When running a time critical business, conducting necessary wheel safety checks maybe neglected or put on the back burner in favour of tyre maintenance.
We have found that few people understand the integral part the wheel plays in overall maintenance, and so we’ve put together some professional guidelines to ensure your vehicle is running on a safe and reliable foundation.
As tyres age, the heat generated from road friction causes tyres to become brittle. Rubber can crack, split or leak, regardless of how much tread is on the tyre. When it comes to the wheel, significant events such as excessive heat from fire, brake malfunction, wheel bearing failure and other sources can weaken the metal, causing the tyre/wheel assembly to explode. Therefore, it is important to schedule wheel maintenance checks regularly.
According to Howmet Wheel Systems Managing Director, Ross Simmons: “General wheel checks should be carried out at least once a month, with a full detailed check on, for example, tyre age, kilometres travelled, pressure level and tread, four times a year – particularly prior to and after the summer months, as the high temperatures can add stress to the tyres and wheels.”
The Tell-Tale Warning Signs to Look For
Here are the three main ways to tell if your wheel has been excessively exposed to excessive heat:
- Charred or burnt in appearance.
- Discolouration of the wheel – appearing dull and greyish in colour and will not polish to a bright finish as a typical wheel would.
- Blistered, blackened or cracked looking labels or logos.
NOTE: IF ANY OF THE ABOVE CONDITIONS ARE SEEN, REMOVE THE ENTIRE ASSEMBLY, INCLUDING THE WHEEL, FROM SERVICE IMMEDIATELY AND PERFORM DIMENSIONAL CHECKS PER SECTION 3-4 IN THE ALCOA® WHEEL SERVICE MANUAL. THIS INCLUDES ANY HEAT DAMAGE TO THE TYRE, DISCOLORATION TO THE WHEEL AND/OR BRAKE DRUM, AND ANY BURNT OR CHARRED LABELS.
Even if a wheel does not appear to be obviously burnt, inspect the labels, tyre bead, and brake components for evidence of charring, melting, blistering or burning. Also check for discolouration to the brake drum.
Alcoa wheels manufactured from January 2009 will have a 2.5cm clear round heat indicator sticker located at the wheel flange next to the roll stamp, as well as a similar sticker located on the tyre side drop well close to the valve.
“Don’t be mistaken by a clean wheel either,” says Simmons. “A wheel that has been exposed to excessive heat may appear to be in good condition if cleaned.”
The heat indicator sticker will activate and blister or have a blackened appearance when exposed to excessive heat.
“If any wheel has been exposed to excessive heat, do not attempt to mount and inflate a tyre showing any of the 3 warning signs, it must be immediately and permanently removed from service,” Simmons recommends.
Conducting regular wheel maintenance checks is not only necessary for your business but extremely important to your safety and the safety of your employees.
To download the full Service Manual for Alcoa Wheels visit the Wheel Service and Manual Fitment page on our website,
or to speak with a technical expert on conducting wheel maintenance for maximum safety and efficiency,
call us on 1800 955 191 – we are always here to help.