Mismatched tire sizes means the shorter tire is chasing the taller tire down the road, scrubbing away value with every mile.  -  Photo: Jim Park

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

Photo: Jim Park

Truck tires themselves don’t require much in the way of hands-on maintenance, but other factors can contribute to irregular and premature wear.

Staying ahead of these seemingly small issues will help extend tire life.

1. Choose the Right Tires

It should go without saying that starting with the right tires for the application is the key to long tire life.

Tire manufacturers use casing elements and compounding designed, for example, to reduce rolling resistance for long-haul tires or resist curbing or scrubbing for P&D tires. Using a fuel-efficient long-haul drive tire in an on-/off-road application could cause irregular tire wear such as cut-and-chip damage, because it’s not designed to withstand that type of use.  

2. Watch for Mechanical Issues

Loose or worn steering components, worn suspension parts, and even worn-out shock absorbers can alter the tire’s contact patch with the pavement. This promotes irregular wear.

Pay attention to mechanical factors that could contribute to rapid tire wear.

3. Use Proper Installation Practices

Some tire wear stems from sloppy or incorrect installation procedures. If you see signs of wear resulting from non-concentric mounting, wobbly bearings, etc. in your scrap pile, or when dismounting tires, review installation policies and practices with your tire team. 

4. Avoid Mismatched Dual Tires

If one tire in a dual position requires premature replacement, make sure the replacement tire is as close to the exact same height as possible. Mismatches will result in the shorter of the two tires wearing faster than the taller tire.

Also, take steps to ensure the inflation pressure is the same in both tires. Dual-tire pressure equalizers can help in this regard if an automatic tire inflation system is not an option. 

5. Consider Wheel Balancing

Top-tier tire manufacturers will often say balancing their tires isn’t necessary, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest balancing reduces the likelihood of irregular wear and extends tire life. How you balance your wheels is a choice that varies by fleet. 

About the author
Jim Park

Jim Park

Equipment Editor

A truck driver and owner-operator for 20 years before becoming a trucking journalist, Jim Park maintains his commercial driver’s license and brings a real-world perspective to Test Drives, as well as to features about equipment spec’ing and trends, maintenance and drivers. His On the Spot videos bring a new dimension to his trucking reporting. And he's the primary host of the HDT Talks Trucking videocast/podcast.

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