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Proper tire pressure is the most important component of tire care for your fleet.
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Monitor your Pressure your PressureFleet operators can accurately check tire pressure in seconds, which minimizes labor costs and errors associated with manually checking each tire with a gauge. With the new Doran 360 SmartLink Tire Pressure Monitoring System, wireless sensors are screwed onto the valve stems of the trailer tires, and the tire pressure information is sent to a trailer-mounted receiver/transmitter that collects and transfers the data to a cab-mounted display unit. The wireless sensors mounted on the truck tires are also programmed to the monitor in the cab.Doran Manufacturing.866-816-7233.www.doranmfg.com. Circle 25.

Not only is a proper tire inspection program a good business practice, it's also the law. Tire pressure is the responsibility of the vehicle's operator and part of the pre-trip inspection, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. FMCSR 396.11 and 396.13 call for drivers to inspect tires and report defects. Unfortunately, the regulation doesn't require air pressure to be recorded or even measured.

In the old days, drivers were instructed to identify low pressures by thumping. But tests proved that drivers cannot identify low pressure if above 65 psi just by thumping.

Many fleet managers have installed visual displays of mechanical devices to help during inspection. The basic tools for this are pressure equalizers for duals and pressure gauges with visual warnings that alert drivers during pre-dive inspections.

New tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) feature electronic devices that monitor, transmit, and display pressures continuously in the cab. Sensors can be mounted on a tire valve assembly or be strapped to the wheel inside the well. Some that screw onto the valve like a cap can only monitor pressure.

Those inside the tire, either at the base of the valve or on the wheel, can also monitor the temperature. Some monitors are patch-mounted on tires' inner liners. But because they often stay with the tires, they are not as popular as other devices.

When a driver sees or hears an alert, he must then act on it. That requires the driver be in the cab.

Simple pressure readings may be inaccurate due to temperature. Take the pressure when the tires are cold. As the tire rolls, flexes, and heats, air inside expands and pressure increases. That's the main reason tires should not be deflated if found to be higher than nominal pressures when hot.

TPMS devices are available with temperature compensation software that adjusts readings to cold tire equivalent. So far, the most sophisticated tire monitoring system combines temperature and pressure sensing, temperature compensation, and telematics.

Capturing data

It's a sign of the technological age in which we live that computers can help with tire costs. For example, engineers have developed a software system, TireVigil from TireStamp Inc., (www.tirestamp.com) of Troy, Mich., with which fleet managers can analyze tire monitoring.

Designed to work with most TPMS systems on the market today,T the program captures data, analyzest it, and t and transmits it to the fleet manager's office in dual-mode or tri-mode. Dual-mode selects between cellular phone and satellite transmission, while tri-mode adds Wi-Fi in urban areas.