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