Tires are one of the top four business expenses for owner-operators. To succeed in the business of trucking, it is crucial to cut expenses down to a minimum, which means prolonging the life of your tires. Tried and true methods of getting good mileage out of your steer tires have always been: proper inflation, one three-axle alignment a year, constant inspections of your truck for worn steering components, and correct tire balance.
As a previous Fleet Service Manager, a common issue discussed with my boss was trying to account for high tire costs. I ensured I had done all the preventative maintenance steps:
My tires were properly aligned
Tire pressures were checked at each fueling
Toe-in was checked at regular intervals
Still, costs were high and I could not pinpoint where the problem was. My tires had wear patterns that did not make sense. Spots on the tires were worn as much as 4/32 and the rest of the tires were in great condition. I talked with the tire manufacturing company and they claimed to have no issues with the tires, so consequently I would just run the tire out as much as I could. I would usually run the tire until the driver complaints about vibrations were so bad that my boss requested I remove the tire. I would also run tires out on a trailer, then have them recapped.
One day I observed one of our techs putting a tire on the steer axle of a truck. He rolled the tire up to the truck, put the tire on the studs, grabbed the lug nuts and torqued them down, and considered the job done. I went up to him before he could let the truck down and asked him to take all but three lug nuts off. That is when I saw the problem. The wheel was not centered to the stud and hub, which caused the uneven wear of the tire.
My long time friend Rob Webster, co-owner of Tru
wheel centering products, came to this same conclusion as a Fleet Service Manager. Check out the video below to see what steps you can take to prolong your tire life and how using Tru-Balance will keep your wheels centered.