Tips to Prevent Wheel-Off Incidents with Trucks
What if a wheel comes rolling out from one of your company fleets or dump trucks? It is no less than nightmare in pretty much every instance, so you need to make avoiding this occurrence your top priority.
You cannot ignore the fact that they usually run at a 50+ mph speed on the motorway and thinking about the impact of a wheel flying off at this speed around other vehicles is enough to make anyone break out in a cold sweat.
However, you can avoid this drastic situation by reducing the risk of a wheel-off accident. One way to do so is by providing sufficient knowledge about wheel safety to your employees.
Although, if you do not wish to get into all these intricacies, you can always get in touch with a reliable company offering services like wheel nut safety, wheel trimming, safety wear, etc.
This way, your vehicles will be maintained regularly under expert supervision and you won’t need to lose sleep over the image of fatal accidents occurring.
But, there is no harm in gaining some basic knowledge about vehicles and their parts so that you are not completely should a crucial situation present itself. For starters, you can learn how to use tools properly by educating yourself about the right techniques and approaches to adopt in different instances.
When you start getting to know more about wheels, the first question that pops in your head may well be “what is the main reason for wheel-off incidents?”
The two very important causes of this incident are bearing failure and loss of clamping force on the wheel.
The most common cause often to be noticed in such a situation is improper installation, which results in a loss of clamping force. Therefore, most accidents occur due to improper installation of torque.
Now, what exactly is improper torque?
Improper torque is nothing other than insufficient torque where the wheels become loose, but sometimes it can be over-torque as well. In the case of over-torque, the studs get over stretched and eventually fail.
Yet another reason for a wheel-off incident is the use of wrong tools for installation. There are quite a number of instances when vehicle owners have used an impact wrench to tighten the fasteners which is mechanically not the best tool for this purpose.
For this purpose, a torque wrench is a good option instead of an impact wrench because the latter is not a proper torque control device.
But, if you are looking for a precise solution for proper torque, then a calibrated torque wrench is the one for you. Remember to keep an eye on it and to ensure regular maintenance at frequent intervals.
Tire mounting to enhance performance
The next thing you should keep a regular check on are the tighten bolts, just to ensure that they are in the correct pattern. The simplest way to do so is to tighten torque wheel nuts in a star pattern at the 12 o’clock position.
You must be aware about the fact that there are two systems – stud-piloted and hub-piloted. The former has a dry torque and the latter has an oiled torque.
Sometimes, using the right calibrated torque wrench is not enough. This is because a proper installation is a combination of, use of right wrench and the right amount of force to each fastener.
In some cases, unclean wheel mating surfaces act as a catalyst and end up disrupting the entire installation process.
Thus, remember that proper cleaning is equally essential for correct wheel installation. A wire brush is one vital tool to use in order to prevent wheel-off accidents. Make sure that you clean all mating surfaces so that they are free from all kinds of foreign materials.
If you are in search of a good tool to clean studs and drum/hub surfaces, then brake cleaner is the ultimate solution.
It is important to be vigilant while using paint or metal primer. An excessive amount of metal primer on the mating surface of a wheel can be risky. This is because the paint can cause a wheel-off. 3.5 mils is the maximum paint thickness for mating surfaces and honestly, it is hard to maintain this consistency, especially when you are using a spray can.
Professionals have the relevant understanding about proper installation that you require, so it’s always a good idea to consult with them. They know while installing the wheels which matting surface has to be cleaned and which components are to be inspected.
The next big move is to focus on actual installation with the proper torque. Aiming solely on the torque wrench is a bad idea because this results in improper clamping force, especially when you do not follow the needful installation procedure.
If possinle, check the wheels and its installation after every 50-100 miles just to ensure that none of the fasteners have lost torque.