Tech Talk

Are you ‘tyred’ of being screwed by undue costs?

We all know that we are at the bottom of the totem pole as far as government regulators, taxes, costs, and our media. This is despite the fact that everyone uses our services, and every product is transported.

We pay for the roads in high fuel taxes, high rego, high insurance, stamp duty, and tolls. Regulators target us with inspections and fines, usually for unimportant mistakes in our log books, or for superficial ‘defects’.

Our working hours are strictly enforced, forcing us to stop when we are fresh, and park in waste land with no amenities, if we can find a parking spot. 

We share the roads with untrained drivers, often towing large caravans. Our roads are crumbling into goat tracks.   Yet, we still love our chosen careers.

We have no control of the above costs. But, we can control a lot of other costs, if we choose.

We all know that fuel is our biggest cost, yet, what do we do about it? Hot Rods look cool, but we don’t drive them daily. Yet, we often copy tough looking show truck ideas onto our money making (hopefully) work trucks. Why?

Chrome west coast mirrors cost 3% of our fuel at 90 kph.   Aero dynamic mirrors will save 1% every day, for the life of your rig.  One percent is over $10,000 lost, wasted, dumped, given to the fuel company, for what!   Then we hang lights, horns, external air cleaners, bug deflectors and other crap off your truck just costs money, your money, every day.   I’m sure the fuel company is richer than we are.   

Scania offered free driver training a few years ago, but no one was interested. The difference between a steering wheel attendant and a smart drivercan be a 30% fuel savings. We could all improve our driving with a little training, but do we?  New trucks come with smart cruise control, with topographic maps and fabulous programming, to help overcome our lack of skills.   

But, a smart driver can always beat a computer, if he cares. Thirty percent savings adds up to huge savings.   Why aren’t we pocketing these savings.

Aero dynamic aids are a great investment. Many states in the US mandate a certain amount of aero.   Yet, here in the best country on earth, we ignore the cost of fighting air.    It is very easy to improve fuel economy 10% with a bit of aero.   

Why aren’t we doing it?  Once it is fitted, the returns keep coming in every day, week, month and year.   That money could be yours.

Aero is easy. Simply guide the air flow up and around your truck smoothly.   Eliminate sharp edges, steps, and gaps.   

The benefits are twofold.  You save money by reducing fuel use, and you save time because the energy fighting the air can now be used to climb hills quicker, and you don’t spend so much time in the fuel station.

Tyres are our second biggest cost, and are directly related to our health and safety.   

Yet, who cares? As regular readers know, those that know all the facts simply don’t tell us, especially when they will lose sales.   

Low rolling resistant tyres are getting better. They needed to. All the facts weren’t explained. Less tread is less rubber that must flex, reducing rolling resistance. In fact, a nearly worn-out tyre rolls easier than a low rolling resistant tyre. So, let’s put less tread on your tyre,  call it something special, and sell it to you. Of course, it doesn’t last as long, so you pay more money, and you spend more time off the road, fitting new tyres,  but who cares?

Same with tyre pressures.   They have told us to put 100 psi in all of our tyres for decades. This sells a lot more tyres, but doesn’t benefit us.  Maybe they think we are too dumb to inflate our tyres correctly. Even our regulators believe this. The US regulators take the cake here.   They class any tyre with less than 70 psi as flat! This lets the tyre manufacturer’s off the hook. Why recommend any pressures under 70 psi?   So, they don’t, publicly.  Of course, they know better, as their ‘in house’ tyre specs prove. But, they sell a lot more tyres, millions more.

Think about this for a moment. We are told to inflate drive and trailer tyres to the same inflation pressure as our steer tyres. Our tri axle trailer tyres only support 1,666 kg when fully laden, while our steer tyres support almost twice that load.   Does that make sense? No way.  Hence, most tyre manufactures publish ‘Load to Inflation’ tables. Light loads don’t need as much pressure as heavily loaded tyres. It simply makes sense.  Yet, we have been told to keep them all inflated to the same pressure. How much does that cost us?

Michelin used to print a tyre tread life chart (I can send you a copy if you want), comparing life at the optimum pressure to over inflated and under inflated.   According to them, a 20% over inflated drive tyre on Aussie roads lost 22% of it’s tread life.   

Casing life was also reduced by 30%! Most uneven tyre wear, scalloping, punching, edge wear, diagonal wear, is all caused by over inflation.   Over inflation costs our industry billions of dollars. When the NHVR’s PBS tyre review recommends only 75 psi for tandem drive tyre pressures for 11R22.5 tyres at our maximum load, we have a problem.   He also recommended 55 psi for the same loaded tri axle tyres!  Lightly loaded tyres need even less. How much money and time are you wasting by running the wrong tyre pressures for your loads?

Our health and safety is paramount. We all know that empty trucks ride terrible.  We know that an empty semi is two and a half times more likely to jack knife.   Why? Because over inflated tyres amplify every bump, hammering our drivers, trucks and roads to death.   Because grossly over inflated tyres have a very small footprint.   

The amount of rubber gripping the road is tiny.   Stopping distances, vehicle control, and driver stress go through the roof. Does anyone tell you about this?   Nope. Even our NHVR is sitting on this vital information. Talk about Chain of Responsibility.   

What do we do to reduce tyre costs? Run the right tyre pressure for the load carried. Every AIR CTI customer gains at least 30% longer tyre life.  We guarantee it.

They also double diff and transmission life, triple suspension life and add at least 40% longer service life to your entire rig. Is this a great investment? And lives are saved, trucks are more reliable, time is saved, roads and environment benefit, and you pocket a lot more money.

Out of balance tyres cost you money too. Centramatic and Atlas balancers are easy to fit, benefit the driver, and reduce costs. Tyre pressure monitors are a step in the right direction, as are Tyre Pressure Maintenance systems. But, full on, easily adjustable, automatic systems, Central Tyre Inflation, is the best by far.

Stop complaining about the long hours, the high stress levels and poor profit margins, and look into these proven beneficial facts. You can improve your entire business by investing in your business. Savings, which is what profits are, are enormous, if you work smart, think for yourself, and act.

Please email me. I’m here to help: chetcline@hotmail.com.

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