Service Contract Lightens Tire Load

September 28, 2010

Pacific Topsoil's trucks, most with 475 to 550 horsepower and 4.33 rear axles, have plenty of power to chew up tires if they're not properly maintained.

A tire-management contract is digging Pacific Topsoils out from under a mountain of cost. The Bothell, Wash.-based firm runs 85 trucks seven days a week¡ªtwo shifts much of the year¡ªdelivering bark, top soil, mulch, compost, and aggregates all over greater Seattle. Many roll 200,000 miles in a year, half of that in rocky, rebar-spiked construction sites.

"I remember having 50 or more road problems a month, especially with our heaviest loads," says Ed Parker, maintenance manager. "It seems we got more than our share of tire separations."

The company scarcely managed tires at all until they started buying from Goodyear two years ago. Part of the deal was an agreement with the local dealer to inspect tires daily.

Now, with someone to keep up air pressure and watch wear, they're getting 25 percent more tread life.

Information is crucial. The dealer records casing histories with Goodyear's GTRAC. Looking at his company's cost per mile¡ªwhich now includes such details as retreading, repairs, and tire service¡ªcompany owner Dave Foreman is confident he's pocketing sizable savings.

"The dealer is doing a very good job of keeping us in business, keeping our trucks up, and not driving our costs up in the process," he says. "We're hardly seeing two or three road calls a month, and those are usually because something got stuck through a sidewall."

Tire Profile: Pacific Topsoils

Fleet: 85 trucks, from two-axle Ford F500s to six-axle "super solos" capable of 23-ton payloads

Steer tires: Goodyear 11R22.5 G286 on most, with some Wide Base Super Single 385/65R22.5

Drive tires: Goodyear G177

Trailers and lift axles: G119 SA retreads

Pressure: 105 psi

Mileage: 50,000

Recap: With 5/32¡å remaining

Caps per casing: 4 plus