Monthly Archives: December 2013

Cheap, fake brakes are very expensive


Dear Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE) customer        

In this final installment I’ll show you why it is more economical to use genuine brake parts. I’ll also summarise what I’ve talked about in this series of posts.


I know the pressure you are under to keep costs down. But, while that set of fake brake drums which costs less than genuine ones may seem tempting, they will need replacing sooner.

And, more importantly, they could even put your driver and other road users in great danger due to poor performance. It is one of the biggest gambles you can take and could in the end cost you the entire truck or even worse, loss of life.

The brake parts that we use at ASE have been made specifically for our vehicles. If they are fitted by our technicians, they will work as they should.

While buying genuine parts is very important, you can do a lot to save wear and tear on your brakes with a few simple adjustments that will improve your cost per kilometer.

  1. Speed. It sounds like child’s play but many drivers will not have thought about the impact of speeding on their brakes. Speeding without reading the road ahead often results in harder braking and more wear and tear.
  2. Distance. In Dubai it is very common for drivers to be very close to the vehicle in front. The idea is to use the “drag” from the other vehicle to save some fuel. However, the driver will not have time to react if the truck in front needs to brake hard suddenly.
    The four-second rule: It is generally recommended to keep a four-second gap with the vehicle in front. This will enable the driver to modulate the speed and avoid a lot of unnecessary braking, saving both fuel and brakes. Importantly the risk of accidents will drop significantly.
  3. Load. Over-loading your truck might seem necessary when the pressure is on you to deliver, but you need to bear in mind that collisions are far more likely because your vehicle will have a longer stopping distance.
    If it does stop on time, you will have had to brake harder to achieve it, resulting in increased wear and tear.
  4. Trailer. Whenever a tractor arrives in our workshop with premature brake wear, my first question is always: “Where is the trailer?”
    In all cases so far, the trailers have had poor brakes or in some cases no brakes at all. That is quite scary knowing that these trucks often have a Gross Combination Weight in the area of 110 tons and are driven at speeds above 100 km/h. Instead of braking on six axles, the tractor unit will have to stop the entire load.
  5. Brake balancing. I strongly recommend that you get the brake system between trailer and tractor head properly balanced to ensure they work well together.
    Any mismatch could lead to extended brake distance, increase brake wear or at worst “jack-knifing”. Our technicians are trained to do this. Call our workshop and get it done.


In Summary

This is what we have covered in this series of posts:

  • Take care of your drivers and you could save up to AED25,000 per 100,000km.
  • Be aware of high idle time. Trucks in Dubai are known to spend up to 65 per cent of their engine running time on idle. Fuel waste and engine wear and tear are doubled because of this.
  • Make sure you buy proper fuel, store it well and use genuine fuel filters for efficient engine performance, lower fuel consumption and longer engine life. Proper additives can also help.
  • Use proper air filters and importantly, don’t clean them daily. This saves on engine wear, fuel consumption and vehicle performance.
  • Using proper oil that is stored, filled and filtered correctly will improve component life and performance.
  • Preventive maintenance and repairs can save up to 90 per cent of the cost of breakdowns.
  • Taking proper care of your tyres could lead to savings of up to 30 per cent on your tyre cost.
  • Implementation of proper daily inspections can reduce unplanned stops by up to 70 per cent.
  • ASE offers maintenance agreements that can be tailor made for your needs. They will keep your truck on the road longer and lead to major operational savings.
  • Look after your trailer to avoid costly stops, accidents and reduced vehicle performance.


We hope that you have found this information valuable. If you have any questions or want further information on how ASE can help to improve your total profit from vehicle ownership, don’t hesitate to contact me or any of the other members of our After Sales team.

Wishing you More Time on the Road
with Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE)

Lars Möller, General Manager, After Sales


Trailer checks are mandatory: Our trailer service is tailor-made for you

Dear Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE) customer

“Preventive repairs” are something everyone who works with vehicles knows about, but they can be the first thing to fall by the wayside when times are hard.


Why it’s worth maintaining your trailers

A properly maintained trailer is a vital part of running a smooth and profitable operation. A badly maintained one will at best cost you a lot of money in repairs, not only of the trailer but also the tractor, and at worse be a real death trap.

RTA has now made annual inspections of trailers mandatory in Dubai and they have done it for a reason – to make our roads safer. If for instance the brakes on a trailer are not working, that puts extra load on the tractor’s brakes.

And if the trailer and tractor brakes are not balanced, you have a greater chance of “jack-knifing” the trailer, with potentially devastating consequences.

There are of course other areas to look at: your kingpin should be in good order; suspension and bushings should be well maintained; tyres should have the correct tread depth; pressure and alignment; and lights and lashing points should be in good condition.

At ASE we can assist you with adding your trailers to our maintenance scheme to ensure they are serviced to the same standard as your truck, all with one goal – giving you More Time on the Road.


Oil Sampling

How often have we ignored signs that a part or a component needs replacement in anticipation that the problem will simply go away?  Or, so that we can mentally delay acknowledging the potential failure until a time when it better fits our budget?

By focusing on oil sampling, regular maintenance and daily inspections, we can detect many issues at an early stage. But you won’t save money if you fail to act on the findings.

What about those items that either work or they don’t? The items that, if they fail, will cause a complete standstill. I’m talking about sensors, belts, thermostats, starter motors, batteries, radiator hoses and others.

Our solution is preventive repair. In essence it means that we replace selected items at given intervals when a truck is in for a service and before the item has failed.

This will result in More Time on the Road, less downtime and improved cost savings. In other words, fewer headaches for you.

When a truck breaks down, you have not only the cost of repair, but also delays and loss of revenue.

Clearly, preventive repairs make economic sense. Do your own check on this. Start a logbook for each vehicle and keep track of how many days the truck is on the road, how many days between breakdowns, the length of downtime and cost for each failure repair.

We can assist by going through your logbook details with you to see what we can do to extend the time between breakdown and reduce your total cost. You’ll be surprised to see how much money we can save you.


Remember, we can reduce your unplanned stops by up to 70 per cent and the cost per unplanned stop by up to 90 per cent.



Next Week

In the final installment of this series I’ll show how you can save money by using genuine brake parts.

More Time on the Road
with Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE)

Lars Möller, General Manager, After Sales

Solutions tailored to suit your operations

Dear Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE) customer

In earlier newsletters I mentioned unplanned stops and their negative effect on your business.

A maintenance agreement with ASE, in combination with the daily inspections that I talked about last week, can help you save up to 90 per cent of the cost on unplanned stops and extend your vehicles’ components’ life span by up to 50 per cent.

Al Shirawi Enterprises offers a variety of maintenance agreements suited to your budget and requirements.

Many customers say that they prefer to do the maintenance themselves for various reasons.

Maintenance should not be considered a low-level task. It should be carried out by experts who understand these complex, hi-tech vehicles and who are specially trained and have thorough knowledge of them. It is not simply a matter of changing oil and filters.

At ASE, we put our most skilled people on the job so we can detect any issues before they cause costly downtime.

Tailor-made solutions

We have developed a range of different solutions to suit your operation and budget:

  • Maintenance agreements at our workshop or your site.
  • Oil analysis packages for different components.
  • Preventive repairs (covering selected items including components such as sensors, v-belts, thermostats, which cause vehicle standstill if they fail). The items will be replaced at selected intervals.
  • Tyre pressure check and inspection at every maintenance visit.
  • Wheel and axle alignment at least twice a year.
  • Eye sight tests for drivers. (A quick study I made some time back indicated that up to 50 per cent of the drivers may not see more than 25 metres in front of the truck).
  • Full repair and maintenance coverage.
  • Each vehicle on maintenance, or full repair and maintenance, agreement will get our highest discount (32.5 per cent) on all spare parts fitted at our workshops.


Please call us toll free to learn about the best maintenance package for you, including the option to have our staff carry out services at your premises.


Driver Competence Development
– Get a free one-day course

It is widely acknowledged that there is room for improvement in driving skills in the UAE. As mentioned in one of my earlier letters, a good driver can save up to AED25,000 per 100,000km in repair costs and up to 30 per cent on your fuel bill.

In addition, what happens to your business in the event of an accident? As well as the potential loss of life, your day-to-day business will also suffer.

To respond to this, ASE has employed a Driver Competence Development specialist to coach your drivers to drive in a safe and economical way.


For every truck signed on for a maintenance contract, we’ll offer a one-day complimentary Driver Competence Development course.


In addition to the above, since ASE is authorised by RTA to carry out Annual Vehicle Testing, we can handle that for you while your truck is in for a service, giving you even More Time on the Road.


Key advantages for you:

1. A maintenance agreement can minimize your downtime because potential problems with your vehicle can be identified early.

2. We can notify you of issues relating to the way the vehicle is being operated, be it in driving, day to day maintenance or fuel usage.

3. With a full dealer service record, you will boost your vehicle’s resale value.

4. For our customers with larger fleets, we will be able to make your life even easier by basing one of our technicians onsite. That way, you can be confident that you always have an expert on hand to make sure your vehicles are in optimum operating condition.


Prevention is better than cure

Oil analysis — Testing the life blood of your vehicle

A properly executed oil analysis is like a blood test for your vehicle and will give you a lot of valuable information on the health of your components. It is an important way of checking the vital signs of your vehicle and identifying potential problems before they cause major, expensive failures.

Oil sampling needs to be carried out correctly, under the right conditions and on a regular basis.

On your behalf ASE has teamed up with a leading oil analysis company who will carry out the tests. We can then give you technical advice on the results of the analysis.



Vital Signs

Oil analysis is vital in diagnosing your vehicle’s health. For example:

  1. A spike in silica content could indicate a problem with air filtration or dust buildup.
  1. A heightened lead content could indicate that there are problems with the bearings.
  1. Copper is likely to indicate a severe problem with bearings which can soon lead to engine failure.
  1. Bronze can be an indication that your camshaft bushings are wearing out.
  1. Iron can indicate wear and tear on liners, piston rings or crankshafts.

If you can identify these problems early, they can be repaired before they become major and costly component failures.




From an oil analysis, we can also supply trend reports that show you if there are traits in your drivers’ behaviour or operations methods which could be costing you money.

Oil analysis forms a key pillar in ASE’s initiative to reduce the causes of your unplanned stops by up to 90 per cent.


Next Week

I will talk about preventive repairs and trailer maintenance.

More Time on the Road
with Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE)

Lars Möller, General Manager, After Sales

A few moments spent on daily inspections will give you More Time on the Road


Dear Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE) customer

This week I’ll show you how daily inspections can help prevent unplanned stops. It is an activity that takes just a few minutes per driving day and is a vital way of helping you save time and money in the long run.

Studies by leading equipment manufacturers confirm that up to 70 per cent of the unplanned stops are avoidable. The keys are daily inspections and regular proper maintenance.

Without meaning to state the obvious, daily inspections should be made daily and done by the drivers.

Some drivers think that they do not need to get their hands dirty and would prefer to leave inspections to the technicians, but they are the ones that live with the vehicle and know all of its unique noises and characteristics.

I recommend that drivers are trained to do a 10 or 15 minute systematic walk around the vehicle each day following a specific check list to ensure that all is covered.

This includes, but is not limited to, fluid levels, leaks, loose items and lights – things that can be detected without using any tools or equipment.

Many customers I talk to say: “We don’t need driver training for inspections, our drivers already do daily inspections.” And in some cases, that will be true.

But, if not, then you could be missing out on a critical opportunity to identify problems with your vehicles before they develop into something more serious and costly. Keep in mind that a repair on failure can be 10 times the cost of a repair before failure.

It is important that those who carry out the inspections know what to look for, as they could look straight at a potential problem but not see it. That’s worse than having no inspection at all because managers believe the system is fine and then make a misinformed decision.

You can avoid up to 70 per cent of the unplanned stops and reduce the repair cost by up to 90 per cent compared to repair on failure. To me, those 10-15 minutes every morning is time well spent.


Next Week

I will talk about maintenance agreements and oil analysis.

More Time on the Road
with Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE)

Lars Möller, General Manager, After Sales

Do you know how much money you’ll lose if your trucks’ tyres are not properly inflated?


Dear Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE) Customer,

Tyres are one of your biggest expenses accounting for between 15 and 25 per cent of your owning and operating costs. And yet, tyres are often only considered when they go flat, or worse, burst.


Many fleet owners only consider price when they choose a tyre but since tyres have such a major impact on performance, the real factors that should be considered are rolling resistance and wear.

Scania has divided tyres into six major areas based on application:

  • Long Haulage
  • Regional
  • Urban
  • Construction
  • Off Road
  • Winter

It is important to ensure you choose the right type based on your application. Field tests confirm that savings of up to four per cent on your fuel bill is possible simply by selecting the correct tyre type.

In addition, rolling resistance is responsible for one third of total fuel consumption according to Scania.


Tyre pressure

Tyre pressure is essential for safety, performance, fuel-economy and tyre life, and yet it is an area that is often neglected. I have seen several severe accidents in Dubai involving underinflated tyres leading to sudden blowouts causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. In many cases, such accidents are avoidable.


A few examples:

  • Overinflate by 20 per cent and the life span of the tyre is reduced by 10 per cent
  • Underinflate by 20 per cent and life span is reduced by 25 per cent.
  • Underinflate by 40 per cent and the life span is reduced by 60 per cent and rolling resistance is up by 20 per cent. This gives a six per cent increase on your fuel bill.


Wheel balancing and alignment

tyre4This is a major issue here in the UAE. You should ensure proper wheel alignment takes place at least once every six months.

Tyres on one-piece rims should be properly balanced on a regular basis to ensure optimum life and fuel economy.

In addition, check the axle alignment to avoid the “dog walk” scenario which creates unnecessary tyre wear and is a safety issue.

Experience shows that proper maintenance of the tyres and the wheel alignment can save up to 30 per cent off your tyre bill and significantly reduce your fuel bill.

The new maintenance contracts from ASE include tyre pressure check at every oil service and wheel and axle alignment every six months, giving you More Time on the Road.



I will come back to the importance of daily inspections later, but it is worth mentioning that they should include checking for tyre cuts, flat spots from harsh braking and stones between the tyres at the rear.

While you are at it, check the tread-depth to ensure the tyres are within legal and safe limits.


Tread patterns

It is important to choose the right pattern, it is also important to ensure that you at least have the same pattern on all tyres on the same axle. If not, you could be in for a shock when braking. Using different tyres on the same axel makes the axel uneven which this causes increased pressure when braking and can lead to tyre bursts.


Storage of tyres

If you have a few sets of tyres in stock, ensure they are stored properly and away from sunlight. Sunlight on new tyres will cause ozone cracks – microscopic surface cracks that will impact on the tyre life and performance.


Fitting new tyres

When fitting new tyres, follow a proper inflation procedure where you first allow the tyre to settle on the rim using a first burst of air, then fill up the tyre. Overfill by around 10 per cent and then reduce to the correct pressure.

All this should be done in a so-called tyre cage to avoid nasty accidents if a rim is not properly settled.



Savings of up to 30 per cent in tyre life are possible if you follow these steps. If you consider that tyre costs account for up to 25 per cent of your annual expenses, that means you could be about to save up to 7.5 per cent on your total expenses per year. 


Contact us toll free on 800 24702 to find out more about axle alignment and wheel balancing or sign up for a maintenance contract with tyre pressure and wheel and axle alignment included, which will help you to really start saving on your tyres. Email: Or fill in the form alongside and we’ll call you!

Our CASE customers may already know that we source and sell a variety of tyres to fit your machine’s need. We’ll source the correct tyre for you and save you money over the run.



Check this diagnostic chart (PDF 381 KB) which will show you what elements cause excess wear on your tyres.



Next Week

I’ll explain why it is importance to do daily vehicle inspections to prevent unplanned stops.

More Time on the Road
with Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE)

Lars Möller, General Manager, After Sales