Lightweight Composite Springs Double Tire Life for Sentinel Transportation



ENGLEWOOD, OH – Sentinel Transportation, LLC has seen their tire life increase 2-3 times after replacing the steel springs on their Eaton 1202 I steer axles with Liteflex lightweight composite springs.

“We used to get 75,000 – 90,000 miles from our steer axle tires,” says Sentinel’s Fleet Manager Orville White, “now we’re seeing 200,000-250,000 miles before pulling the tires at 6 – 8/32nds wear measurement.”

Sentinel Transportation, LLC is a joint venture transportation company that operates 425 trucks for Dupont and ConocoPhillips, operations consist of 47 locations domiciled in 28 states with 730 drivers hauling virtually every type of trailer imaginable. Despite the wide range of driver styles, terrain, weather, and loads hauled, White has seen consistency in steering tire life.

Some of the increased wear may be due to the decreased weight – the proprietary mixture of fiberglass and epoxy weigh 75% less than steel. White, however, believes that “the soft rebound of the Liteflex spring allows the spring to absorb more of the flex into the suspension rather than the tire having to absorb all of the changes in the road surfaces when forced onto the road surface by a less forgiving steel spring.” He is confident that the doubling of tire life and its inherent decreased cost-per-mile is due to the lightweight composite springs.

In addition to significant tire life gains, White reports a better ride from the springs, “All one has to do is ride in a truck with composite front springs versus one with steel springs.” That is likely a result to the increased flex provided by the composite springs. Elimination of metal-to-metal contact also yields a quieter ride from the Liteflex springs. Additionally, the composites are comparable to steel in terms of performance (as measured in deflection testing results provided by the manufacturer of Liteflex). While driver comfort and better handling are important, the tangible benefit demonstrated is the doubling of tire life and the decreased cost per mile that it affords.

In addition to installing the Liteflex springs on each of his truck steer axles, White also installed them on a portion of the 1200 trailers that Sentinel manages. “Trailer tire life has increased only 40-50% over 3-leaf steel springs or multi-stack leaf springs” says White, who started using composite springs in 1994. The reduced weight of the composite springs along with other weight savings features allows increased load carrying capacity for the trailers. Larger payloads in the bulk truck industry increases efficiency of each trip, and will reduce the overall cost per gallon or pound of product transported, reducing the overall number of transportation moves in a year.

Maintenance is easier too, as White attests. “The Liteflex spring is easier to replace because it is very light in weight. Switching away from a known entity in steel to a lighter weight composite spring has had positive impact for Sentinel Transportation Services. Increased tire life and payload capacities have helped control costs-per-mile, while a smoother ride increased driver comfort. Whether fleets are seeking bottom-line cost improvements, or softer-side benefits, composite springs can help fleets to improve performance. Performance gains are important, especially when facing ever-rising fuel costs.


For more information on Liteflex Composite Springs, please call (937) 836-7025 ext 206, e-mail, or write to Liteflex, 100 Holiday Drive, Englewood, OH 45322.

Liteflex has been providing composite springs for 30 years. They have produced over 21,000,000+ springs manufactured for vehicles, including GM, Ford, Range Rover, DaimlerChrysler, Iveco, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Freightliner and Navistar, and others.

Orville White is a Safety and Environmental Manager at Conoco Inc. and DuPont.