Routes have GPS, oils have oil analyzers, car sharing has automated motor pools, and there always seems to be an “app for that.” That’s mostly true, except when it comes to tires. Fleet budgets typically have a few large line items — payroll, fuel, and tires. While fuel budgets may be getting some relief because of alternative fuels and increasing fuel efficiency, it seems tires just continue to get more expensive.
Without sacrificing safety, what are you doing to get more miles out of your tires? How are you ensuring that tires don’t contribute to unscheduled repairs or mission-busting downtime? Potentially worst of all, mismanaged tires can really hurt total cost of ownership. So, now that you’ve had a moment to think about it, other than the unsophisticated visual inspections, PSI checks, and maybe a tread depth check, what type of data-driven technologies are backing your tire program decisions? Probably none. Tires have nothing, until now.
During my years in fleet, I modified preventive maintenance (PM) programs by such things as better understanding utilization by class and switching to synthetic blend oils. It never really occurred to me that if I had more data on tires, collected several times a day (much like GPS), I may have been able to improve my PM program even more (Note to self: that technology wasn’t available). Fleet managers: meet Revvo. I came across the company while watching a live broadcast from the Detroit Auto Show where startups were pitching their companies to a panel of judges. Revvo went on to win the Mobility Services award.
The Revvo technology is mounted on the inside of the tire on the opposite side of the tread. Similar to GPS, Revvo collects data from the sensor and sends that data to the Revvo cloud every couple of seconds via cellular signal. The data collected covers such things as tire footprint, pressure, temperature, rotation, alignment, driver behavior, and condition of road surface, and can help predict remaining tire tread life on every tire and why.
Revvo’s goal is to help fleets improve tire performance, reduce downtime, and increase safety. The company understands that as more companies pop up and provide data and services to fleets, data overload is a real concern. That is why the team is working hard to develop the technology with a clear mission — collect raw tire data, analyze for the end user, and deliver actionable insights. For example, if it detects a problematic wear pattern on a tire, the program might tell the user that it’s a suspension or rotation problem.
General tire market research data from Revvo shows some troubling findings — and they’ll catch your attention. Here are just a few:
- For every 10 degree change in temperature, PSI can increase or decrease by 1
- 27% of passenger cars and 32% of pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans have a least one significantly underinflated tire
- 9% of tires on the road are bald
- Every 200 lbs. of additional load equates to a decrease of approximately 1 mpg
Just think about those numbers in the context of your fleet. Do you have a marked police fleet of 100, made up of sedans and SUVs? If so, right now, 27 to 32 of those units may have one significantly underinflated tire, and if that vehicle is being hot-seated — well, you get the picture.
Sure, vehicles have tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and check engine lights, but far too often drivers treat that as a suggestion and not faults that require attention. Did you know that your TPMS light, if equipped, will only come on when a tire’s PSI drops 25% from the manufacturer's recommended PSI? That’s 8 PSI on a recommended PSI of 32. As a former fleet manager laser focused on preventive maintenance, I’d like to be alerted a little sooner.
As you know if you have read my past blogs, I always ask you to push back on the norm and don’t settle for “doing things as you have always done them.” I believe that positive incremental improvements and new technologies can often play a constructive role, but it has to make a real impact on your fleet and help you improve your programs while saving money or improving safety — or all of the above. This technology can improve, or help you create, your current tire program.
I leave you with this challenge: Pull up your PM checklist and look for tires. There are probably a few blanks to fill in tire PSI, tire depth, and maybe condition, all of which require human interaction and present an opportunity for inaccurate data entry. Wouldn’t it be tremendously helpful to have all of that data collected for you and turned into actionable data before a PM? Or receive an alert when a tire may have suffered damage but hasn’t yet had a blowout? Or be alerted of possible alignment issues before unevenly wearing tires? Absolutely!
Keep an eye out for Revvo in the next several months as it transitions from research and development to valuable fleet partners. Revvo may just do for tires what oil analyzers have done for oil.
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