Article

Tires

April 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Frequent Inspections Save Tires

Frequent and thorough yard checks will catch problems your drivers miss.

By Jim Park

It seems the best you can expect from many drivers is a quick visual check that the tire is where it should be. Whether or not it's capable of holding air is another matter.

Tags: Tire Costs, Tires, Tire Inflation

April 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Do We Worry Too Much About Inflation Pressure?

Tires exposed to direct sunlight will hear up, causing pressure differentials between shaded tires, like inside duals. Illustration courtesy of Aperia Technologies

By Jim Park

Tire pressure monitoring systems have allowed us a peek into the secret life of tires, and revealed some astonishing details.

Tags: TPMS, TMC, ATIS, Tire Pressure, Tires

March 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Switching to Wide-Base Singles: Keys to Success

By Jim Park

Everything you need to know about switching from dual wheels to wide-base singles you can learn at a playground. What you need to know about wide-base tires, axles and offsets.

Tags: Tires, Meritor, Wheels, Dana, Axles, Wide-Base Tires

March 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Top 3 Ways to Preserve Tire Life (And Value)

Even the best tires money can buy will profit from a little help. Basic maintenance can prolong tire life, sometimes dramatically.

By Jim Park

Still waiting for the million-mile tire? Don’t hold your breath, but we’ll probably see such a tire in our lifetime. For now, you’ll have to settle for half a million miles.

Tags: Michelin, Tires, NFI, Retreads, Tires and Wheels, Air Products & Chemicals Inc., Tire Inflation, Load & Inflation Tables, Tire Pressure, Equal, Magnum, Centramatic, International Marketing Inc.

February 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Making the Case for Low-Rolling-Resistance Tires

Premium all-position tires offer reduced rolling resistance through ribbed tread patterns and shallow grooves.

By Jim Park

How do you explain to the boss that the tires you want to buy are going to cost more up front but run fewer miles? You can explain they will save money on fuel, but then she's going to want numbers.

Tags: Fuel Economy, Tires

January 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Keeping Your Wheels in the Game (updated)

Pictures are worth a thousand words, they say. What sort of a message do the wheels on this trailer convey about its owner?

By Jim Park

Back in 1984, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a regulation requiring that truck wheels be stripped of rust and debris before mounting a tire. Easier said than done, the industry moaned at the time. Labor was less costly then, but wire brushes and elbow grease weren’t going to cut it.

Tags: OSHA, Goodyear, CSA, TMC, Tires, Wheels, IMI, Wheel refinishing, Maxion Wheel

January 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

What's this Cold Weather Doing to Your Tire Pressure? (updated)

Big changes in ambient temperature will affect tire inflation pressure. (Photo by Jim Park)

By Jim Park

Here's one more reason to fear the dreaded Arctic Vortex: It plays havoc with tire pressure. If you're based in North Dakota and your trucks never travel too far south or west, there's hardly anything to worry about. San Diego-based fleets running up into the Midwest and the Dakotas or vice versa could have a problem.

Tags: TPMS, ATIS, Tires

January 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Mismatching Dual Tires: A Sure-Fire Way to Kill Two Tires at Once

Mismatched tire sizes means the shorter tire is chasing the taller tire down the road, and scrubbing away value with every mile.

By Jim Park

As tire costs continue to rise, it will become harder to ignore even seemly insignificant problems, like mounting two tires of different diameter in the same dual assembly. Lack of attention can strip thousands of miles from even scabby old trailer tires, and increase the risk of a mission-crippling blowout.

Tags: IPA, Dual-Dynamics, Link Manufacturing, MTIS, Tires, Hendrickson, Innovative Products of America

December 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Who Balances Trailer Wheels?

(Photo by Jim Park)

By Jim Park

Nobody balances trailer wheels, but oddly, they are the wheels on a truck most likely in need of balancing. With a few ounces of balancing material, those tires might easily run tens of thousands more miles before final removal.

Tags: Trailers, Tires

December 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Adopting Tire Inflation Systems

ATIS and TPMS do more than prevent good tires from coming apart. ROI also includes improved fuel economy, longer tread life and higher casing value.

By Jim Park

Why are adoption rates for proven fuel-saving technologies so low? It looks like a classic case of stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime. Maybe “a lack of credible information on payback” means, “we don’t know how much this device will save us so we’re not going to buy it.”

Tags: TPMS, Tires, Meritor, Wheels, PSI, ATIS, NACFE, Advantage PressurePro, Cascade Sierra Solutions, Aperia

November 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Are We Sacrificing Traction for Fuel Economy?

In most cases the traction losses are practically non-existent between traditional and fuel efficient tires.

By Jim Park

As more fleets embrace their fuel savings potential, a large portion of the driver population remains uneasy about low-rolling-resistance, fuel-efficient tires -- especially in winter. Has the quest for fuel efficiency pushed traction and safety into the back seat?

Tags: Winter Driving, Tires

November 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Why Balancing is Important

By Jim Park

If you look at balancing from a life-cycle point of view, the value of extending tread life speaks for itself. There’s also casing integrity to consider, retreadability, and to a growing degree, and disposal costs. Yet reliable estimates suggest only about 20% of heavy-duty truck tires are ever balanced.

Tags: Tires, Wheels

November 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Getting the Lead Out of Tire Weights

True rotation of a several-hundred-pound mass and high speeds requires balancing, not just of the tire, but the entire rotating mass, including the hub, brake drum, wheel and tire.

By Jim Park

Beware the lead tire weight cops. They are out there and working in six states, with several more states looking at banning lead weights. Here's a look at the alternatives to lead in weights -- and alternatives to weights themselves.

Tags: Tires, Wheels

October 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Keeping Your Wheels On

A calibrated torque wrench is required to set the recommended torque on wheel fasteners. Over-torqueing with an impact wrench can stretch and weaken the studs.

By Jim Park

There’s no mystery to why wheels come off trucks. The National Transportation Safety Board in 1992, and Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation in the late 1990s, both concluded after exhaustive studies that inadequate maintenance was the root cause of a series of fatal wheel separation incidents.

Tags: TMC, NTSB, Tires, Wheels, Accuride, Timken, Spicer, ConMet, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Wheel-offs

August 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Steer Axle Weights Have Increased: Are Your Steer Tires up to the Challenge?

Underrated steer tires can be hazardous. Steer axle loads approaching 13,000 pounds are not uncommon today.

By Jim Park

It’s not uncommon to find highway trucks with front axles and suspensions rated for 13,200 pounds. While 12,000-pound axles were the industry norm for many years, the move to 13,200-pound axles came with the addition of all that emissions reduction gear. Are you running a steer tire rated for that weight?

Tags: Goodyear, Michelin, Continental, Bridgestone, Wheels, Steer Tires, Steer Axles, Tires

September 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Studies Indicate TPMS and ATIS Are Money Makers

Soft, underinflated tires increase rolling resistance and shorten tire life. TPMS and ATIS systems solve both problems at once.

By Jim Park

There are lots or reasons not to embrace fuel-saving technology (some better than others), but validation exists for tire-pressure mitigation systems. And the payback is significant.

Tags: MPG, TPMS, Tires, ATIS, Inflation

August 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Retreads Shop Can Produce 75% More Retreads Daily

By Bob Ulrich

More than 85% of the estimated 680 domestic retread plants have been in business more than 20 years. It is safe to call retreading a mature market, based on the results of the 2013 Modern Tire Dealer Retreaders Survey.

Tags: Tires, Retreads

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

The Magic Number

Correct inflation pressure is dictated by weight, temperature and road speed – and the load and inflation tables.

By Jim Park

How do turtles mate? Why are women’s shirts buttoned on the left while men’s button on the right? How did they build the pyramids? How much air should I put in my tires? Unlike the pyramids, tire inflation needn’t be one of life’s little mysteries. Yet you may be inflating your tires TOO much.

Tags: Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone, Wheels, PSI, Tires

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

4 Ways to Get More Miles from your Tires

By Jim Park

Irregular tire wear is usually a symptom of some other malfunction such as poor alignment, improper inflation or even poor driving habits. The peril with mechanically induced irregular wear is that it begins the day you install the tire, though it won't produce any visible signs until weeks or perhaps months later. By then, its progress is almost irreversible.

Tags: Maintenance, Tires, Wheel Alignment

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

What Exactly Constitutes an Underinflated Truck Tire?

"Underinflated" isn't always this obvious. Enforcement officials are looking for a usable definition. (Photo by Evan Lockridge)

By Jim Park

Why should we worry about defining underinflation? Because of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) enforcement program.

Tags: CSA, TMC, Tires, CVSA, Enforcement

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Wheel-End Problems: Beyond the Obvious

Customers complaining that bad tires are suffering irregular wear? The problem may lie somewhere in the wheel-end. Photo by Jim Park.

By Jim Park

Wheel-ends function as a system: the spindle, hub, and rim (or wheel), as well as the bearings and the fasteners, all work in concert to keep the wheels in place and the tires running straight and true. If one part of the system is out of whack, the results will be seen and felt elsewhere in the system - usually at the tires themselves.

Tags: In the Shop, Tires, Wheels

June 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

5 Deadly Tire Sins

How many tires in your scrap pile arrived there before their time?

By Jim Park

Negligence and apathy consign more tires to early graves than road hazards ever will. Here are the Top 5 reasons you might be straining your tire budget to the breaking point, and how you can stem the financial hemorrhage.

Tags: Maintenance, Tires

June 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Making the Case for Fuel-Efficient Tires

The more rubber you have on the road, the sooner the improvements become obvious.

By Jim Park

You get 30% less tread on some fuel-efficient tires, they cost 15% less up front and they run fewer miles to take-off, but does the money saved on fuel because of the lower rolling resistance make up for the shorter overall life? Many fleets are struggling with that question today. The answer is often anything but clear.

Tags: Goodyear, Michelin, Continental Tires, Bridgestone, Tires, GITI

June 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Tires are Key Component of CSA Inspections

By Truckinginfo Staff

As one of the two biggest non-labor expenses that trucking fleets have, tires require careful maintenance. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program further underscores the importance of good tire maintenance practices.

Tags: Maintenance, Goodyear, CSA, Tires

May 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Why Should You Retread Your Tires?

You can choose from a wide range of OE and aftermarket tread patters and compounds to optimize tire life or fuel efficiency. EPA now recognizes retreads as fuel efficient tires, so fleets can reuse the same casing for different applications at different wheel positions.

By Jim Park

Retreading tires provides the absolute lowest cost per mile of any tire management strategy. When coupled with other enhanced preventive maintenance measures, a retreaded tire can easily go half a million miles or more, all things being equal.

Tags: Tires, Retreads

May 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

What You Need to Know About Wide-base Singles & Offset Axles

Wide-base single tires are popular for weight and fuel saving, but not everybody likes them. Spec'ing to revert back to dual tires at resale needs special consideration.

By Jim Park

Everything you need to know about switching from dual wheels to wide-base singles you can learn at a playground. Picture a teeter-totter with a big kid on one end and a little kid on the other. The big kid is on the ground, while the little guy's legs are dangling in the air. The load is unevenly distributed. If you moved the fulcrum closer to the big kid, the beam would eventually balance.

Tags: Tires, Wheels, Wide-Base Tires, Offset axles

April 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

5 Reasons to Outsource your Tire Maintenance

Service providers come to your yard or to remote yards, and do tire checks, pressure audits.

By Jim Park

Tire maintenance is like preparing a fine meal. Unless you really like cooking and are very good at it, it's far easier – and safer sometimes – to visit a nice restaurant. Here are five reasons you might want to consider outsourcing your tire work.

Tags: Maintenance, Goodyear, Michelin, Outsourcing, Tires

April 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Tire Makers Look for Alternatives to Natural Rubber

Guayule is a rubber-producing plant that could offer a domestic, and thus more stable, supply.

By Jim Park

Although we're in no danger of running short of our primary source of natural rubber, prices have risen dramatically over the past 10 years, contributing to rising prices for tires. Several tire makers are researching other sources of rubber.

Tags: Tires, Rubber, Guayule

March 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Preventing Flat Tires

Once the tread comes off, a blowout won't be far behind. You're down, with a $1,000 repair bill to show for it.

By Jim Park

A driver picks up a trailer from a drop yard. Before departing, the driver does a walk-around inspection, kicks the tires, checks the lights and then sticks it into the wind. He or she has no idea how much air pressure is in those tires, except to be fairly sure none of them is flat — visibly flat, that is. Any one or several of those tires could be underinflated, or even technically flat.

Tags: Goodyear, Continental Tires, Tires

February 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Tires for multiple applications

By Evan Lockridge

The economic recession had profound effects on trucking, but one of the most surprising is a greater need for tires on trucks that need to be used in more than one application. That's the opposite of another trend, which is more single-application-specific tires.

Tags: Goodyear, Michelin, Continental Tires, Bridgestone, Tires, Retreads

March 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

5 Must-Have Tools for Your Tire Shop

By Jim Park

Changing truck tires isn't rocket science. Since tire service isn't cheap, it's not uncommon to find smaller fleets and even some bigger ones doing their own tire maintenance. But safety needs to be the priority in any shop.

Tags: Safety, Tires, Shop Tools

March 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Why You Should Consider Wheel Balancing

Tire wear associated with balance problems often appears as cupped channels along the tread face of the tire. (Photo: TMC)

By Jim Park

People will tell you that wheel balancing isn't necessary these days. Going back 10 or 20 years, new tires often needed a small amount of weight to balance out the irregularities in the old production process. With today's more exacting manufacturing standards, irregularities are the exception. But that doesn't mean you can't benefit from wheel balancing.

Tags: Tires, Wheels

January 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Tires & Wheels: 5 Ways to Stretch Your Tire Budget

By Jim Park

If stretching your tire budget means buying cheaper tires, you may be cheating yourself. You'll get more tires for less money — and that looks good up front — but does that theory hold up after six months or a year?

Tags: Tires, Retreads

January 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Smaller truck tire buyers to benefit from greenhouse gas and CAFE regs

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

Mike Yap is a plumbing and heating contractor near Buffalo, N.Y. He operates two GMC 3500-series cargo vans and two utility trailers. He buys tires from a local auto supply jobber. He's a price shopper

Tags: Tires, light trucks

December 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Yokohama's Rick Phillips Talks Commercial Tire Trends

When it comes to commercial tire sales, 2012 could not have been any more contrasting from 2011, says Rick Phillips, Yokohama Tire's director of commercial sales. Phillips, a 35-year tire industry veteran, discusses what the challenges were within the commercial tire industry in 2012 and how they will affect truck owners in 2013

Tags: Economy, Tires

December 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

TireStamp Offers TPMS Servicing App for Tire Dealers

TireStamp Inc. released its upgraded, cloud based TireVigil Servicing app with features specifically designed for commercial tire dealers who provide services to fleets using the TireVigil tire pressure monitoring system

Tags: Tires

November 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Federal field testing proves ROI on automatic tire inflation systems

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

We now have conclusive proof that automated tire inflation systems and tire pressure monitoring systems offer quantifiable payback

Tags: Tires

October 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Keep Tires Running Straight and True

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

In tire and wheel mounting, the line between right and wrong is a thin one. A few thousandths of an inch on either side of correct can throw tires and wheels into a mean wobble or cause them to bounce up and down like pistons

Tags: Tires, Wheels, concentric mounting

September 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Alignment Matters: Taking vehicle alignment for granted could cost you

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

When it comes to the alignment on your truck, "close enough" can cost you a lot of money

Tags: Tires

September 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Diligent Drivers Can Help Improve Tire Maintenance

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

Compared to, say, slopping out a hog barn, checking tire pressure is a hoot. No wonder drivers take so readily to the task

Tags: Tires

July 2012, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

TireStamp Introduces TireVigil TPMS Trailer

By Truckinginfo Staff

TireStamp Inc. is introducing TireVigil TPMS Trailer, which automatically connects to TireVigil TPMS on the tractor and is the first trailer tire pressure monitoring system that meets the new TPMS 2.0 standard for commercial TPMS products

Tags: Tires, TPMS

July 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Tire Casing Cost Recovery

Tire mileage turned to dust: Tread scrubbing machines remove all traces of old tread to sculpt the casing for the new tread.

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

Think of a tire casing as a foundation. It's the foundation of the whole tire, but also the foundation of a successful tire-cost management program

Tags: Tires

May 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

MPG for Mediums

Downtown streets still pose a threat to delivery fleets' tires. Nobody will give up protection for fuel economy; the tire people say they won't have to.

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

The medium-duty world is dominated by the rental and leasing sectors and the pickup and delivery sector, at least in terms of the Class 5-7 trucks using 17.5- and 19.5-inch tires. What they want dictates what the tire makers deliver

Tags: Tires

April 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

How to Prevent Wheel-offs

Drivers must check for obvious signs of wheel and fastener damage, but many faults will be hidden, especially over-torquing which will eventually lead to failure.

By Rolf Lockwood, Contributing Editor

There's no shortage of information on wheel integrity: posters, pamphlets, simple one-page instruction sheets and a bunch of YouTube videos, not to mention mandatory day-long wheel-installation courses. We're inundated with education on how to make sure wheels stay attached to the truck

Tags: Tires

March 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Regular Tire Pressure Checks are Worthwhile

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

Weekly tire pressure checks might seem unrealistically ambitious, but given what's at stake in terms of tread wear and tire life, it's a worthwhile goal. Regular tire inspections should, obviously, include pressure checks

Tags: Tires

March 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Protecting Your Investment With Proper Tire Inspections

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

There's more to a proper tire inspection than kicking it with a cold boot

Tags: Tires

February 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

On/Off Highway Tires: One Size Won't Fit All

Tires such as Bridgestone's M843 provide a balance of good traction, good fuel economy and good tread life when used as an all-position tire.

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

A racehorse would do about as well dragging a plow through a muddy field as a plow horse would do plodding down the back stretch at Churchill Downs.

Tags: Tires

January 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Outsourcing Your Tire Program

Many fleets keep a technician trained on wheel and tire procedures to look after the day-to-day work, but farm out the mounting and dismounting, retreading, etc. to a vendor. Photo by Jim Park.

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

The service truck arrives at 8:30 Sunday morning, as usual. The two tire techs unload 16 freshly mounted and balanced, retreaded drive tires, eight new steer tires on reconditioned wheels, and a take-off drive tir

Tags: Tires

December 2011, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Are Your Wheel Bearings Adjusted Properly?

With tolerances no more than the width of human hairs, there's little room for guess work when torqueing wheel bearings. Photo courtesy of Consolidated Metco.

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

Good and bad in the wheel-bearing world is divided by a very fine line - about the width of two human hairs, in fact. That's not much of a margin considering the potential consequences of improper adjustment

Tags: Tires

December 2011, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Tire Report: Factory Settings vs. 'As-Driven'

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

If something is set to factory specs it must be just right, right? In the alignment world, "factory specs" really means it's close enough. Close enough, however, might not be good enough when your tires are being chewed right off the wheels

Tags: Tires

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