Owning and maintaining a fleet of work vehicles involves a lot of work--and money. For that reason, it is important to invest in durable, high-quality tires. Yet even brand name tires may end up failing long before they should if you do not buy wisely. If any of the vehicles in your fleet are in need of new tires, read on. This article will discuss two things you should know before investing in a new set.
To many people, a "new" tire is simply one that has never been mounted on a vehicle before. Yet the rubber out of which a tire is composed will have begun to deteriorate long before it is ever installed on a wheel. For that reason, you will want to know the ultimate age of a tire before you buy it so you can ensure you end up with the "freshest" possible tire, thus prolonging the time until it will need to be replaced once more.
The good news is that you can determine the exact manufacturing date--down to the week--by inspecting the sidewall of a particular tire. What you want to look for is a string of letters and numbers that begin with the letters "DOT." This will always be followed by four numbers. The first two numbers indicate the week that the tire was made, and the second two indicate the year. Thus a marking of DOT1814 would denote a tire produced in the 18th week of the year 2014. Compare various tires to ensure that you get the most recently manufactured ones you can.
Manufacturing date is only half the battle where establishing condition is concerned. That's because, if a tire has not been stored in the proper conditions, it may have been degrading much more quickly. This has to do with the volatile chemical make-up of tire rubber, which is susceptible to decay in the presence of certain natural elements. Direct sunlight is undoubtedly the most damaging, as UV rays will greatly hasten the rubber's natural deterioration.
Storage temperature is another important factor to be aware of. Here the goal should be to keep the storage environment as cool as possible. High heat can be just as damaging as sunlight, should it last for long enough. Finally, to prevent unwanted oxidation, tires should be stored in individual plastic bags--preferably ones that are fully opaque. This will keep light and moisture from damaging the tire.
For more tips, contact a fleet maintenance company.