Maximising Efficiency

Fleet Operational Cost Reduction

Maximising efficiency is all about the little margins. One small gain can deliver huge savings over a year. Many small gains will significantly reduce the operational costs of your fleet.

This article offers various ideas and tips for reducing your cost per kilometre and impacting your fleet’s bottom line.

Cost Per Kilometre

Tiny fractions are everything when your fleet is racking up hundreds of thousands, or millions of kilometres every year. Reducing your cost per kilometre is all about maximising vehicle efficiency. When every element of every vehicle is running smoothly, you’ll notice the difference at the pump. You’ll also notice a reduction in maintenance costs. Fortunately, reducing the cost per kilometre does not need costly interventions.

Vehicle Maintenance

Regular servicing of individual parts is essential. But you already know this. You are the fleet manager, so you know the importance of checking and maintaining parts like a vehicle’s suspension. But while there are many parts of a vehicle to check and maintain, the easiest and cheapest part provides the greatest efficiency and long term saving – the tyres

Rolling Resistance and Fuel Economy

For any vehicle to move it must overcome the rolling resistance of the tyres. There must be a transfer of energy that gets the tyres turning and builds momentum to move the vehicle. Tyre rolling resistance is the energy that’s necessary to keep a tire rolling, and maintain movement at a consistent speed. And for energy, think fuel; i.e. higher rolling resistance means more fuel is needed.

Imagine if tyres were square shaped. They would have enormous rolling resistance. Obviously we invented the wheel, all those millennia ago. Shape is what causes rolling resistance but for tyres the reasons are more subtle.

Important factors for a tyre are:

  • Heat generation
  • Tyre deflection and deflation
  • Uneven wear
  • Tread depth

Low rolling resistance tyres have specially formulated tread compounds that limit the friction between the road surface and tyre tread. This reduces the heat that is generation. They are manufactured with special rubber that can provide enhanced tyre wear life, without needing a large tread depth. Low-rolling resistant tyres tend to be the most fuel efficient tyres you can use.

Studies by the US Department of Energy show that low rolling resistance tyres can have up to a 10% fuel saving for fleets. For most fleets the actual figure is more like 3%. But multiply 3% by a million kilometres and you bring huge financial savings to your fleet.

Correct Tyre Maintenance

Rolling resistance is impacted by uneven wear. When a tyre doesn’t roll smoothly, more fuel is needed to keep it running. Even worse, the lifespan of the tyre is reduced so you must pay for new tyres more often. Correct inflation and alignment are the two most important factors in long tyre life. A misaligned vehicle wastes rubber and it’s important to remember that all uneven wear costs fuel.


Maintaining correct tyre inflation should be the day to day responsibility of drivers. As a fleet manager you don’t have the time to do this. Drivers know their vehicles and can feel where their vehicles are underperforming.
When checking inflation, drivers should also be checking for uneven wear. Significant uneven wear will be hurting the cost per km and as a fleet manager you need to know about it.


On average, most fleets can expect to do a complete tyre rotation for every long haul vehicle every 25,000 kilometres or so. However, this varies widely due to different loads, driving habits, truck setups and road conditions.

Different rotation patterns should be followed to tackle different types of wear issues. Understand the situation by examining each and every tyre and rotate them as suggested in the user manual of the vehicle. Tyres can also be rotated as a preventive measure at regular intervals in a specific pattern to improve overall tyre life.


When a vehicle is aligned, it means that all the tyres are rolling in the same direction that the vehicle is travelling in. Tyre alignment should be checked if any irregular tyre wear has been reported or the vehicle is pulling to one side or even dog-tracking. This can also correspond with tyre rotation. While every truck is different, a general guide is to do your alignments at the same time you replace the tyres.

Tyres usually operate with heavy loads and in challenging conditions, which increases the need to check alignment. On a vehicle that has tandem axles, like a truck, aligning only the front end is only doing a small part of the job. A misaligned drive and trailer axle leads to scrub and thrust forces that contribute to irregular wear, steering pull, and driver fatigue.

Uneven wear typically shows on steer tyres. However, these are commonly created by misaligned drive and trailer tyres. In particular, drive axles have a huge impact on a vehicle’s overall alignment.

Load Management

No matter the size of a fleet, the biggest challenges are the same. The most costly mistake to make is not considering load management seriously. If a job can be done with a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle, then it should be. The Load Index specified on tyres is regularly exceeded by many Middle Eastern fleets. A load distribution study carried out by Longmarch highlighted that tyres are often operating at overload conditions. In certain cases the tyres have been overloaded extensively, carrying more than 70 % percent of the rated Load. Overweight loading will cause excessive wear and tear on the vehicle. Regularly overloading means you’ll replace the tyres and brakes more often.

Tyre patterns should be carefully selected as per the actual loading conditions specific to each fleet. Another key factor is maintaining the tyre pressure according to the loading pattern. Generally All-Steel tyres come with a higher rated pressure than standard semi steel tyre. Maintaining tyres at the optimum rated pressure and loading pattern not only reduces the risk of tyre failure, but also enhances tyre life extensively.

In brief, day to day load management trick is managing the load per axle and per tyre. Making the load bearing as consistent as possible will help to preserve the lifespan of your tyres. It will reduce rolling resistance. Ultimately, it will reduce your cost per kilometre.

Second Life of tyres – Regrooving and Retreading

A huge amount of rubber and engineering goes into every tyre. When the tread wears thin there is no need to replace the entire tyre. All-Steel tyres have reinforced sidewalls and can be both re-grooved and retreaded. This is inexpensive in comparison to purchasing entirely new tyres.

Choosing All-Steel tyres will improve the long-term efficiency of your vehicles. So it’s important to calculate both the cost per kilometre and the replacement costs when purchasing tyres for your fleet.

By using All-Steel technology, Longmarch provides a competitive advantage over semi-steel tyres and delivering long term savings. They provide a cost-efficient tyre solution to the needs of your Middle Eastern fleet.