Lower Your Expenses by Keeping Truck Tires Inflated to the Correct Level
When it comes to truck maintenance, safety and repair, there are many details an owner-operator or small fleet owner must track. Miles-per-gallon (to the nth degree), extended maintenance cycle, and much more. The same goes for truck tire inflation. Too much or too little PSI can be a potential disaster waiting to happen.
Tires are one of the most expensive parts of our rigs, so keeping them in tip-top shape for as long as possible is extremely important, especially when you consider the importance of the load that those tires are carrying.
Under-inflation of tires is one of the biggest issues in the trucking industry. It is the number one reason for pre-mature tire removal. This is because under-inflated tires can result in ruined tires and improper handling of the truck. It can also cause wear and tear on the vehicle as well as poor fuel economy.
Tire performance is greatly dependent on the way a tire wears on the ground. Under-inflated tires will become overheated, eventually breaking down. They will flex more than they should, leading to casing failure, which causes the tire to become crippled and unable to be retread. Even if an under-inflated tire doesn’t blow out, it could have hidden fatigue that can be easily missed in an inspection.
An under-inflated tire can be expensive. According to the American Trucking Association, 20 percent under-inflation can increase tread wear by 25 percent and 10 PSI lowers fuel economy by 1 percent. Tire-related costs are the number one expense item for commercial trucks.
Over-inflation is a problem too. Over inflating a tire can cause it to decrease traction and causes irregular wear, ruining the tire. Over-inflation is most likely to occur in warmer weather; warming causes fluctuations that elevate tire operating temperatures.
Make sure you purchase tires that are the same size and diameter and have the same tread pattern if you are running a duel configuration. Equal inflation (or within 5 PSI) is important too.
Having a regular air pressure maintenance program is an important part of being an owner-operator and owning your own rig. Ensuring you check the PSI inflation levels of your tires regularly is one of the best things you can do to have a positive impact on your tire expense, fuel consumption and wear life of your vehicle.
You may want to consider installing a digital tire monitoring system. A digital tire monitoring system will have an upfront cost, but it will save you money in the long run, especially if you are using the “thump and go” method of checking your tires. A tire pressure monitoring system contains sensors that will alert you if your tires are under or over inflated.
A digital tire monitoring system will help you maintain proper air pressure in your tires, but it won’t replace proper air level checks. However, most owner-operators see an immediate return on investment due to better fuel economy, fewer tire failures and reduced need for maintenance.
American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO) understands the needs of truck drivers, including your need for quality tires at low prices. We offer a free Michelin tire program from Michelin for members so you can get high-quality tires for less, when and where you need them, a free mobile app for locating your nearest dealer anytime and an online tire store. Interested in becoming a member? Visit us here.