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Appearance and safety often go hand in hand. When you take your vehicle to the car wash, you choose to get it cleaned not just because it will improve its appearance, but because regular washing saves your vehicle from salt, rust, and damage. Wheel safety and appearance also go hand-in-hand.

THE IMPORTANCE OF APPEARANCE

Your wheels represent your fleet to other drivers on the road. They are a moving advertisement that can either instill confidence or create doubt in your organization’s level of quality. Well-maintained wheels project professionalism and demonstrate your ability to handle materials, people, or products, but one rusty rim is enough to create a perception of unreliability.

The appearance of your wheels also serves as a litmus test for the health and integrity of the wheel. There’s a reason OSHA mandates the removal of rust, dirt, and debris from wheel rims: these types of debris can create pitting and hide dangerous cracks in the wheel. Regularly cleaning and refinishing your wheels will protect them and help you see when it’s time for a replacement, improving your wheel safety.

When you pay attention to the aesthetic of your wheels, you take better care of your fleet holistically. When wheels are well-maintained, they last longer, increasing productivity, saving time and money in the long run. In order to see these results, regular wheel safety maintenance plans should be followed.

THE DATA BEHIND MAINTENANCE

Chart depicting crash rates by BASIC violation. Source: FMCSA.

Chart depicting crash rates by BASIC violation. Source: FMCSA.

The importance of vehicle and wheel maintenance is supported by national safety data collected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA’s enforcement program – Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) – uses a data-driven approach to identify risk factors that potentially lead to higher crash rates among motor carriers. The data collected has identified seven main areas that forecast higher crash rates, known as Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). One of these categories is Vehicle Maintenance, which includes maintenance of wheels, with cracked rims listed specifically as a violation (393.205).

As part of the CSA program, FMCSA studies issues that increase the likelihood of accidents. They found that serious violations of the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC were linked with a crash rate of 5.65 crashes per 100 vehicles, significantly higher than the national average of 3.43 crashes per 100 vehicles.

Wheel maintenance plays an important role in complying with the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. In addition to other vehicle safety measures, inspecting, refinishing, and securing your wheels can improve your wheel safety and safeguard your fleet for the road ahead. By taking the simple step of monitoring your wheels’ appearance, you can improve a key area of your overall vehicle maintenance plan.

As a proven leader in steel wheel refinishing, IMI understands the challenges facing your fleet to keep your wheels safe against the harsh road conditions they endure. We can help you get higher quality wheel refinishing services through providing the information you need or recommending a refinishing service provider.  Contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable representative.