My Love’s TirePass review comes after being back in a company truck for over 3 months. Intrigued, I decided to give it a try.
Love’s TirePass – The Concept
The concept is genius. You pull into the fuel island and a tire technician checks your air pressure and adds air to our requirements. The tech also measures your tread depth and gives you a full report. Brilliant plan. Really!
Plan Execution – My Encounters
My first encounter with TirePass was in mid July. I had a chance to talk to a “tire technician” in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He told me about all the blowouts they were dealing with because of the summer heat. He told me the drivers were over-inflating tires by airing them up to 105-110 psi. His advice? Run your tires at 80 pounds in the summer to keep your tires cooler. Yep! He actually said that.
He should know, the cause of overheating is under inflation. The best thing you can do for your tires in hot weather is to keep them aired up, not deflate them.
The second encounter wasn’t really mine, but a couple of my friends’ encounters. Being new to trucking, they didn’t know that you check and air your tires when they are cold, not in the middle of the day when you stop for fuel. Apparently most of these tire techs don’t know this. They have no problem performing the TirePass service on hot tires. If you run your tires at 110 psi hot, you’re under inflated.
Airing your tires is a morning move. As I see it, the best way to use TirePass is to spend the night at Love’s, then fuel up and air up in the morning. Even your 30 minute break isn’t enough to cool the tires down. My 110 psi cold tires averaged 114 psi later in the day, after my 30 minute break.
My third encounter went as planned. I pulled into the island and fueled the truck at the beginning of my day. Unfortunately, the tech couldn’t make the wireless interface on his hand held device work, so the tread depth inspection never happened. I get it. Hand held devices have their issues.
My fourth and fifth encounters were the same. I usually start out early in the morning, so we’re talking somewhere in the 3-4am time frame in these attempts. Both times, no tech was available. The first time, I was told they paged, but no one answered. The second time I was told “he’s too busy cleaning toilets.”
My final encounter. Keep in mind, the TirePass system is always set up in the lane closest to the building, and it’s usually only available for those using the service.
My last attempt to use the service was just a couple of weeks ago at the Love’s in Emerson, GA. Starting my day around 3am, I planned on buying fuel and going through the TirePass lane. That particular stop has 8 fuel lanes, and the fuel line was backed up way too far for me. I decided to fuel later in the day, but I did want to get a few things in the store.
I walked passed the packed fuel lanes, 7 pump islands full of trucks, and one marked with the familiar TirePass signs. That one was empty. It was empty when I went into the store and empty when I went out. It was still empty as I drove passed it on my way out.
Do the math
You have 8 lanes working at capacity, but you close one. It’s reserved for a rarely used service. Every truck in line just had it’s wait time lengthened by 12 1/2 percent. I’m guessing here, but had I got in that line I would have waited at least 30 minutes to get to a pump. That wait could have been 5 minutes shorter by utilizing the TirePass lane for what it originally is, a fuel island.
The Easy Solution
Love’s has a lot of money invested in equipment and training with this system. And I still think it’s a great idea. It just isn’t a fit at the fuel island. Usually empty, this lane does nothing but make the user experience at the fuel islands worse. Here are my 3 thoughts.
- Move TirePass away from the fuel island. Place that equipment by the tire shop. That way, the rest the customers can get out of there quicker.
- Train your techs. If they’re advising 80 psi on super-single tires, they’re untrained. If they’re airing up hot tires, they need to know better. If the tire technician is too busy scrubbing toilets, you need to figure out another way to deal with the problem. Especially when you’ve blocked off an entire fuel lane for the service.
- Use a lane closed sign when it’s not properly manned. The user experience would be better with a closed sign. Truckers hate waiting. The fact that no one shows up after waiting 5 or 10 minutes makes it worse.
Again, I love the service concept. One of the easiest ways to improve fuel mileage is to properly inflate your tires, and Love’s is trying to make that easier with TirePass. The system just needs a little fine tuning.