In our world we all have choices. We make those choices based upon need and availability. If we make the wrong choice it can cost us dearly. When speaking of tires, there are so many brand choices I don’t even dare to try and name them all. When choosing a tire there are several criteria we must consider before making that purchase. We all tend to lean toward name recognition and reputation, and that goes a long way.

If you were to remove the name from all tires and had to choose just buy the look of the tread, you may still choose a name brand tire, but are you really getting what you NEED. There is a vast amount of research that goes into each tire, again I would not even try to name the different components that are different even within the same brand designed for different applications. Yes, all tires have the same basic parts: bead, sidewall, tread and casing, but oh how they can be different.

Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time in the #18 Sealmaster, Dale Coyne Racing, Indy car garage and pits. Let me tell you; I learned some of how much I didn’t know about Indy cars. For this discussion we are speaking of tires. They have no choice of brand or size. They only had three tire choices (for a road course track) for the weekend I was with them.

#1, a slick tread black sidewall Firestone, called Blacks. This is the go to tire for most teams, good traction and wear.

#2, a slick tread red sidewall Firestone, called Reds. This tire has a softer rubber compound, much better traction but wears out faster. The cars will get around the track faster but will have to change tires sooner, more pit stops take time.

#3, is a treaded tire, Firestone, similar to a street tire, called Wets, used only on wet tracks, much heavier and the cars are slower than when running the slicks.

The rules stated that each team must run a minimum of one set of reds and one set of blacks. The only thing you are allowed to change is tire pressures, and the teams monitor those pressures to the tenth of a pound, usually different for each tire position, hard to imagine doing that on a truck.

My point is you do have choices and must decide what tire is best for you in what position on your truck.  An over the road operation will not want the same tire as a refuse operation or a P&D operation. Each operation has certain tire feature needs, some features will cross over others will not.

I know we all watch where our money is spent, so choosing the right tire for your operation may take some research on your part. You don’t need to rely on the kid selling tires that doesn’t know you or your operation. He can be helpful but he is going to try to sell what he has in stock. If you are in need of tires and are happy with what you have, by all means stay with them. If you’re not happy, look around, new tire models are being introduced all the time. Maybe it’s time for a brand change.

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