Fleet Maintenance - 38


Taking the extra
step to prevent

One fleet shares the implementation of its standard
operating procedures for wheel end servicing.


By Tyler Fussner

he term "wheel-off" refers to an incident in which
a wheel dismounts from a vehicle while it is in
operation. This can be caused from loose lug nuts,
bearing failure at the spindle, improper torque on
the lug nuts, rusted or damaged lug nuts, threads,
or studs, or improper installation and inspection
procedures. Wheel-offs are extremely dangerous and have resulted in devastating accidents,
damages, and losses. To help mitigate wheel-off
instances, it is imperative to follow standard
operating procedures (SOPs) when installing and
servicing commercial vehicle wheels.

Updating standard
operating procedures
Dan Flanagan, vice president of maintenance for
Bulkmatic Transport, has implemented an installation and inspection procedure, in addition to
the Technology and Maintenance Council's recommended SOP, with company technicians. This
initiative minimizes the risk of wheel-offs and
helps to ensure the safety of Bulkmatic's drivers

and the public motorists with which they share
the road. Bulkmatic is headquartered in Griffith,
Indiana, and has 55 terminal locations across
North America with more than 550 tractors and
over 1,500 dry bulk trailers.
Bulkmatic, like many fleets, has had instances
of loose wheels and even wheel-offs. Flanagan

SOP requires a
certified observer
be present for the
process of spindle
and nut wheel

spoke to the struggle of ensuring that technicians
and vendors were doing their part to confirm the
wheels and spindle nuts were properly installed
and torqued each and every time a wheel was
serviced. Technicians can face many distractions
in a shop from incoming and outgoing drivers,
dispatch, shop managers, and the workload of
simultaneous services.
Whatever the case may be, the reality is a technician may lose track on their progress of their
wheel service and miss important steps and procedures. Flanagan wanted to eliminate this risk and
came up with a customized SOP for wheel service.
Flanagan served in the U. S. Marine Corps for
21 years as a crew member involved in the repair
process of jet fighter aircraft. He spoke to the SOP
of aircraft repair and how it had influenced the
SOP implemented for Bulkmatic's wheel servicing.
"When our aircraft were repaired, it was
required that a collateral duty inspector (CDI)
inspect the repair," Flanagan says. "If the repair
involved a flight control item, a quality assurance
representative (QAR) would observe and inspect
the repair. We are using a similar process, requiring a 'certified observer' to witness the critical
process of the installation of the spindle nut and
wheel lug nuts. The QAR level [of service inspection] is the level we need to be [at] with wheel and
hub installation."
According to Flanagan, this SOP helps fill in
the gaps that standard SOPs may overlook. A
second pair of trained and certified eyes is verifying that the process is being performed properly.
The "certified observer" - who could be another
technician in the shop, a dispatcher, or even a
terminal manager - receives the same training
and certifications as the technicians completing
the service in order to thoroughly ensure that the
verification is sufficient.
The SOP requires a certified observer be present
throughout the process of spindle nut and wheel
installations. If a certified observer is unavailable,
the service is halted and only continues when a
certified observer is able to verify
the installation process. Flanagan
notes that this piece of the procedure has caused some delays, but
he values the safety assurance
over the loss in uptime.
The SOP also calls for a torque
check of every wheel lug nut
during each preventive maintenance (PM) procedure, which is
scheduled in 60-day intervals for
This SOP goes beyond
Bulkmatic's own vehicles and
technicians. If a vendor installs
wheels on Bulkmatic property,
they too are subject to the SOP
and must have a certified observ┬╗┬╗Establishing a standardized
operating procedure (SOP)
for wheel-end inspection can
help ensure wheels and spindle
nuts are properly installed
and torqued each and every
time a wheel is serviced.
Photo courtesy of SKF

38 Fleet Maintenance | February 2020


Fleet Maintenance

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance

Vehicles: What's Next in Federal Vehicle Emissions Standards?
In the Bay: Technician Tool Support
Shop Operations: State of the Industry
Taking the Extra Step to Prevent Wheel-offs
Planning Ahead for Vehicle Cybersecurity Threats
Management: How Do You Know When to Replace a Vehicle?
Economic Outlook: Won't Get Fooled Again
Letter from the Editor: Real-world Views on Parts, Service, and Operations
Tools & Equipment
Guest Editorial: Moisture in Trailer Brakes is Not Just a Nuisance
Hand & Specialty Tools Supplement
Specialty Hand Tools: The Problem Solvers
Time to Multitask
Get a Hold on Hand Tool Safety
Electric Vehicle Tool Set
Tool Review
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - 8
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - Vehicles: What's Next in Federal Vehicle Emissions Standards?
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - 12
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - 16
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - 18
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - 20
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - 22
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - 24
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - In the Bay: Technician Tool Support
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - 28
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - Shop Operations: State of the Industry
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - 32
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - 34
Fleet Maintenance - 35
Fleet Maintenance - 36
Fleet Maintenance - 37
Fleet Maintenance - Taking the Extra Step to Prevent Wheel-offs
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - Planning Ahead for Vehicle Cybersecurity Threats
Fleet Maintenance - 41
Fleet Maintenance - 42
Fleet Maintenance - 43
Fleet Maintenance - Management: How Do You Know When to Replace a Vehicle?
Fleet Maintenance - 45
Fleet Maintenance - Economic Outlook: Won't Get Fooled Again
Fleet Maintenance - 47
Fleet Maintenance - Letter from the Editor: Real-world Views on Parts, Service, and Operations
Fleet Maintenance - 49
Fleet Maintenance - 50
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - 52
Fleet Maintenance - Classifieds
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial: Moisture in Trailer Brakes is Not Just a Nuisance
Fleet Maintenance - 55
Fleet Maintenance - 56
Fleet Maintenance - Hand & Specialty Tools Supplement
Fleet Maintenance - A2
Fleet Maintenance - Specialty Hand Tools: The Problem Solvers
Fleet Maintenance - A4
Fleet Maintenance - Time to Multitask
Fleet Maintenance - A6
Fleet Maintenance - Get a Hold on Hand Tool Safety
Fleet Maintenance - A8
Fleet Maintenance - Electric Vehicle Tool Set
Fleet Maintenance - Tool Review
Fleet Maintenance - A11
Fleet Maintenance - A12
Fleet Maintenance - Products
Fleet Maintenance - A14
Fleet Maintenance - A15
Fleet Maintenance - A16