truck to an alignment shop," he says. "Plus, doing more frequent alignments on more vehicles provides better control over vehicle condition. When the equipment is right there in the shop, you will use it more and reap the benefits." Another advantage to having your own alignment equipment is the pre- delivery inspection. It may come as a surprise to some that not all trucks and trailers are delivered set to the factory specs. You won't know that, of course until several months into the life of the vehicle when tire wear issues and driver handling com- plaints begin to manifest themselves. By then, it's too late. The OE likely won't honor the alignment warranty even though it may have not been correct in the first place. It's also an opportunity to set up your trucks to your alignment specs. Factory settings are necessarily a broad and one-size-fits-all approach, but some tire industry experts main- tain that trucks can perform better with a custom alignment. "It depends a lot on what kinds of roads you operate on," says Mike Beckett of MD Alignment in Des even be less costly in the long run to do some of that work yourself. For really small f leets, the invest- ment in a full-scale tire program might not make a great deal of sense, given the availability of many tire services, such as alignment, mount- ing/dismounting, balancing, etc. But as the f leet grows, taking trucks off the road for an appointment at a tire shop can be disruptive, especially if the work can be done in-house more conveniently. The straight and narrow Vehicle alignment, for example, is often cited as a luxury maintenance item. It's known that proper alignment reduces certain types of tire wear and can improve fuel economy. The problem is, alignment is often not performed unless there's an obvious need for it. Some f leets do annual alignments, but they are reportedly not in the majority. Cost is often cited as a barrier to more frequent alignments, as is the inconvenience of send- ing the truck out to have the work done. Dan Santry, the na- tional sales manager at Beeline, says the cut-off point at which it makes sense to bring the equip- ment in-house is not as Jim Park • Equipment Editor It seems tire care is a never-ending chore, but it can be made easier. The right tools for the job can both lessen the drudgery of the task and improve the accuracy of the work. Some tools make the job safer and less labor intensive as well, which is something to consider with the wors- ening shortage of technicians. There are also tools that allow you to bring in-house some of the maintenance tasks you once farmed out. It might Moving tire care in-house can save time and money, if you have the right tools. Top tools for the tire shop Top tools for the tire shop Tires&Wheels The one tool every tire shop needs is a tire inflation cage. It's de- signed to absorb the blast from a tire exploding during inflation.

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