Michelin has issued guidance for haulage companies and own-account operators who find themselves in the unusual position of having to park fleets for extended periods during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance follows a survey by the Road Haulage Association which revealed that around 240,000 vehicles - 46% of the UK’s trucks – are now parked up with no work.
Rob Blurton, Michelin’s most senior technical field engineer in the UK and Ireland advises: “No tyre is designed to carry the weight of a parked truck or trailer indefinitely, so it’s essential operators follow guidance to ensure vehicles can be quickly returned to service when freight volumes return to normal, and without the need to replace tyres unnecessarily.”
• Inspect all tyres for visible damage, such as cuts or bulges, and abnormal wear.
• Check cold tyre inflation pressures for all tyre positions.
• If the pressure checks reveal tyres under-inflated by up to 14psi, check for any visible cause and if nothing is found, the tyre should be inflated to the recommended level following the standard methods of safe working.
• If under-inflated by more than 14psi, arrange for the tyre to be demounted and inspect the interior for signs of internal damage, such as mottling and creasing. If mounted in a twinned configuration, the twinned assembly should also be demounted and inspected.
• Ensure that each valve is fitted with an appropriate valve cap.
While parked up
Blurton recommends that a vehicle should be driven around the yard every four months where possible – or if space is at a premium and assets cannot be moved, the tyres should be rotated a quarter turn. However, before any truck or trailer is moved, check visually for signs of under-inflation and if a tyre is deemed to require attention, follow the same guidance as previously stated.
Re-entry into service
Prior to commissioning any vehicle back into operation, the cold tyre inflation pressure of all tyres should be checked and adjusted in line with the tyre manufacturer’s guidance.
“The very notion of parking assets for extended periods is unfamiliar for most operators, with the exception perhaps of heritage vehicles and those used seasonally, such as gritters and snow ploughs,” said Blurton. “However, these are important steps and will help to protect the condition of the tyres and ensure they remain ready to get back to work.”