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In 1946, Michelin introduced one of the most important advances in the transportation industry: the radial tire. While traditional tires featured cord plies that intersected diagonally, the radial tire added cord plies that cross the median axis at a 90-degree angle – resulting in better grip, resistance, and tread life. The radial tire created a new category for the transportation industry and solved one of the greatest challenges facing fleets at that time.

Unfortunately, inventions like the radial tire don’t come along every day in trucking. All too often, new products are brought to market that make a lot of promises but never really deliver on their claims. Yet when a true innovation comes along, it can provide significant support in the difficult day-to-day operations of a fleet, improving key priorities such as fuel economy and safety.

What’s the difference between innovations that over promise and innovations that deliver? True innovations respond to the real-life aches and pains of fleets by establishing new categories of vehicle care. True innovations are the result of inspection, discovery, experimentation, measurement and customer validation. Below, we highlight some key innovations in around-the-wheel care that meet these criteria: solutions that establish new categories and – most importantly – provide real benefits for fleets.

Innovations in Wheel Care


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The Innovation:
Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) warn drivers when their tires are deflating. Before TPMS, drivers could accidentally drive on under-inflated tires because the walls of the tire were still strong enough to support the vehicle even when tires were not full inflated.

Benefits for Fleets:
– Increased safety. Under-inflated tires account for 1.5% of all crashes. Drivers who are aware their tires are under-inflated can prevent a crash before it happens.
– Improved fuel efficiency. Properly inflated tires result in 3%-4% better gas mileage.


The Innovation:
Aerodynamic drag devices, such as gap reducers, tails, and skirts, reduce drag on a tractor-trailer. “Drag” is resistance from the air moving over the vehicle and a key culprit in fuel inefficiencies.

Benefits for Fleets:
Improved fuel efficiency. Vehicles with aero devices can realize up to 9% fuel savings.


The Innovation:
Internal wheel-end balancers are compounds that provide an accurate, continual balance within the tire/wheel assembly for the life of the tread. They reduce uneven tire wear by moving dynamically with the tire, unlike traditional wheel weight balancers.  Traditional static balancers stay in one place and can even contribute to wheel imbalances, since they don’t move to uneven areas as they arise. IMI’s EQUAL was the first internal wheel-end balancer to hit the market in 1999, and its successor, IMI FLEXX, leads the category today.

Benefits for Fleets:
Longer tire life. Tires balanced with IMI FLEXX can have extended tread wear by 40%.
Improved fuel efficiency. Longer tread wear means tires realize up to 2% fuel savings.
– Reduced vehicle vibrations. IMI FLEXX is proven to reduce vibrations and improve driver comfort with its Dual Force active balancing technology.


The Innovation:
IMI MILCURE was first to answer OSHA’s demand for safe and reliable wheel refinishing; thirty years later, it’s still the only turnkey steel wheel refinishing system on the market.  It is comprised of the highest quality equipment, powder, and refinishing technology to ensure safe wheels and protect against future corrosion – keeping fleets moving for the long road ahead.

Benefits for Fleets:
Increased corrosion protection. IMI MILCURE refinished wheels achieve a more consistent, rust-free surface with the correct size blast media to remove coating without the risk of excessive pitting – reducing the risk of inset corrosion.  The IMI powder used in the MILCURE wheel refinishing process is also specially-designed for steel wheel refinishing.
The powder coating used in the MILCURE process doesn’t just add color and gloss to a wheel – it also acts as a shield against corrosion. Unlike traditional paint, powder coat doesn’t require repeat applications; this keeps your fleet on the road with quality wheels, reducing your downtime.
– Superior quality control.
IMI’s MILCURE uses a focused, three-step inspection process to facilitate the discovery of problem wheels before they impact your fleet.  Wheels are thoroughly inspected for any damage or out-of-service conditions.


From the radial tire to internal wheel-end balancing, true innovations stand out in the industry for one simple reason: they provide real benefits for fleets. They tackle a specific challenge to deliver solutions that can give a fleet that extra push towards success.

At IMI, we’ve spent over 40 years driving innovations in the commercial trucking industry.  We research, develop, create, test, and analyze new ideas to bring your fleet tire, wheel, and fuel-preserving solutions.  Let us find a solution for you: contact one of our knowledgeable representatives today!