New generation wide-base singles continue to gain popularity, as well as drive and trailer wheel positions in the industry. More and more fleets and owner-operators are seeing the benefits this new wave of technology provides, and the number of tire manufacturers now producing and delivering wide-base singles to the trucking market has increased dramatically over the past 12 years.
 
To gain an understanding of wide-base singles technology and how it could help save you money, here are some basics to consider and information on how to choose the best wide-base singles for your application.

 

  • Fuel Savings: This is where rolling resistance comes in. Online resources allow you to compare the rolling resistance of competitive tires. The fuel savings advantage of wide-base singles stems from the basic fact that they reduce the number of tires on a truck. Energy is required to return each sidewall to its “upright” position, and the only place energy comes from on a truck is the fuel tank. That’s part of keeping the tire rolling down the road. With wide-base singles, the number of flexing sidewalls is decreased, lowering overall rolling resistance and increasing fuel economy. In comparison to fuel-efficient dual tires, some wide-base singles provide a fuel efficiency improvement of several percentage points.

 

A report made available by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2009 found significant fuel efficiency improvement over dual tires when wide-base singles were in use – 6 percent overall and 10 percent with fully loaded tractor trailers. That’s $4,000 to $7,000 in fuel savings, based on a vehicle running 120,000 miles annually, getting 6.5 mpg and paying $4.00 a gallon for fuel. 
  • Weight Savings: In addition to the fuel savings, trucks using wide-base singles experience overall weight savings as well. Trucks with wide-base singles can save approximately 700 pounds per truck, allowing you to carry more payload, adding to your bottom line. Online calculators can help determine how much weight you would save in making the switch.
  • Retreading: Wide-base singles are retreadable, allowing you to lower your overall cost of operation. Depending on the retread provider, there may be multiple wide-base single retread options available. High-quality wide-base single casings are able to be retreaded several times, so the original casing’s quality should factor into your decision when selecting the right wide-base singles for your truck.
  • Ease of Maintenance: Ten is less than 18. This advantage is fairly obvious, but it has a few helpful implications. One up-front consequence is fewer tires to mount, dismount, inspect or rotate, resulting in less maintenance and downtime. Another factor is the ease of air pressure maintenance and pre-trip inspections. The majority of rapid air loss situations stem from poor pressure maintenance on the inside dual tire—a problem eliminated when switching to wide-base singles. You can eliminate the need to check that pesky inside dual tire.
  • Used Trucks: With more and more fleets utilizing wide-base singles for fuel and weight savings, the used truck market is seeing an increased number of trucks with wide–base singles. This presents an advantage to used truck purchasers as they acquire the new technology of wide-base singles without the conversion cost of retrofitting. Used truck dealers can often convert a used truck currently on dual tires to wide-base singles and work the conversion cost into the truck loan. Certain wide-based singles are listed as a value-added option by The Truck Blue Book, adding more financial value to a used truck.
  • Availability: Currently, seven tire manufacturers produce wide-base singles for the North American market.  Wide-base singles are available at locations across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, including most truck tire dealerships and truck stops. Numerous roadside breakdown services also offer wide–base singles and the response times for those calls are comparable to dual tires.
  • Application: Not everyone operates in a long-haul application, so it’s important to find a wide-base single that meets the needs of your application. Ask for a wide-base single that can deliver the fuel efficiency, traction, and tread features you need—whether you operate on-highway, off-highway or even in a regional or urban application. Michelin, for example, offers six different wide-base singles, as well as six different retread options to serve various applications.
  • Government Regulations: If you operate in California, you are no doubt aware of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations in place requiring tractors running 53-foot trailers to use fuel-efficient tires to operate in the state. As other states review similar legislation, it’s important to note that the U.S. EPA SmartWaySM verified technologies list includes a number of wide-base singles from several manufacturers that can help you save fuel and weight, increase ease of maintenance and meet CARB requirements.

Hopefully these insights have helped you understand more about what benefits wide-base single technology can provide. Through fuel, weight, and maintenance savings, wide-base singles can help lower the total cost of ownership, which puts more money in your pocket. If you need more information, please visit www.gowidesavegreen.com. If you’re a wide-base single user, share your thoughts and experience in the comments section below.

Comments (12)

Paul Johnston

Paul Johnston, business segment manager, Michelin Americas Truck Tires Based in Greenville, S. C., Paul Johnston has spent 17 years in the transport industry, all with Michelin. He has held various Marketing and Sales management roles within the Commercial Truck Division, having had the opportunity to work in France, Australia and four US-based locations. Johnston currently serves as a NACFE (North American Council for Freight Efficiency) Board Member and frequently attends industry association events while spending time in the field with customers in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

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Thanks for all of your comments! There seem to be a few regarding rapid air loss and control. As with any tire, maintaining the proper air pressure of your wide single tire is critical and helps avoid events that lead to downtime. Pressure monitoring or inflation systems can be a good assistance if the operator ensures they are working correctly. In the event of a rapid air loss situation with a wide single tire, drivers can still maintain control of the truck. Check out our videos where we use explosives to simulate a rapid air loss situation on MICHELIN X One tires and the control that remains – just like Henry has pointed out. There are several vehicle types tested. The videos are under the X One Tires section here:
http://www.michelintruck.com/michelintruck/toolbox/videos-demos.jsp

January 15, 2013 16:08:16 PM

We are running 44 tonne (88000 Ibs) on wide single tyres, in the UK and Europe. Standard singles are used on the truck. Single tyres on trailers in mainland Europe are shorter wide tyres where bridge heights are lower, so the box of the traile
r can have are larger volume inside.


In the UK we are using 16feet
2inch high double and triple deck trailers using the smaller singles or the Wide singles. All motorways and other new multi lane highways must have overpass clearance of 16'6", that's why we are running such high trailers in the UK. There is nothing to fear from use of wide single tyres.

January 13, 2013 1:27:50 AM

Having talked to other drivers that had them on our double pneumatic powder trains who had failures happen, it was not impossible to control. You would think on a set of doubles you would have a risk for excessive loss of control, but of the two or three cases we had over the three year period we had them on, no one really complained about any serious loss of control due to a flat. These trucks were always loaded on a scale to 80K lbs +/- 500 lb.

January 11, 2013 20:50:08 PM

Richard,
I have "lost" one of my wide base singles a 65 mph. I was not a big event handling wise and I managed to get stopped without damaging the rim. There is a few things I have done since then to make sure this situation does not happen again. On the trailer I have a PSI central tire inflation system combined with Ride-On tire protection system. Ride-On is a gell like substance which functions as a sealant and a dynamic tire balancer. I have the tractor set up with a TST tire monitor which should alert me to a problem before it becomes a catastropic failure. In addition to this I carry a air hose to hook up to the emergency air glad hand and a tire plug kit to further reduce the chance of being stranded by the roadside.

January 11, 2013 7:48:47 AM

What about the redundancy that you gain with running duels? My primary loads are Honey bees on a step deck @ 80k. We have all had blow outs in the past. From this article I would love to run the SS but have alot of concern when you haul critical loads. When I read comments like when they blow they really blow I wonder about the potential for a rollover or loss of control on a top heavy load. Any comments would be much appreciated.

January 10, 2013 18:58:11 PM

The tire inflation system is great on trailers and they are not meant to be used to maintain tire pressure they are used to prevent a tire from being run to low and damaging the tire. This system is not readily available on drive tires or steer tires where the Tire Pressure Monitoring System will alert a driver to a tire going low.

I have only seen a couple of tire inflation systems used on drives and steers and they are really unwieldily and cumbersome.

January 10, 2013 9:18:00 AM

Auto air is the way to go.

January 10, 2013 5:34:41 AM

Great article Paul. Wide base singles have been working well for me the last 4 years. I run a tire monitor with the single tires like Linda but think it would be a good idea even if you use dual tires.

January 10, 2013 5:30:02 AM

We have been running wide base singles for the past six years with no troubles. We run a air pressure monitoring system which alerts us if a tire is going low. This was tested one night in northern California when we picked up a link of chain on the road way which caused a slow leak. Before the tire could blow the TPM system alerted us. Due to what Jimmy talks about "when they blow they really blow" we would not run the wide base singles without our TPM.

January 09, 2013 6:13:50 AM

I have heard a lot of these "scary" stories from people regarding the use of wide-based singles. I have a friend who works for one of the larger tire companies here in our area of SoCal who educated me on these tires. A large part of the blow-outs that occur, which are a major source of these horror stories, are due to improper inflation. If a driver has a problem checking their pressure during an adequete pre-trip, I think they deserve a little "roadside siesta" waiting for road service. I know not all blow-outs are caused by this, but his advice was to keep an eye on them and they will help more than hurt in the long run. The last company I worked for as a company driver ran these on about half of their 50-unit fleet of bottom dumps and pneumatic powder trains (which get paid directly by weight hauled) with much success. Not that we didn't see blow-outs, but with proper maintenance and care we saw great gains in fuel savings and revenue per haul. The one negative I saw is that if you do get one that blows, they really blow! They would actually take off fenders on our rigs. I happen to think the benefits outweigh the downsides on this one though.

January 08, 2013 20:44:01 PM

Paul, you sure know your tires. Thanks for the informative article. I've been apprehensive to try these tires as the popularity and the tire shops to carry them were slow to catch on it seemed. Now I see them all the time. I've heard some large fleets went to these tires but have gone back to duals. I'm not sure why. I go to an old fashioned tire shop where I live and the owner tells me not to get them. He said if you lose a regular single, you can still truck a little more and get off the interstate, bad neighborhood, etc., but if you lose a "super single" you're dead in the water. I will have to calculate the cost of tires, new wheels and measure against the savings in fuel.

January 08, 2013 17:55:41 PM

Paul,

Very interesting information. Thank you for putting this together for all of us.

January 08, 2013 13:58:24 PM