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August 29, 2011  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Hit the Road: Choosing the Right Tires

When selecting tires for a school bus, it is essential to consider how those tires will cope with harsh weather and road conditions, as well as frequent starts and stops.

by Brittany-Marie Swanson


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Michelin's XDN2 drive-axle tire provides high levels of traction, making it optimal for difficult winter conditions.
<p>Michelin's XDN2 drive-axle tire provides high levels of traction, making it optimal for difficult winter conditions.</p>

"Our most popular tire for school buses is the Michelin XZE2 all-position tire," he says.

The climate in which a bus is operated affects tire choice. "Buses that operate in difficult winter conditions may choose to take advantage of the Michelin XDN2 drive-axle tire, which delivers superior levels of traction, even in extreme conditions," Jones explains.

Michelin designs these tires to provide the needed levels of traction and responsiveness required to safely operate a bus, as well as withstand the potential for sidewall damage from curb impacts or debris, Jones says. "By using a casing construction and sidewall compound that are more damage resistant, the tires will be better able to endure the rigors of school bus service," he adds.

Some of the tires also incorporate the company's Matrix Spring technology,which helps to provide needed traction and protects the tread by "locking together for the stability normally associated with solid tread blocks," Jones explains.

"It is also important that the tires are properly maintained, especially the tire pressure," Jones says. "An under- or over-inflated tire's performance will suffer compared to that of a properly inflated school bus tire."

Jones also notes that proper vehicle alignment is integral to maximizing tire life, and that school bus operators should avoid using products on a bus' tires that could potentially harm the tire.

Double Coin's RT 500 all-position tire is equipped with sidewall protectors on both sides so the tire can be turned around to provide equal protection.
<p>Double Coin's RT 500 all-position tire is equipped with sidewall protectors on both sides so the tire can be turned around to provide equal protection.</p>

Double Coin Holdings
Double Coin Holdings’ RT 500 all-position tire is an especially popular product for the school bus industry, according to Aaron Murphy, vice president at China Manufacturers Alliance (CMA). CMA, the North American subsidiary of Double Coin Holdings, also produces the RT 600 and the RT 606+, both newer generation tires equipped with special tread compounds designed to fight rapid wear.

Each of these tires has sidewall protectors on both sides of the tire, so that if “you retread the tire and one side of the sidewall is worn down, you can turn that tire around and you’ve got a brand new sidewall protector ready for use,” Murphy explains.

“We also have special siping in the tread areas to fight irregular wear, because what occurs in an urban environment … is you’re maneuvering in and out of driveways or over railroad tracks,” he adds. “You want to try to preserve the tread as much as you can.”

This siping also prevents rib tearing. The sipes help to increase tire traction in wet environments, and torn ribs could compromise bus safety or even prematurely end the life of a tire.

In addition, Double Coin tire “casings are manufactured to withstand urban use because … [school bus drivers] are not just driving in a straight line. They’re twisting and turning, creating lateral forces, so the tire has to have a strong casing,” Murphy says.

Double Coin also offers federal, state and local government fleet pricing, as well as over 1,000 points of sale throughout North America.

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