Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Don't Tread on Me

Okay, so that pun was so obvious, it's a groaner. What's coming? A post on!

What to do about the common occurrence of  nails in the tires? (Remove 'em, spray soapy water, watch for bubbles. Call the tire guy if you see bubbles.)

How about various tread wear patterns? Flat spots across the entire tire -- probably from locking up the breaks. Wear on the outsides of the tires -- often under-inflation, maybe an alignment problem. Wear on the inside of the tires -- over-inflation. Cupping, as in occasional flat spots around the entire wheel -- a variety of causes, such as an unbalanced wheel or alignment problem. And never underestimate the impact of bad drivers.

But the answer as to what to do should be easy. As a driver, you aren't paid to think. Certainly not to process cause-effect. You do a pre-trip; you do a post-trip; you record what you see; you give the record to your boss.

Your boss thinks. Isn't that brilliant?

I love that.

I don't have to think when I look at wear. I just have to pull out my tire tread depth gauge (or a Lincoln penny). On a steer tire, I need a minimum of 4/32nds of an inch; on a rear tire, 2/32nds of an inch.

Now, of course, driving for a small company without an on-staff mechanic in a county without a scale house (with its threat of inspection) requires an extra skill-set many-a-driver may not need -- one must be able to repeat, over and over, "California law says..." "California law says..." "The CHP says..." "The CHP says..."

Not much thinking involved. When the resident warehouse 'expert-in-all-things' wants to talk about tread depths and what's safe versus what's in the Commercial Driver Handbook, what's 'real' versus what's bureaucratic BS, you can say, "But the CHP says..."   ... Then clock out and go home at the end of your shift.

I mean, really. Tread depth rules are yet another government conspiracy? Don't you think the government is awfully busy covering up other frauds, like the lack of cheese in American cheese?

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