Winter Driving 101: Do You Know How to Chain Your Tires?

It only takes a few inches of wet snow and a slight incline to stop a truck in its tracks. Once stopped, a big rig weighing 10,000 pounds or more suddenly becomes a serious problem. That’s why tire chains are required in some locales where snow and ice are routine problems every winter. So when posed with the question: Do you know how to chain your tires? It is surprising to learn how many truckers do not learn this procedure.

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The East Oregonian ran a story on February 8 (2016) profiling two men who work as certified tire chain installers along a 30-mile stretch of I-84 in the northern part of Oregon. These certified installers are among a group of five certified by the Oregon Department of Transportation to help truckers install tire chains when necessary. This particular crew is called into action, whenever the DOT declares chains are required on their stretch of highway.

According to the East Oregonian story, professional tire chain helpers often find themselves helping truckers, who have never installed chains before. Some of the drivers are new to the truck driving occupation; others have worked for companies, with policies in place instructing drivers to park when conditions are severe enough to require chains. The pros say the biggest problem they encounter among inexperienced drivers, is chains that are not put on tight enough.

Chains that are too loose are prone to falling off without warning. That could be a big problem in the middle of a steep grade where there is very little room for error. Lose a chain while climbing and it is nearly impossible to get it back on again. The pros make a point of getting chains as tight as humanly possible. More impressively, they can completely chain a truck and get it on its way in about 20 minutes.

Know Your Company Policy

The best advice we can give truckers starts with understanding company policy. If your company expects you to keep running even in the snow, it is important that you learn how to apply chains quickly and effectively. You might also want to maintain a supply of chains on your truck just in case state DOTs either don’t lend them or run out during a heavy snowstorm.

Company drivers who are encouraged by their employers to park during heavy snow should obviously abide by those recommendations. Pressing on in extreme weather and winding up in an accident, not only jeopardizes one’s own safety and health, but it could also jeopardize one’s job. It’s better to just park and wait it out, than to violate company policy.

Independent contractors should certainly consider purchasing chains as well. We carry them here at Mytee, along with a full range of truck tires for all positions. The right combination of tires and chains will keep you on the road except under the most extreme conditions.

Making a Living in the Snow

We commend the dedicated workers in Oregon who brave miserable weather conditions to help truckers apply tire chains. It cannot be easy to spend an entire workday kneeling in the snow, being dripped on by dirty, melting snow underneath wheel hubs, and constantly having to worry about other truck traffic that could be potentially deadly. These individuals certainly deserve the respect of the entire trucking community.

Should you ever have need of their services, we hope you will show them your appreciation and respect. Getting professional help to chain your tires will get you back on the road quicker and ensure that your chains are properly fastened. Everybody wins in the end.

Sources:

  • East Oregonian – http://www.eastoregonian.com/eo/local-news/20160208/chain-men-embrace-cold-and-dirty-job

How To Detect and Avoid Abnormal Truck Tire Wear

The average independent trucker invests a lot of money on truck tires – It’s part of the game. But take a moment to step back and consider how important a role tires play in everything you do as a trucker. The rubber underneath you affects your mileage, your handling, the kinds of loads you can safely carry and, ultimately, your profit margin at the end of the year. That means minimizing tire wear plays a pivotal roll in improving your bottom line.

Truck tires wear out just as anything else on your truck. What you should be most concerned about is abnormal wear. When tires wear abnormally, this is a sign that something else is wrong with your truck or your driving habits. Correcting the issues causing the abnormal wear is imperative.

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Abnormal Wear on Steer Tires

Your steer position tires are most susceptible to abnormal wear because they take the brunt of the friction as you drive down the road. There are multiple classifications of abnormal wear including full shoulder wear, feathered wear, cupping, and toe-in/toe-out wear. The wear pattern on your steer position tires should tell you what’s going on with your truck.

For example, full shoulder wear is often the result of side scrubbing, according to Fleet Equipment Magazine‘s Al Cohn. He says that side scrubbing is caused by either the steer axle or drive axle being misaligned. When axles are not properly aligned with each other and the truck frame, the misaligned axle pushes against the tires on the wide side of the angle. This causes the full shoulder wear on that side.

Cohn also says drivers should be looking for cupping – i.e., a wavy wear pattern – on steer position tires. Cupping is likely a sign that a wheel is out of balance, although under-inflation can also cause cupping as well.

Abnormal Wear on Trailer Tires

Truck tires mounted on the trailer position are not exposed to the same level of stress as drive and steer position tires. Nonetheless, they can wear abnormally under the right conditions. Cohn suggests checking trailer tires regularly for signs of brake skid, diagonal wear, shoulder wear, and depressed wear.

Tire damage resulting from brake skids is an obvious sign that the driver is using his or her brakes too aggressively. The most effective way to approach the problem is to be more gradual and purposeful in the braking process. Avoiding skids will certainly increase the life of your trailer tires.

As for the other three kinds of wear, they can be caused by a number of different problems. For example, excessive camber or bearing problems can cause unusual shoulder wear on one side of the trailer. Diagonal wear can be caused by skids or by using mismatched duals on the same axle. Depressed wear is often the result of tire under-inflation.

According to Cohn, the keys to maximizing tire performance and minimizing wear are proper tire inflation and routine equipment checks that look at wheel balance and axle alignment. Keeping those three things in check ensures your truck tires run smooth, straight, and at recommended pressures.

Mytee Products carries a full line of truck tires for all positions, offering well-known manufacturers including Triangle, Double Coin, Roadmaster, and Super Cargo. You can find complete details about our entire tire inventory here on our website. You can search for tires by manufacturer, brand, position, price, or profile.

Remember, you invest an awful lot in your tires regardless of where you purchase them. Protect your investment by taking care of your tires at all times.

Sources:

  • Fleet Equipment Magazine – http://www.fleetequipmentmag.com/minimizing-irregular-truck-tire-wear/

Use Strap Winders and Save Tarping Time

Most flatbed trailers are equipped with straps stored on the winch. These are used to fasten and secure load on transit. Any truck driver will tell you about the great deal of time they spend coiling straps when not in use.
The Kwik winch winder from Kinedyne Corporation is an excellent tool for winding straps. It allows the driver to wind the straps on the winch in a fraction of the time they would take to do so by hand.

You just feed the end of the strap on the winch mandrill and insert the hook end of the strap winder and wind the strap in no time at all.

The Kwik winder is made of steel with zinc plating and has 2 plastic-grip handles to allow for easy rotation of the winder bar during operation.This essential tool helps truck drivers to easily recoil straps, save time and quickly get back on their journey.