Ace in the Hole

FOR YEARS, tire dealers told Ace Waste Systems President Brian Jones that their products could save him money. But as far as he was concerned, they were just spinning their wheels. “If it was out there to be tried, I've tried it,” Jones says. “I've tried every brand that they make, just about.”

Jones and his brother Kevin founded Ace Waste Systems, a construction debris handler operating in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, in 1996. The company operates 15 roll-off trucks (Mack Granite CV713s and Mack RDs with tandem rear axles) and six front-load trucks (Peterbilt 379s and Mack MRs). Each day, the roll-off trucks service commercial and residential construction sites, chemical plants and refineries to pick up waste for disposal at a construction debris landfill. The trucks run between 250 and 500 miles each day, round trip.

Working in these conditions meant Ace was going through a lot of tires. Normal wear and tear was an issue, but Jones' chief concern was punctures. Driving over nails, screws, steel rebar and other hazards was like playing a perpetual game of Russian roulette, even with new tires.

“We're talking tires that were two or three weeks old. I'd get to work or a driver would get here, and the truck's sitting there with two, three, four flat tires in the back. It was just horrible.”

Jones says he'd often watch in dismay as his mechanics pulled as many as 15 or 20 nails out of a tire. Worse, Jones was unable to offset the replacement cost by using retreads. “Whatever they did during the process of retreading would actually weaken the tire itself, and the tire would be much more susceptible to getting punctures compared to a virgin tire,” Jones recalls.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Jones made the acquaintance of Goodyear Commercial Tires President Joey Shilling, his only source of tires in that chaotic time. Shilling encouraged Jones to test drive a set of tires using Goodyear's new DuraSeal technology. The proprietary technology features a gel-like solvent-free compound built into the inner liner of the tire, which is designed to instantly seal up to one-fourth-inch punctures in the tread area. This allows trucks to continue operating even after a tire sustains multiple punctures. Repairs are not necessary until the tire is retreaded.

Jones installed eight of the DuraSeal G287 tires on the drive axle of one of his trucks. The tread on the new tires lasted twice as long as the tires he had been using, he says. Furthermore, the new tires can be retreaded and maintain their resistance to punctures, significantly extending their useful life and maximizing Jones' tire budget, he adds.

“I have retreaded at least four DuraSeals, and they have worked flawlessly,” says Jones, who has been using the tires on eight of his trucks since March. “Not a flat. Nothing.”

Despite the increased upfront costs, Jones is saving about $5,000 a month compared to what he was spending on tires before switching. The DuraSeal line will be expanded this fall to include a greater range of sizes and tread configurations, and Jones says he plans to gradually fit the rest of his fleet with DuraSeals.