Buying big rig tires is different than choosing a set of tires for the family car. Commercial trucks often carry extremely heavy loads and travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles each week, so the tires have to be durable and in good condition. Truckers typically have delivery deadlines, so the last thing you want to do is be struck in the middle of nowhere waiting on assistance for a flat tire. The following tips may help extend the life of your big rig tires.
A flat tire can make you run seriously behind and may make you late for your delivery appointment. In some situations, if the delivery is late, it may be refused, which means you may have to pay for it out of your own pocket. Routine maintenance on the tires may extend the life of the tires as well as prevent the risk of a flat. Maintenance should include:
- Daily air pressure checks: Truck drivers pass through different climates and altitudes while driving across the county. The higher the altitude and the warmer the climate, the higher the air pressure will be, and the same goes for the opposite. Checking the air pressure daily takes time, but if the tire pressure is kept as close to the specs provided by the tire manufacturer, it will help reduce fuel mileage and expand the life span of the tire.
- Tire rotation: Just like the family car, big rig tires should be rotated to keep the even. Tires that are not rotated will continually have pressure and force applied in the same area for the life of the tire. Rotation helps the tires wear more evenly.
- Wheel balance: It is common for tires to wear unevenly. They become lopsided or have cupping, which may be due to a worn out part. When tires become unbalanced, the truck may slightly lean or bump while driving. Rebalancing every time you rotate the tires will help to provide a smoother ride, which ultimately may prevent blowing a tire caused by the imbalance.
Using tires that are made of heavy duty rubber, such as radials, will typically reduce the risk of damage from punctures, blowouts and cuts and they self-seal if the punctures aren't too deep. Retreads are usually less expensive than regular big rig tires, but they may end up costing you more in the long run because they usually need to be replaced more frequently. If you feel vibration, shaking, severe pulling to the right or left or you notice premature tire wear, it is essential that you get the problem checked out as soon as possible.