Ensuring the safety and reliability of commercial truck tires is a top priority for fleet managers. Understanding the life cycle of these tires is critical to determining when replacements or commercial tire retreading is necessary. By developing a routine for visual inspections with drivers, fleet managers can spot signs of wear early and avoid unnecessary downtime. Keeping an eye out for specific symptoms can also help determine when it is time to replace or retread tires, improving the overall safety and efficiency of the fleet.
There are several factors that impact the lifespan of your commercial truck tires, and understanding these can help you set clearer expectations for their duty cycle.
These include tire pressure, tire type, and driving patterns. Low tire pressure can lead to premature wear and tear, reducing tread depth and increasing the risk of a blowout. While new, high-quality tires may have a longer initial tread life than retread tires, properly retreaded and maintained tires can last for years and through several retreads.
Aggressive driving can also strip usable tread from your tires. To get the most out of your commercial truck tires, it’s important to implement a preventative maintenance strategy.
Age Limits For A Commercial Tire
Although there are no legal restrictions on the usage of old tires, it is commonly recommended that tires older than seven years should be replaced for passenger, light truck, and four-wheeled vehicles. This is due to the potential degradation of rubber compounds and dry rotting that can occur, regardless of the tire’s appearance, condition, or remaining tread depth. In the commercial trucking industry, similar best practices are applied, but there may be variations between different sectors.
High-performance commercial truck tires are specifically engineered to cover long distances, carry heavy loads, and maintain high speeds. However, even though most top tire manufacturers offer only a seven-year warranty on their products, fleets can extend the lifespan of their tires by implementing regular maintenance and inspection routines. Some fleets also use retreading services to maximize the life of their tires, but they typically avoid retreading tires that are over eight years old.
Waste fleets may have different policies. In addition to these measures, commercial truck drivers are required by law to perform daily pre-trip tire inspections. Fleet managers are advised to use alternative methods, such as monitoring mileage and tread depth, to determine when their tires have reached the end of their useful life rather than relying solely on the tire’s age limit.
Why Tire Maintenance Is Important For Semi-Truck Drivers
Proper maintenance of your semi-truck tires is crucial not only for the performance of your vehicles but also for ensuring their safety on the road The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 2% of all vehicle crashes are caused by the vehicle itself, and of these, 35% are related to tire problems. With numerous factors contributing to hazardous driving conditions, it is important to eliminate tire-related risks. Understanding when it is time to replace your semi-truck tires requires some knowledge, which we will provide in the following sections.
Commercial Tire Tread
Semi-truck tire tread is crucial to the performance and safety of these vehicles. The tread provides the necessary traction for the tires to grip the road surface and maintain stability while driving. As the tires wear down, the tread depth decreases, which can compromise the tire’s ability to grip the road, especially in wet or slippery conditions.
When the tire tread depth reaches 2/32 of an inch, it is considered legally worn out and should be replaced. However, experts recommend replacing tires when the tread depth reaches 4/32 of an inch to ensure optimal safety and performance.
Additionally, tire manufacturers may have specific recommendations for when to replace their tires, based on the type of tire and usage. Regular inspections of the tire tread and replacement when necessary are critical to maintaining safe driving conditions for semi-truck operators and other road users.
Commercial Tire Wear
Semi-truck tires are subjected to significant wear and tear due to the weight and frequent usage of these vehicles. The constant friction between the tires and the road surface, combined with the weight of the truck and its cargo, leads to the gradual wearing down of the tire treads. This wear can manifest in various forms, such as cracking, flat spots, and uneven tread wear.
Tire wear can be accelerated by factors such as overloading, improper tire inflation, or aggressive driving habits. Regular tire maintenance, including monitoring tread depth and proper inflation levels, can help to extend the life of semi-truck tires and ensure safe driving conditions on the road.
Other Factors To Be Aware Of
Sidewall cracking in tires is a common issue that may signal the need for replacement. These cracks are typically the result of prolonged exposure to the elements, including excessive heat and sunlight. While most tires include anti-aging chemicals to help prevent cracking, some may still experience this issue, which may be covered under warranty.
Additionally, the rubber in tires can dry rot, even if the tread appears intact. This can make the tire less flexible and even lead to tread separation. As a precaution, it is advisable to replace tires immediately upon noticing signs of dry rot to maintain optimal safety and performance.
Finding The Right Tires
Maintaining the health of your semi-truck tires is a responsible choice that can save you money over time. Proper tire use can improve a vehicle’s fuel economy, leading to cost savings. Additionally, it helps prevent accidents and delays, reducing lost time. At MTS Express, we offer a range of services, from customization to parts and service, to help keep your vehicles operating at their best. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in maintaining your semi-truck tires and improving your overall fleet performance.