Mega Carriers Vs. Lease Operator; Tread Life Management

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Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
member avatar

I wanted to share a concrete example of how the mega-carriers manage their business as compared to how one lease operator manages his business.

We had a flat on the trailer in Burlington, Colorado. We were at the Love’s there when I noticed the flat tire. I mentioned it to my trainer who said “It will inflate once we get going.” After I charged the trailer system with air, it was still separated from the rim. So I pulled on the tire in a vain attempt to seal the bead to the rim. When I did, I felt the steel cords on the inside side wall. There was gash about ¾ of the way around the tire.

Prime has this app for your phone that pretty much has everything you need to interact with the company. For Road Assist, you fill out this road assist request form and take pictures, which I did. I followed this up with a call to my Road Assist Advisor. Within minutes, the authorization was submitted to Love’s Shop Connect, with a specific recommendation for the tire brand and model.

When the work was done, the guy asked me if I wanted to put the repair on my Love’s Rewards card. I actually had my trainer’s card, so I used that. I asked how much the tire cost. $523. He said that was one of their more expensive tires.

I recalled from one of my computer training videos about tire pressure that Prime evaluates tire brands and air pressures to find out which one has the best mileage. So they buy the more expensive tire because their methodical cost benefit analysis shows they save money.

In addition to my trainer’s comment about this trailer tire, when I first got on the truck, the tractor tires were low. He thought that the tire pressure monitoring system inflates the tires, which it does not. For the one tire that was at 80 psi, I added air at several truck stops but it was still low. At the next truck stop, I asked him for his tire pressure gauge. He didn’t have one, so he bought one inside. I inflated all the tires to 110 psi. It takes a LONG time for these big tires to inflate.

So just this simple example of how one mega-carrier’s tire tread life management compared to lease operator shows a huge contrast.

So when I hear a lease operator explain how they manage their business better than Prime, no matter what they say I hear Rainman say “I’m a good driver.”

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Trailer tires are the biggest contributing factor to getting good fuel economy, yet these same tires are also the most ignored by most drivers.

When you go by a TA shop, take that new gauge in, and have the pressure verified by one of the technicians. These gauges can be off by more than 10%.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Rob your trainer is not as uncommon as you may think. I stick all my tires once a week, thump during the week unless I find something out of place. I am very anal retentive when it comes to my truck. It is a huge investment and I protect that investment. It also makes it through my mechanic once a month. I am blessed I have an awesome mechanic at home. I drop it off while I’m on hometime and its ready when I am to go back to work. It also is a big plus he is the only one working on it, unless an emergency arises.

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

These newer trailers i have pulled with TPMS systems do in fact keep trailer tires inflated (not off bead 1s) lol

Had a inside flat last week in Baker, Ca. woke up to roll, did pre trip walk around n found it

The warning light NEVER came on, why?? Because some moron cut off the air supply to the tank .

Needed both tires, since outter 1 casing was so dang old showing weather cracking and I couldn't even read the tire size lol

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar
have the pressure verified by one of the technicians. These gauges can be off by more than 10%.

Are the digital pressure gauges any good for high psi tires??? I use a Slime digital gauge to check my pickup(80 psi) and explorer(35 psi) tires. Always reads the same as the pump psi shutoff when done filling.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

OD replaces 7/32 on steers and 5/32 on drives and trailers, only city trailers get recaps. Pup trailers get either new tires or old steers and drives off of tractors.

It significantly helps fuel mileage and cuts down on tire problems.

000's Comment
member avatar

Rob D., Prime recommends the proper tire pressure for the tractor is 110 psi on the steers but 100 psi on the drives. I believe the difference is due to the drives being super singles.

And yes, Prime does splurge on their equipment & replacement parts. But not all megas are built the same. At the same time, not all "innovations" deliver on their implied cost benefit. Two examples come to mind, those wheel covers that hid the axle hub seals & those trailer tails. They do try & that's why I'm back with Prime.

That said, all the safety equipment in the world cannot correct stupid or ignorance! What I've learned in the few years of driving is that the way drivers are trained creates both great drivers & dangerously misinformed drivers too.

Example, I noticed a driver pull his brakes while he was on the scale. I went over & politely told his that by him pulling his brakes, his weights will be off. He looked at me like I was crazy & said that's the way he's always done it. I responded by letting him know that he's been very lucky cause that's not the proper way to scale a load & walked away.

Super Singles:

A single, wide wheel substituted for a tandem (two wheel) assembly. The main benefit of a super single is a reduction in weight and lower rolling resistance which provide better fuel economy. The disadvantage is the lack of tire redundancy (or a 'backup tire' in case of a blowout) from which tandem wheels benefit. A tire blowout is more dangerous with a super single and can not be driven on.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Joseph I.'s Comment
member avatar

I was interested in how your "trainer" believed a tire off the bead could be reinflated with the onboard system. A lot of tire shops will not even reinstall a tire if it has been off the bead, to much chance of sidewall or cord damage. As for mega fleet vs. small company, any place large or small can have good or bad people making decisions. I work for a smaller company and had to damaged tires in KC a while back and they sent me to the local BauerBilt where they have an account. I was in, got 2 new tires and out in less than an 1.5 hours and since they have an account no paperwork.

Sid V.'s Comment
member avatar

Rob,

Thank you for the post about what prime does. It's basically what every company does whether you're a company, lease, or o/o.

And while your on the subject of slamming lease and o/o drivers, let me shed some light for you.

First, o/o's are responsible for paying tickets. We can't submit them to the company and forget about them. Secondly, any oos violations effect our insurance greatly. If you're suggesting we don't get our tire issues fixed, let me put your mind at ease that we do. Very quickly in fact.

Also, I personally use love's quick pass to check tire pressure at least once a month because a blown tire can be anywhere upwards of 500 bucks, more if your on the side of the road so I would argue that have more of an incentive to fix any tire issues.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
member avatar

Rob,

Thank you for the post about what prime does. It's basically what every company does whether you're a company, lease, or o/o.

And while your on the subject of slamming lease and o/o drivers, let me shed some light for you.

First, o/o's are responsible for paying tickets. We can't submit them to the company and forget about them. Secondly, any oos violations effect our insurance greatly. If you're suggesting we don't get our tire issues fixed, let me put your mind at ease that we do. Very quickly in fact.

Also, I personally use love's quick pass to check tire pressure at least once a month because a blown tire can be anywhere upwards of 500 bucks, more if your on the side of the road so I would argue that have more of an incentive to fix any tire issues.

Not saying this is all lease or o/o. I had both you and PJ in mind when I posted this. It just amazes me how many lease and/or o/o are out there who don't even have basic driver skills left alone the business sophistication of you and PJ.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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