Well, the news is in, RoadCheck 2016 has officially passed. In case you don’t know, RoadCheck is a program put on by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance every year for the past 29 years.
During the two-day period, almost 10,000 CVSA-certified local, state, provincial, territorial and federal inspectors across all of North America perform inspections on large truck and busses. Each year the group puts particular emphasis on a particular aspect of the check. This year, they focused heavily on tires. Were you prepared?
They measured tire tread depth, tire pressure, overall condition and a visual inspection to ensure items were not lodged between dual tires. Things like bulges and cuts received particular attention. Fortunately, it’s easy for you to avoid tire-condition violations. If you know what to look for, they are usually pretty easy to spot.
What to Look For
The fact is, there are more than a dozen tire-related violations contained within the CVSA’s Out-of-Service handbook, and you could be hit for any number of them. At least a half dozen finds themselves at the end of an inspector’s pen with predictable regularity.
One such example is those related to tread. They include:
- Casing separation
- Extremely worn tread
- Visible cords or belts
- Tread depth below the minimum standard
- Air leaks
- Sidewall damage
While tire inflation used to be an issue, it is no longer. The American Trucking Associations requested the FMCSA remove the rule from the book, so they did. A victory, in this case.
The main reason for this is that coming up with a definition of “underinflated” that would work across the board for all applications, truck models and types, would be incredibly difficult to do. Because of how complex the issue was, the rule was stricken from the book.
A flat tire could cause you problems, however. If the tire has separated from the wheel, or is shredded at all, of course it will be considered flat.
If a tire appears soft, it could still be measured. In this case use the simple formula of 50 percent of what is printed on the sidewall of the tire. If the tire is measured to 120 psi, then anything below 60 would be considered flat and could be placed out-of-service.
For 2016, a new violation was added, perhaps to account for the one that was removed. Now you must watch for items lodged between a dual set of tires. This includes anything from rocks to road debris. If the object is in direct contact with your tire sidewalls, it would be considered a violation in the rulebook.
While some violations only result in fines, others can put you or your vehicle out of service. No matter how you look at it, you could be out of pocket for a while you wait for the vehicle to be serviced. Never mind the few CSA points you’ll get out of the deal.
Whether you were caught in the RoadCheck, or whether you are simply running your loads out on the road, there are quick and simple ways you can ensure your tires are in good working order. First, check out this good, common-sense list compiled by the CVSA to help you ensure your equipment is in good working order.
Other than that, always make sure you are looking for unusual wear patterns. Anything from feathering to cupping should warrant the attention of one of your fleet technicians.
Also make sure you are staying on top of your wheel alignments. A correctly aligned truck is not only good for your tires, but it can have a measurable impact on fuel consumption.
Finally, ensure you aren’t running mismatched tires. Incorrect matching diameters can create problems like scrubbing patterns for the smaller tire.
In the end, make sure you are always keeping a close eye on your tires. You don’t need a RoadCheck to ensure you are staying safe on the road.