“Proper alignment could increase fuel efficiency,” said Andrew Sia, the founder of Synergy Uptrend Sdn Bhd.
The Importance of Proper Wheel Alignment
Fleet operators have their own set of challenges with the increased competition in today’s marketplace. The day-to-day costs of running a fleet are adding up quickly. To remain competitive in the industry, commercial vehicle owners and operators would have to look at various options to bring more efficiency into the operation and enable them to drive down costs.
“Given their high costs, maximising tyre life could provide fleet operators significant savings as tyres are the second biggest cost after fuel. Sadly, though they know the fact, not many really take it seriously. They are either too tied up with their daily operation or they do not have the proper system to implement total tyre care,” said Andrew Sia, the founder of Synergy Uptrend Sdn Bhd.
Importance of proper wheel alignment
He pointed out that many did not realise the importance of proper wheel alignment. It was surprising to find that people still believe that tyre quality, punctures and regular wear were the only tyre problems. Not many were fully aware of the extent of damage that could be caused by misaligned wheels.
“Proper alignment could increase fuel efficiency. When your truck isn’t aligned correctly, your wheels aren’t working together the way that they should. Your truck engine has to work harder to propel your truck forward, which is very fuel consuming. While tyres themselves only account for 5 to 15 per cent of a truck’s operating costs they could affect 40 per cent of all the other costs, including fuel use. Driving a badly aligned vehicle causes truck parts to wear unevenly and prematurely. Each time you hit a pothole or bump on the road, your steering and suspension system take a hit. When your tyres aren’t evenly helping with the impact, certain areas of these systems take the hit harder than others, causing them to break down sooner than they should. If they break down completely, you would face even more expensive truck parts damage that could have been avoided if preventive measures were taken, like scheduled proper alignment per truck every 6 months.”
Besides that, he said, it would also affect the vehicle’s performance. When the truck alignment was off, he explained, the truck would drift slightly either to the right or left even though the steering wheel was aimed straight ahead. Constantly adjusting the steering to compensate for bad alignment was tiring, inefficient, distracting and dangerous.
“A properly aligned truck ensures safety and smooth driving, and keeps you from running into unexpected breakdown issues that could leave you stranded on the road. Last but not least, regular wheel alignment would help prolong tyre life. Your tyres are expensive assets and the only contact point between your truck and the road. Thus, do not wait till your truck fails the mandated wheel alignment inspection at the Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centre (PUSPAKOM). If you fail the inspection, your truck would be suspended from operation and it would probably affect your insurance claims and premium during that suspension period. Your premium might be higher the following year if the insurance company knows about the frequent suspension from operation period,” he added.
Invest in industry-leading Hunter wheel alignment system
To help fleet operators get the most out of their tyres and operate efficiently, Synergy Uptrend has invested in the Hunter PA260 aligner with DSP740T sensor. Designed specifically for heavy duty trucks, he said this aligner was fast and powerful.
“USA-based Hunter is the world leader in wheel alignment and balancing as well as tyre changing. The PA260 wheel aligner with DSP740T sensor blends speed with precision and accuracy to ensure that there is no compromise on the wheel alignment done to your truck. It is capable of measuring camber, caster, toe, thrust angle, Steering Axis Inclination (SAI), Included Angle (IA), Toe-Out-On-Turns and Maximum Steering Angle as well as trailer tyres. Not all wheel aligners in the marketplace are able to measure trailer tyres with accuracy and confidence,” he said.
It is also worth mentioning that this aligner has an extensive specification database, including OEM specifications with customisation additions. It is consistently up-to-date with easily updated specifications and software yearly.
“Two printed reports showing all the measurements before and after the alignment are provided to the customer, which would serve as proof that they had done their truck alignment,” he added.
To maximise truck tyre life, he recommended that the operators check tyre pressure each time the driver changed shifts. He stressed that the company was promoting tyre pressure management as a vital factor in tyre safety and performance. As a general rule, he said, have your truck’s wheel alignment checked every 60,000km or every 6 months even when you did not encounter any tyre problems.
At present, Synergy Uptrend has two truck centres, located in Shah Alam and Johor Bahru, and both are equipped with the Hunter PA260 wheel aligner with DSP740T sensor.
“We encourage our customers to send their trucks to our centre for routine tyre pressure and wheel alignment checks.”
A partner with Bridgestone Malaysia, Synergy Uptrend sells mainly the Bridgestone and Firestone brand of truck tyres. Buying cheaper tyres or changing to a cheaper brand did not mean saving money in the long run due to the quality and retreadability. “We carry Bridgestone and Firestone truck tyres as they are reputable for their quality, safety and strong casings.”
Total Tyre Management to track tyres from cradle to grave
The company also developed its own total tyre management system to help fleet owners take good care of their tyres, from cradle to grave on a contract basis. This allows the truck owners and operators to focus on their core business.
“Total Tyre Management involves everything from checking pressures regularly, adjusting them to ensure that tyres are not changed when they still have plenty of life left in them. It also means maximising tyre life through regrooving and retreading where possible. In addition, the Bridgestone audit team would carry out a routine check to ensure that the Standard Operating Procedure (SPO) that was agreed on is being followed.”
Transporters should be aware of all the tyre assets by recording the tyre serial numbers, he continued, when rotating the tyres for the truck or to another truck, and sending them for retreading or are being scrapped. It was important to track all tyres monthly before any tyre went ‘missing’. He said if 10 tyre casings were to go missing each month and the average casing price was RM200 per tyre, the transporter might suffer losses of RM2,000 per month (or RM24,000 a year) without realising it. Another worst case scenario was the tyre becoming completely worn, if not properly tracked. The bald tyre might not be the transporter’s tyre in the first place as there were no proper records. This meant all the hard work and profit would go to tyre losses in such a case.
A monthly tyre performance report by the depot on the vehicle, he continued, was provided to the total tyre management customers. Appropriate action would be taken if the report revealed unusual tyre failure or consumption.
“For the transporter who works with us, we would share actual tyre cost for each route per month and per year by driver. The benchmark set by the good drivers with the lowest tyre cost per month and per year becomes the standard for the other drivers in the company to achieve. We also share information on the least breakdown truck in each company to appreciate the good driver that checks tyre pressure regularly.”
The company also provides 24/7 nationwide breakdown support and the coverage areas are the Klang Valley, Seremban, Johor Bahru and Kuantan. Other areas are supported by its third party partners. The average response time for the breakdown team is said to be about 2-and-a-half hours or less in specified areas.
“At the moment, we have a tyre storage and breakdown service in Kuantan to support our customers. We have plans to open more outlets as well as venture into the tyre retreading industry in the future,” he concluded.
“在高成本的压力下，最大幅度提高轮胎使用寿命能够为车队营运者带来巨大的节省，因为轮胎是继燃油之后的第二大成本。可惜的是，尽管他们知道这个事实，认真对待的业者却不多。他们要不是被日常营运捆绑得紧紧的， 就是没有一个适当的系统来实施全面的轮胎保养。”Synergy Uptrend私人有限公司谢忠诚表示。
“一辆车轮定位良好的卡车不仅确保安全和顺畅的驾驶，也能避免车子突然发生故障，导致你被困留在路上。最后，定期的车轮定位检查可协助延长轮胎寿命。你的轮胎是昂贵的资产，也是你的卡车与道路的唯一接触点。因此，不要等到你的卡车无法通过电脑汽车检查中心（PUSPAKOM） 的强制性检测时才行动，因为你的卡车将会被 暂停使用，而且也会影响你的保险索赔和保费。你明年的保费也会被调高。”他补充。
为了协助车队营运者充分使用轮胎和达到高效运作，Synergy Uptrend 投资了配备DSP740T传感器的PA260车轮定位仪。他说，该车轮定位仪是特别为重型卡车所设计的，迅速且功能强大。
“美国的亨特（Hunter）是世界车轮定位与平衡，以及轮胎更换设备专家。配备DSP740T传感器的PA260 车轮定位仪，结合了速度与精确性，确保卡车车轮的准确定位。它能够测量内倾角、前束角、后倾角、 推力角、转向轴倾斜角（SAI）、包容角（IA）、转弯外倾角、最大转向角及拖车轮胎。目前市面上的车轮定位仪并非每一台都能精确且充满信心地测量拖车轮胎。”他说。
目前，Synergy Uptrend 有两家卡车服务中心，分别位于沙亚南和新山，而这两家卡车服务中心都拥有配备DSP740T传感器的亨特PA260车轮定位仪。
该公司也提供24/7紧急故障支援，覆盖包括巴生谷、芙蓉、新山及关丹等地。其他地区则由其第三方伙伴支援。 该公司紧急故障团队一般都能在不超过两小时半 内回应特定的区域。