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Choosing the right tire

How to Choose the Right Tires for Your Commercial Truck

Choosing the right tires is critical to ensuring the efficient, safe, and cost effective operation of your commercial truck. Tires are what connect trucks to the road and allow drivers to steer safely and maintain control on diverse terrains and in varying conditions.

Different tires perform different jobs
The first thing to understand about commercial truck tires is that there are different types of tires for different axles of the truck. These tires are responsible for different tasks and types of strains, and are engineered differently as a result. When choosing the right tires for varying positions on a truck, it is important to look for the Ply Rating, Tread Depth, Tire Size and Speed Rating.

Steer Tires
Steer tires are considered the most important tire position on a commercial truck. They influence handling, help ensure a smooth ride, take a lot of scrubbing on curbs, and are often the position that's most involved in high impact collisions. Tires in this position play a major role in fuel economy and also tend to wear out faster than tires in other positions.

When choosing steer tires, it is important to take into account the type of driving the truck will be doing. For example, regional steer tires often feature additional sidewall protection for scrubbing against curbs and a zigzag tread design to give increased traction in tight spaces. If your truck is making long hauls, however, you should choose a steer tire with a straight, smooth tread to promote fuel economy and protect against uneven wear.

Drive Tires
On semis, the drive tires are the ones in the position on the tractor behind the steer tires. This tire position is usually further broken down into inside and outside positions, as drive tires are typically mounted in a dual wheel configuration. This position is responsible for transferring the power from the transmission into forward movement.

The name of the game when it comes to choosing drive tires is traction. Lug or siped tire designs are typically the most popular when it comes to drive tires because they provide the best combination of grip and fuel economy. With that said, siped tire designs usually offer better wear, while lug tires offer better traction. It all comes down to the job the truck needs to accomplish. Will the truck be driving long haul, regional, off road, or urban routes? In addition to tread design, deep treads are better for more mileage, while shallower treads are designed for maximum fuel economy.

Trailer Tires
Trailer tires are mounted on any of the trailer axles. The best tires for this position are designed for free rolling, trailer axle positions in the back of the trailer. They're likely stiffer to withstand tough breaking, heavy loads, and protect from curbing damage.

The two types of trailer tires are radial and bias ply. Radial tires have shorter cords that run perpendicular to the direction of travel, providing more flex and typically running at a cooler temperature. Cords on bias ply trailer tires run at a 32 degree angle from the direction of travel, have stiffer sidewalls and shoulders, but can run the risk of excessive heat build up. A shallower tread is recommended for better fuel economy.

For more information on how to choose the right tires for your commercial truck, contact Tredroc Tire Services today.