Inflatable tires go back more than a century. That little invention by Dunlop has since exploded into a major industry for personal and commercial vehicles around the world. However, not many drivers pay much attention to truck tires. After all, truck tires are simply things that get replaced on a regular basis. But truck tires have come a long way, and there are little things to look for before you throw money down on the counter.
Steer Clear Of Retreads
Many drivers opt for retreads, or bald truck tires with a tread glued onto them. These are usually less expensive than brand new truck tires, but can end up costing owner operators much more, in the long run. In a 2011 report by the National Highway Traffic Administration, more than 800 people lost their lives to roadway debris on roads in the United States. As the tread wears down on retread tires, it peels away, and eventually rolls off the wheel. This is relatively safe, unless your truck is moving upwards of 15 mph. At normal to high speeds, the tread will roll off and fly behind the truck – or worse, get caught between other wheels. This can cause damage to the truck, and possibly injure or kill drivers behind them. To avoid damage and potential law suits, try to avoid purchasing retread whenever possible.
Not Too Hard, Not Too Soft
Soft truck tires are designed to grip the road. These offer a very comfortable ride, but wear quickly and can drop fuel efficiency. Hard tires are are designed for endurance, but provide less comfort, and decrease traction. Try to find a balance between the two.
Where Are Your Truck Tires Going?
Always take your climate into account. If you make short hauls in regions with changing weather and temperatures, softer tires might be a smart investment. Soft truck tires are designed to expand and retract with weather conditions. Harder tires, which are designed for endurance, are better for long hauls. If you are going up and down the west coast, or through the deep south, finding a balance that leans toward harder tires is a wise choice.
Finally, there is one more factor to take into account when buying truck tires. Most tires dealers will list the maximum load capacity for your wheels. You want to make sure your truck will actually move with your new tires, instead of accidentally purchasing tires that are unable to sustain the upper limit of our carrying capacity. Truck tires are not a cheap investment, so be sure to do your research a month or so before you need to spend money.