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When the state weigh-master pulls a truck over for a weigh check, or when the fleet manager is figuring out how to add payload capacity, a few pounds here and there can make a difference.

The producer can find a place for an often-overlooked weight-saving feature on a truck's wheels. By considering high-strength aluminum wheels instead of steel ones, fleet managers can save up to 500 pounds. Over the course of a year, the weight savings can add up to a lot of extra block, pipe, or ready-mixed concrete.

Potential savings in resale are possible, too. In a recent study of 3-year old over-the-road trucks with 10 wheels, one manufacturer reports that buyers paid more than $1500 more for trucks with aluminum wheels than for trucks with steel wheels.

Engineers from Alcoa Wheel Products recently conducted a series of tests to compare how steel and aluminum wheels deflect under direct loading. They found that at about 30,000 psi, a steel disk wheel that was welded together deflected about 2 inches. Using the same test setup, they reported that the one-piece aluminum forged wheel experienced the same deflection at 157,000 psi.The article includes information about a restorative product called PDQ Brightener. Developed to restore surfaces dulled by oxidation, the polish contains alumina abrasives that drivers can use easily.