Tyres in general are very costly, and truck tyres are even more so. Just like most vehicle parts, tyres depreciate with time and continued usage, but proper care and usage practices can help to slow down the rate of this depreciation so that you can use them longer. Read on for tips on how to do this.
1. Choose the right tyres
Not all truck tyres are created equal. You have different categories according to usage e.g. off-road/on-road tyres, highway/inner city tyres etc. When selecting your tyres, consult a tyre expert and bear in mind the total mileage and geographical terrain over a long period to know which tyres suit best. Other factors like warranty, price and retreadability should also be considered. If buying in bulk, begin by buying a single trucks tyres and testing them out to see if they are suitable before making the big purchase.
2. Choose retreadable tyres
You can easily and cost-effectively increase your tyre life by retreading. It isn't uncommon for truck fleets to retread tyres up to four times before purchasing new ones. You can by new tyres for all positions around the steer axle, retread and place in the drive axle and then place on the trailer after a third retread. Off-road usage causes faster wear on tyres, making retreading even more important if you're frequently on this terrain. However, without careful maintenance, retreaded tyres will still have a short lifespan.
3. Keep tyres well-inflated
Over or underinflated tyres are a common cause of premature and irregular wear. Proper inflation is also important for general safety while driving. Overinflated tyres will wear around the centre, and can lead to blowouts in extreme circumstances. Underinflated tyres will wear at the shoulders and stress the tyre carcass, causing sidewall rupturing, tread separation and zipper cuts among others. These can be quite dangerous depending on where and how you're driving. The pressure should be set according to the worst-case scenario of driving i.e. consider the heaviest load and worst road condition.
4. Check rotation and alignment regularly
A tyre's position on a vehicle will determine how fast it wears. For instance, steer tyres wear around the shoulders faster because of turns, while drive tyres wear around the centre more. Rear tyres in trucks also wear faster than front tyres because of loading and the scrubbing effect. Talk to a tyre expert about the proper rotation cycle in order to have tyres wearing at almost the same rate.
In addition, alignment should be considered according to the application. Standard alignment may not always be ideal. For instance trash-hauling trucks in a metropolis are subject to more turns and therefore need a higher scrub setting. Depending on how you use the truck, the best alignment will take you away from the standard. Be sure to check the drive axle alignment in addition to the steer axle.