We received this question recently on our Facebook page: "What are the keys to maintaining new tires to ensure the best on-road performance?
A great question. Tires are a big investment and you want to get maximum value for your dollar!
The four key elements that contribute to the extended life of any tire are:
- air pressure
- mechanical maintenance of the vehicle
While maintaining the proper overall maintenance of steer and drive tires is relatively simple and achievable, the overall maintenance of a trailer tire is the most challenging since trailers are frequently rotated or released in a route or during delivery change.
Air pressure: For every 10% of under-inflation in the tires on a vehicle, a 1% reduction in fuel economy will occur, which although small in appearance, is actually big when you multiply by tire positions, trucks in your fleet and miles run per year.
By running a tire constantly underinflated by 20%, its tread life will be reduced by 30%, while 40% under-inflation will reduce the tire life by 50%; not to mention factors like: irregular wear, higher thermal and mechanical fatigue of the casing, lower retreadability and even premature failure.
Rotation: The periodical rotation of the tire will not only prevent or reduce the inevitable irregular wear (camber, river wear, toe-in the front axle; heel & toe, step-down in the drive axle), but will extend the life of the tires and will contribute to smoother, more fuel efficient performance.
Vehicle alignment: This is one of the top contributors to fast wear, irregular wear and fuel economy in all the tires in the vehicle and is associated with other physical effects like the entire aerodynamics of the trailer with subsequent additional impact in fuel economy (2% or more).
Speed: Rolling resistance increases with speed. For every mph (mile per hour) increase in speed above 55, there will be a 2% reduction in mpg (miles per gallon). Therefore a change from 55 mph to 65 mph will result in a 22% increase in fuel consumption while reducing only 18% the travel time. High speed also will end in higher thermal and mechanical casing fatigue, lower retreadability and potential premature failure.
Today's TBR tires, such as the Double Coin RLB400 closed shoulder drive tire, are engineering marvels! Get the most out of them by following these four steps.