The truth about tyres

Close-up of old tyres on a truck

Given that a new set of tyres on a prime mover and trailer can set you back many thousands of dollars, the need to look after them should be a no brainer.  

Whether you’re driving a light commercial van, ute or a larger truck, regular maintenance and care is the best way of looking after your investment without compromising on safety or performance.

There’s a tyre solution for every challenge

Tyre manufactures invest millions of dollars a year into research and development.  It’s how they’ve managed to design a range of innovative, high-tech and cost-effective solutions for the many challenges faced by the road transport industry.  

So, whether you’re hauling freight across the nation, moving livestock on an unsealed road, or navigating heavy loads through urban areas, there’s a tyre solution for every challenge.

Get the pressure right

Research suggests 50% of all truck and trailer breakdowns involve a tyre in some way. Maintaining correct tyre pressure is essential if you want to achieve maximum tread wear, maximum fuel efficiency, good road handling, and preventing blowouts.  

The wrong tyre pressure can cause the vehicle to lose stability, negatively affecting handling, cornering, and stopping.

An under-inflated tyre flexes more when the truck is cornering and stopping. Because it doesn’t respond as quickly, built in performance and safety features are compromised.  Tyre manufacturers estimate that a tyre which is under-inflated by just 10% can decrease tread life by 9-16%.

Over-inflation can cause the tyre to lose traction because its shape is altered by the air pressure and decreases the tyre’s footprint on the road. Over-inflated tires are more prone to damage because they are stiffer, they fail to cope with common road hazards like potholes and can cause a harsh, noisy ride.  It may be hard to believe, but working under normal conditions, a tyre can lose 10 pounds of air pressure in the space of just one month.

Get a routine

It may seem like stating the obvious, but establishing a regular routine for checking tyre pressure pays dividends.

Tyres should be checked at least once a week. To get the most accurate reading, check on a level surface when the tyre is cold.  At the same time, check the depth of the tread, look out for damage and check the tyre is wearing evenly.

Excessive wear in one spot can indicate mechanical issues with brakes or a problem with alignment.  It’s possible to extend the life of the tyre by up to 30% just by regularly rotating the tyres.

Managing tyre safety

Some blowouts just can’t be avoided as they are caused by hitting a pothole or something on the road. In these circumstances, maintaining the correct pressure will make no difference.

However, given that it’s estimated that around 80% of blowouts are caused by running with incorrect tyre pressures, it makes sense to pay attention. 

A blow out can be an inconvenience to the driver and mess with the schedule, but flying debris can cause serious damage if it hits other road users or cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.