A deep tread does not guarantee long tread life

This week, I stopped by a tire shop to have some maintenance done on my trailer. While waiting, I watched as drivers came in the shop to purchase tires for their equipment. I couldn’t help but notice that some of the tires they selected were not right for their application. The most common error was choosing a tire that was designed for high scrub urban use in a long haul highway application.


When speaking with drivers, they’re selection was based only on price and the tire having 22 (32nds) of tread depth. The thought behind choosing the high scrub tire is that it offers 4 (32nds) more tread depth than a typical highway type tire which only has 16 to 18 (32nds) of tread. Drivers may reason with themselves that the extra 4 (32nds) of tread would lead to longer tire life. This is a case where more is not always better.


A high scrub urban steer tire is designed to operate in an urban setting where there is constant turning and maneuvering causing a high degree of scrub wear to the tread surface. This is also the reason why these tires are designed without a defense groove at the outer edge of the tread. When used as designed, the tread is constantly scrubbed clean. If used in long haul highway service, the extra tread depth causes more flexing and irregular wear.


Let’s look at a long haul highway tire design. These tires will typically have a tread depth of 16 to 18 (32nds). The shallow tread depth is designed to combat irregular tread wear. Another feature of a long haul highway type tire is a defense groove at the outer edge of the tread that reduces irregular river wear. There is also a lower rolling resistance associated with a highway type tread design.


Over the years, tires have become increasingly application sensitive and therefore it pays off to do your homework before selecting/buying truck tires. You can find many resources available at each of the tire manufacturer websites. These sites can help to answer any questions you may have and can assist in doing the necessary research prior to making your purchasing decision. One website that I’ve found particularly helpful is Michelin Commercial Truck Tire . Their site offers everything from rolling resistance to application information in great detail.


Tires are a major business expense and therefore doing the extra research will help you in selecting the proper tires for your business operation. Also, choosing the right tires can assist in lowering your cost of operation per mile.

Comments (2)

Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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Great blog Henry. Very informative.

July 10, 2013 19:43:08 PM

Definitely words of wisdom when buying tires. I happen to look for tires that have the high resistance to scrubbing with the maneuvering you speak of in this article. If I use long haul tires for my application I tend to see a shortened life. My trade off in a typically harder compound is reduced traction in inclement weather situations. Buying the perfect combination for my particular short-haul situation is critical in getting the most wear for my money!

July 10, 2013 19:00:16 PM