More from: Truck Tires

Good Truck Tires: More than Just a Brand

Your tractor is equipped with 10 of them. Every time you drive, you sit on a platform mounted directly over them, trusting they will get you where you need to go. We are obviously talking about tractor tires. What may seem insignificant to people who do not drive a truck for a living are objects that are incredibly important to you. Good truck tires can be lifesavers.

It is with that knowledge that a quick perusal of tire discussions on trucker forums becomes a fascinating endeavor in anthropology. It can be quite entertaining to read comments left by trucker’s arguing over who makes the best and worst tires. One guy will swear by Yokohama while another prefers Goodyear and so on.

Still other truck drivers argue over whether to buy cheap tires more often or expensive tires less often. At the end of the day, it all boils down to choosing the tire that gets the job done safely. Unfortunately, though, there is no black and white rule for saying one brand of tire is better than another.

It’s All about Traction

Peeling away the manufacturer claims and dealer promotions reveals that tire safety is really all about traction. Isn’t that why you put deep tread tires on your tractor anyway? Of course. You are depending on those treads to channel away water, snow and ice, and debris that could throw off the handling of your truck. You are expecting that tread to give you the traction you need to get going from a full stop on a slick road.

Manufacturers and dealers are fully aware of how important tread is to tire sales. As such, they make a lot of noise about tread depth and pattern. Deeper treads essentially mean longer-lasting tires while specific tread patterns are more advantageous under certain weather conditions. But note that traction and safety do not stop there.

There is television programs which  feature truck drivers who make their living on the icy roads of Alaska and northern Canada. If you’ve ever watched the show, you may have observed drivers reducing the air pressure in their tractor tires. They do this for a reason.

Lower air pressures increase the amount of tire surface that comes in contact with the road. Under icy conditions, this affords extra traction that could be a lifesaver in an emergency. Of course, you wouldn’t want to drive on dry pavement with low tire pressure but running a rig on an icy road is another matter.

Your Driving Habits Matter

Another thing that is frequently lost in the discussion over which tires are best is the reality that driving habits matter. How fast a trucker accelerates and brakes partly determines how quickly his tires wear. The same is true for cornering and backing. Tractor tires are under a tremendous amount of stress even when the driver drives perfectly. But how many drivers do that all the time? Very few.

How a driver drives also affects the rest of the rig in ways that indirectly affect tire wear. That previously mentioned TV program featured a driver in its first season who was extremely reckless with his equipment. The way this guy ran his rig had him spending more time in the repair shop than on the road. The damage he caused would have undoubtedly affected tire wear had it not been repaired.

Tractor tires are indeed lifesavers. When you choose new tires for your truck, consider more than just the brand. There is more to tire safety than a mere name emblazoned on the sidewall.


5 Practices for Maximizing Tire Life

Tractor and trailer tires are among the most expensive items truck drivers buy. Next to fuel, there may be nothing else in the trucking industry that consumes so much of a trucker’s financial resources. So it’s important that drivers do what they can to maximize tire life. Otherwise, it is like throwing money away.

Truck tires are subject to a lot of punishment capable of significantly reducing their useful life. Here at Mytee Products, we want our customers to get maximum life from every tire they purchase. To that end, we offer drivers five practices for doing so. Each of these practices should be held to religiously.

1. Maintain Proper Pressure

If you have heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: it is critical to maintain proper air pressure in both tractor and trailer tires. Air pressure is the single most important component in maximizing tire life.

Tire pressure is measured in terms of pounds per square inch (psi). The larger the tire, the lower the number. If you are a truck driver, do you know what the PSI reading for your tires is? You should. Furthermore, you should be checking tire pressure on a regular basis. At least once per week is the bare minimum.

Tires with incorrect air pressure will wear more quickly and use more fuel. They are also subject to blowouts. Furthermore, under-inflated tires can wear out in such a way as to make retreading nearly impossible. That means those used tires will be worth less in trade when a driver purchases a new set.

2. Use Stem Valve Caps

Stem valve caps were not designed for aesthetic purposes. They were designed to be the last line of defense against losing air. The reality is that a stem valve can never be 100% airtight, so the cap adds a little bit of extra protection to prevent air leaks. Make a point of replacing stem valve caps whenever you discover them missing.

3. Rotate Your Tires

Tire rotation is not just something car owner should do; truck drivers should be rotating their tires as well. The point of rotating tires is to make sure they wear more evenly. This extends life, maximizes control, saves fuel, and more. How often should tires be rotated? Whenever a truck is undergoing routine maintenance. A competent garage will know which tires to rotate and the positions to put them in.

4. Daily Tire Inspections

Federal law requires truck drivers to check their tires as part of their pre-trip inspections. The point should be obvious: they do not want trucks hitting the roads if their tires are unsafe. To the truck driver however, there is an added benefit of routine inspections. Checking tread and sidewall condition on a regular basis keeps drivers abreast of how their tires are holding up. Regular tire inspections make it more obvious when tires are under-inflated; they make it easier to identify small issues before they become big ones.

5. Check for the Unexpected

Lastly is checking tires for the unexpected. This goes hand-in-hand with daily tire inspections. What do we mean by the unexpected? The unexpected involves things like minor damage from running over road debris or maybe finding objects lodged between the wheels at the end of the day. Identifying the little unexpected things can mean the difference between tire failure and maximizing tire life.

Take care of your tires and they will take care of you. And when you get ready to buy new tires, remember that Mytee Products has what you need for both tractor and trailer.


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.

snow-chains

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/

What to Remember When Choosing New Truck Tires

Whether you are an independent operator or a fleet manager, you will face the decision of choosing new truck tires at some point during your career. You will be looking at tires for both tractors and trailers as well. What you choose will directly affect how your trucks perform down the road. It is safe to say that choosing truck tires is as important as choosing flatbed tarps and tarping systems.

Truck owners have a few standard choices in terms of size:

  •  295 truck tires
  • 285 truck tires
  • 11R22.5 truck tires
  • 11R24.5 truck tires

There is also the question of bias, radials and tubeless tires to consider. Ideally, a truck driver wants a tire that will provide maximum performance under most weather conditions and specific load requirements. Those requirements may change throughout a driver’s career. Therefore, a truck owner may have to reconsider all of his or her options whenever tires need to be replaced.

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Size and Load Concerns

Perhaps the two most important factors when choosing new truck tires are size and load concerns. When we speak of size, we are talking about the size of a tire in relation to the rig on which it is being mounted. Size needs to be considered from three angles:

  • Vertical Clearance – Vertical clearance is the amount of space between the top of the tread tire and the structure above it. However, it cannot be measured solely by the amount of space that exists when the truck is at rest. Clearance changes along with axle movement as the truck moves down the road. Drivers need to consider total clearance on either end as dictated by a truck’s axle stop.
  •  Front Tire Clearance – This is the distance between the edge of the tire tread and the front of the tractor in the steering position. It must be measured by moving the front to full left, then to full right. Minimum clearance will occur somewhere between the two lock positions.
  • Tire Width – The overall tire width becomes important when mounting tires side-by-side on the same axle. Tire width must be measured at the top position rather than the bottom. Remember that the width at the bottom will increase under load as the tire surface is compressed.

In addition to the size of the tires themselves, drivers have to consider the kinds of loads they are carrying. Some shippers pay based on weight, expecting drivers to carry loads as heavy as possible while remaining within legal limits. One way to maximize load weight is to reduce the weight of tires and rims. But tires not rated to handle the weight of heavier loads will obviously be inappropriate.

Drivers and fleet managers can choose either bias or radial tires depending on their needs. Both choices include several subcategories including tubeless, tube-type, low profile, and wide-base single tires. Again, the choice relies heavily on the rig being used and the types of loads most frequently carried.

As with flatbed tarps and tarping systems, there is no particular tire that works for every driver under every circumstance. Tires are a very personal choice that each rig owner has to make individually. Thankfully, there are enough options and manufacturers to meet just about every need.

At Mytee Products, we are proud to serve our customers with a full line of truck and trailer tires. We carry several of the best-known manufacturers including Triangle truck tires. We also have multiple sizes as well. While you are shopping for truck tires, do not forget to upgrade your stock of flatbed tarps as well.