Adopting Hunter tire changing and alignment equipment has resulted in huge benefits for Bushell Transport.
Established in 1963, Bushell Transport is a successful, family-run business, located in Acheson, Alberta, just west of Edmonton.
Bushell’s fleet of Peterbilt trucks and specialized Murray trailers haul all kinds of outsized loads, frequently over long distances. Being successful in this business requires not only having the right vehicles but also the right tires and maintenance requirements. Bill Vezina, a former truck driver who now runs Bushell’s Compliance and Training programs, notes that safety and reliability are at the forefront of the company’s operations, meaning that maintenance is a top priority.
“Our equipment typically has 16,000 to 20,000 lbs. front ends,” explains Vezina. Moreover, Bushell’s tractor units are typically 6×4 chassis (three axles with the two rear axles being driven). The trucks receive a three-axle alignment, following the installation of front steer tires and wheel balancing. “We do quite a bit more than other carriers do,” says Vezina.
Heavy load hauling puts added stress on vehicle components, including the chassis, steering, suspension and of course tires. Because minimizing operating costs is critical for fleets (especially in today’s high inflationary and interest rate environment), controlling service processes and investing in state-of-the-art equipment is essential.
It’s one reason why Bushell performs maintenance and repair services in-house. It’s also why, when looking for tire changing, wheel balancing and alignment equipment, the company chose to work with Hunter Engineering Company.
“Before we partnered with Hunter, we would have another company come to our yard and perform tire changeovers,” says Vezina.
Small tires, specialist needs
Often, the work was time-consuming—given the specialized nature of the equipment—not only for the tractor units, which tend to feature oversized front steer tires but also the specialized lowboy trailers, which have anywhere from 24-48 wheels on them and small 17.5 inch tires with very stiff sidewalls.
When Hunter representatives came by and performed a tire changeover demonstration, Vezina says that Bushell’s management team instantly saw the value. “The 17.5-inch tires we have on a lot of our trailers are not easy to change,” Vezina explains, “but when we saw a demo with Hunter’s heavy-duty tire changer, and the fact that one of these tires could be changed in just seven minutes, with no damage to the beads or the rim, it was a huge win for us.”
Compared with using traditional bars to pry tires off the rim, Hunter’s TCX635 Heavy-Duty Tire Changer, not only saves time and minimizes any risk of damage to the tire or wheel, it also protects the technician, since they aren’t exerting a huge amount of force trying to remove the tire, which could lead to strain and injury.
Bushell Transport installed its Hunter TCX635 Heavy-Duty Tire Changer in 2017, along with a Hunter HD EliteTM Wheel Balancer and Hunter WinAlign® HD alignment machine. Since then, the company hasn’t looked back.
“We’ve seen a huge reduction in tire wear on our fleet of vehicles,” says Vezina. The advantage has become even more apparent over the last few years, especially as the cost of replacement tires has skyrocketed. “We’re able to balance all of our tractor and trailer tires efficiently,” Vezina says, and because there is less wear, there’s less maintenance, which means less downtime for their vehicles. “We’re seeing far less premature wear and fewer on-road breakdowns, as well as less strain and issues for our staff. Plus, the training and support Hunter provides is first-rate. For us, as a transportation company, partnering with Hunter Engineering Company has been a massive win-win.”