When asked which is the most overlooked truck tire maintenance practice, the top pros in the industry think it’s actually ignoring the tire during maintenance. According to the product manager for truck and bus radial (TBR), U.S. and Canada at Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations Matt Schnedler, the most commonly overlooked practice is not doing a hands-on inspection on truck tires.
There could be a reason behind this. Plenty of manufacturers are making strong tires that boost efficiency, strengthen durability, and carry the truck’s load confidently no matter the trucking application. Lawrence Williamson, the B2B regional technical partner and customer engineering support manager at Michelin North America Inc, says that there are six tips that will help your service technicians stay on top of maintaining, for example, Michelin tires.
- Conducting a visual inspection This involves looking for signs of deep cracks, cuts, and irregular wear. It also involves checking for problems in the shoulder and tread of the tire.
- Diagnosing severity Once problems are detected, it’s best to have a technician check how severe they are to provide room for proper repairs. Repairs should not be done by untrained persons.
- Determine the right PSI The right PSI is often recommended by the tire manufacturer. It takes into account the vehicle’s application. The service technician should consider this as well as the load carried by the truck.
- Avoid lifting tires with a crane hook from their center This can damage the critical bead area of the tire. It’s best to do so using flat straps from under the tread. Flat straps are preferred over chains and steel rings because they do not cause abrasions or cuts.
- Deflate tires correctly Make sure the inner and outer tires are deflated the right way before taking out any rim fixtures from the truck’s hubs.
- Avoid mixing tires Avoid mixing tires that have normal tread depth with those that have deep tread depth. The same applies to radial tires and bias-ply tires. Doing this helps to prevent damage to the truck’s internal components. The tires are able to work together to provide the same handling and traction performance.
These are just but the basics. Before your tire rolls into the shop for repair, ensure that the driver is able to maintain the right tire pressure throughout. The national fleet channel sales manager at Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. Jason Miller says that it’s the air in the tire that carries the load, not the tire itself.