5 Questions to Ask When Getting Tires Serviced

Posted on August 21, 2008 by LCT Magazine

Bowie, MD With the price of oil and rubber near all-time highs, the question of who is repairing your tires has become more critical than ever. And, contrary to what many believe, the only approved method for repairing a tire involves several steps. Thus, the Tire Industry Association (TIA) has come out with the top five questions fleets should be asking before they have their tires serviced:

 Top five questions to ask before having tires serviced:

· Will the tire be demounted from the rim, so it can be thoroughly inspected? On-the-wheel, or plug repairs are by far the most dangerous, because the tire is never removed from the rim to be inspected on the inside.

· Will the damage be removed with a carbide cutter on a low-speed drill? If not, damage to the steel cords in the belt package caused by the puncture may be exacerbated. And, the casing will not be suitable for retreading.

· Will the injury be filled with a rubber stem or suitable alternative? Rubber stems contain special bonding gum that reacts to the vulcanizing cement in order to create a molecular bond with the tire. Using rope, string or other related products do not create permanent bonds, and will not prevent water from entering the damaged area, which could cause the steel belts to rust, thus causing further damage.

· Will a repair unit or patch be vulcanized to the inside of the tire after the rubber stem is installed? A puncture that’s patched on the inside without preparing or filling the injury is even more dangerous. A driver could get a false sense of security, because they think the tire was repaired properly, since it was removed from the rim. But, the reality of the situation is that water and moisture will enter the unfilled injury channel and eventually cause a belt separation.

· Does the technician repairing the tire have the proper training or certification to do it correctly? Proper tire repair involves a lot more than stopping the leak. Poorly trained technicians performing incorrect repairs on tires can increase operating costs and potentially spell disaster. Look for a TIA-Certified Tire Service Professional by visiting www.certifiedtireservice.com, where there is a drop-down menu listing by state.

“Tire costs are expected to continue rising as the prices of raw materials and energy escalate,” said TIA Senior Vice President of Training Kevin Rohlwing. “Fleets who have their tires properly repaired by qualified technicians can expect to receive the full tread life and subsequent retreads, as long as the inflation pressure is regularly maintained. TIA covers proper tire repair and inflation in our training and certification programs, so drivers and fleet maintenance managers should always inquire about the qualifications of the technicians who will be doing the work.”

For more information, visit the TIA website: www.tireindustry.org, or email training@tireindustry.org.

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