Commercial truck tires are a significant investment for truck fleets and owner-operators. Proper care of semi truck tires can help to prolong their life, improve fuel economy, and maintain safe operation. Here are some tips on how to prolong the life of your semi truck tires.
Inspect Your Tires Regularly
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers should inspect their vehicles’ tires at least once per day. The FMCSA’s tire inspection requirements are detailed in Section 393.75 of the agency’s rules.
During your daily tire inspections, you should look for signs of damage, such as cuts, cracks, or bulges in the sidewalls; tread wear; nails or other objects stuck in the tread; and leaks. If you spot any damage, have the tire repaired or replaced as soon as possible. For serious damage, such as a large cut or bulge in the sidewall, do not attempt to drive on the tire; instead, have it towed to a nearby service facility for repairs or replacement.
Proper Inflation Levels
Another key to prolonging the life of your semi truck tires is to maintain proper inflation levels. Underinflated tires can lead to increased rolling resistance, which not only lowers fuel economy but also generates excessive heat that can damage tire components. Overinflated tires, on the other hand, provide less contact with the road surface, which can shorten tire tread life.
To ensure proper inflation levels, check your tires’ air pressure at least once per week using a reliable air pressure gauge. Compare the reading with the maximum inflation pressure listed on the sidewall of each tire; if necessary, add or release air until you’ve reached the recommended inflation level. Keep in mind that certain factors—such as warm weather and high speeds—can cause your tires’ air pressure to increase while driving, so be sure to check them again after completing your trip.
Avoid Excessive Speed and Heat Buildup
In addition to properly inflated tires, another way to help reduce heat buildup is by avoiding excessive speed. When driving at high speeds—particularly in hot weather—tires can generate excessive heat due to friction between the rubber and road surface. This heat buildup can damage tire components and lead to premature failure.
To avoid this problem, adhere to posted speed limits and never exceed 75 miles per hour (mph), even when driving on highways designed for higher speeds. Additionally, avoid sudden acceleration and braking when possible; both actions can also contribute to heat buildup within your tires. If you must brake suddenly or make an abrupt maneuver, do so gradually to allow your tires time to adjust accordingly.
Following these basic tips can help you extend the life of your commercial truck tires and keep them performing at their best. Remember to inspect your tires regularly for signs of damage; maintain proper inflation levels; and avoid excessive speed and heat buildup. By taking good care of your semi truck tires, you can improve fuel economy and ensure safe operation on the road.