It is nothing new to say that Marvin Keller Trucking has always aimed to employ the top industry drivers to add to our fleet. Many of our company drivers can constitute the highest tier in company drivers, but what is it that makes these drivers truly Elite?
One characteristic that separates the most Elite industry drivers from the rest is the precautions that drivers will take to prolong the life of their tires. We asked Greg Sullivan Marvin Keller’s Senior Truck Technician about some of the tire prolonging, driver habits he has noticed from the best of the best. Greg noted a particularly cautionary company driver named Steve VonBehren who managed to around 188,000 miles out of his tires. Greg is one of the people responsible for training drivers so we asked Greg how it was possible that Steve managed to extend the life of his tires this much. Greg had a few tips.
The first tip is easy but often over looked, to maintain a close eye on your tire pressure. The proper PSI for our Freightliner Cascadias is 105 and should be checked at every inspection point to avoid unnecessary stress on the tire.
The second tip is obvious to most, but rarely acknowledged. It is to be attentive to non-aggressive driving behaviors. This means smooth starts and stops instead of quick accelerations which can wear out your tires over time.
The third tip is to make sure you perform wide sweeping turns instead of short turns. The reasoning behind this is that short turns naturally make your tires scuff the pavement while long turns keep your tires pushing the truck evenly all throughout the turn.
Fourth, we want the teach drivers to keep the fifth wheel lubed. This is the wheel where the trailer hooks to the truck. If it is not greased properly the truck will not be as smooth as it could be during turns.
Lastly it is important to couple your trailers with the right technique. What a lot of drivers will do is hook up their trailer than run their tires with the trailer brakes applied to make sure the trailer is attached. This technique is incorrect because it unnecessarily burns your tires. Instead it is better to hook up your trailer, drive forward a couple of feet then quickly apply the trailer brakes while releasing the gas to see if the trailer brakes will stop your truck. If it is not coupled correctly the truck will come loose. This avoids unnecessary wear and tear of tires.
Although there are many techniques for maintaining healthy tires, these five tips cover the basic behaviors we have observed from the most Elite Industry Drivers. If you find yourself employing these tactics you are probably one of them.