Whether you’re an owner-operator or a fleet driver, tires represent a significant part of your operating costs. You can help optimize your “tire ROI” by regularly keeping up with these maintenance practices.
Air Pressure Monitoring
Maintaining the right inflation pressure on all your truck’s tires is the one most important maintenance practice that a driver can employ that will positively impact tire wear. Over-inflation and under-inflation can change a tire’s footprint, making it susceptible to irregular wear and loss of traction.
While over-inflation can cause its own issues including uneven wear and a harsher ride, under-inflation can trigger several other serious problems. Since the air inside the tire carries the truck’s load, under-inflation causes the tire to flex more as it rolls down the highway. This results in internal heat buildup. It also hurts fuel economy since the truck’s engine is forced to work harder.
Keeping a truck properly aligned is an investment that can pay big dividends when it comes to achieving longer tire life. Over time, a regular alignment program can boost tire life and reduce irregular tread wear. It’s important to keep in mind that a traditional front end alignment isn’t always enough for long-haul trucks. Drive axles must be brought into alignment too.
Truck misalignment can also impact fuel economy. When the tractor and trailer are not tracking parallel to the direction of travel, aerodynamic drag will increase.
Regular visual and tactile inspections of your truck’s tires can provide a lot of useful information about their condition. Things to check for include unusual wear patterns like feathering and cupping. It’s really important to make note when the tread across each tire starts to show unusual wear patterns. If detected early enough, they can be countered or corrected to help extend tire life.
When you consider thousands of dollars invested in 18 truck tires, doing these simple tasks can lower your operating costs and boost your ROI.