Owner-operators know, your truck is your livelihood. That’s why on-going maintenance is so important to the success of your trucking business. It’s also why quality semi-truck tires are the best investment to keep your truck running at peak performance. Will you be buying semi truck tires in the near future?
Eventually, even with regular maintenance, all truck tires need to be replaced. Although it can be tempting to go for the lowest-priced option, keep these 7 factors in mind when making your next purchase:
#1 Product Quality
Not all semi-truck tires are the same. There are many new tire companies, several from China, offering cheap tires. Beware of rock bottom prices for new tires as many come into the country with no DOT codes. The EPA’s SmartWay publishes a list of tires. Keep in mind the EPA has a disclaimer that it doesn’t guarantee manufacturer claims. It accepts manufacturer’s test data and does none of its own testing. The saying, “You get what you pay for,” is famous for a reason!
#2 Grip and Performance
The surface of a semi-truck tire can result in performance quality. Harder tires are designed for durability and endurance. They also provide better fuel efficiency. However, in certain conditions, there may be a decrease in traction. They may also affect comfort.
Softer semi-truck tires grip the road better by design. They provide a smoother ride compared to harder tires, but they also tend to wear down faster. Fuel efficiency is generally lower with softer semi-truck tires as well.
#3 Fuel Efficiency and Resistance
When semi-truck tires aren’t inflated properly, the engine must work harder, adversely affecting the fuel economy. More friction is created when the tire pressure is too low because more of the tire surface comes into contact with the road. Overheating, blowouts and tread separation can be the result of underinflated semi-truck tires.
#4 Stability and Braking
It is estimated that 80 percent of today’s new Class 8 trucks are equipped with auxiliary engine brakes. Aggressive use of these brakes can increase overall tire wear. Typically, twice the tread depth of trailer tires is found on high-mileage drive tires.
Additionally, fewer instances of abusive, brake-induced tire wear will be seen due to electronic braking controls which account for more consistent stopping distances.
#5 Cost and Tire Life
The average semi-truck tire price is in the $500 range. Some are offered for as little as $150. The cheapest semi-truck tire is not necessarily the most cost-effective tire. Keep that in mind when buying semi truck tires!
Factoring in the cost per mile is important when making a purchasing decision. Take into consideration the typical life of a tire. Depending on the brand, a manufacturer’s warranty can extend up to 10 years. In most cases you should consider replacing tires once they reach the six-year mark to avoid accidents or breakdowns.
#6 Warranty and Adjustment Policy
Reputable semi-truck tire manufacturers will clearly define their warranty terms. Warranties can cover time ranges (4 to 7 years average) and may also cover a certain number of miles. Some will offer an adjustment policy based on tread wear.
Cheap tires from an off brand may seem like a good deal but some companies may not stand behind the warranties they offer. Be sure to read through the warranty for your tires. Consider the value of the warranty offered when calculating your cost per tire.
#7 Brand Faith and Delivery Time
Michelin is the No. 1 semi-truck tire brand across the board. Goodyear and Yokohama consistently rate in the top 10 brands according to data gathered from several tire dealers as well as Modern Tire Dealer’s list of 2017 U.S. Replacement…Tire Brand Shares. Other brands with high rankings are Bridgestone, Firestone, and BF Goodrich.
Extend the Life of Your Tires
On-going maintenance specific to tires can help extend the life of your semi-truck tires.
Check Tire Pressure
Almost 90 percent of semi-truck tire blowouts can be traced to underinflation. This is the single best way to reduce roadside repairs and reduce needless fuel waste!
Signs of Wear and Tear
Worn tread is a sign that your semi-truck tires need replacement. Though knowing how a mechanical condition affects a tire is important as well. Worn tires are often a symptom of poor alignment or bad bearings. Replacing worn tires without addressing underlying issues simply means a shorter life for the next tire. Tires say a lot about how a truck is treated, keep yours in good condition!
Though there is no exact science for semi-truck tire rotation, they should be rotated at least once during the expected life of the tire. Some drivers prefer to rotate one quarter to halfway through the expected mileage of the tire. Performing regular inspections and rotate when there is a difference of 3/32 or more in the tread is another option.
The key is to make a schedule for rotating your tires and having it done when your truck is already in for service, like scheduling it with every-other oil change. This tip alone could keep you from buying semi truck tires more often!
The driving conditions expected are a factor to consider when purchasing semi-truck tires. Softer tires are designed to expand and contract with temperature fluctuations. If you frequently have routes through regions with ever-changing weather conditions, softer tires may be a wise choice.
Tires are a big investment for your semi-truck. Making sure they properly support your vehicle is critical. Be sure to verify the maximum load limits for each wheel as listed by the manufacturer. This important step will ensure that your new set of tires can sustain your top carrying capacity – and protect your investment!
What is a Retread & Is It a Good Option When Buying Semi Truck Tires?
Retreading is the process where semi-truck tire casings receive a new tread. Worn tires are carefully inspected and only sound tire casings are used for retreading. The process is very similar to the manufacture of a new tire. Heat, time, and pressure applications are used to affix a new tread.
Safety of a Retread
Most retread plants are franchised, licensed by or affiliated with major brand suppliers and adhere to stringent industry recommended practices. Many trucking fleets plan on having their worn tire casings retreaded at least two times and factor that into their tire budgets. Other industries use retreaded tires as well. In the United States, 80 percent of all aircraft tires are retreads. School buses, fire engines and military vehicles are just a few more examples of retread users.
Initial Cost vs. Ongoing Replacement Costs
Retreads cost less than a new tire – somewhere between 30-50 percent of the new tire price. It is reported that retreading truck tires saves over $3 billion each year in the trucking industry! Retreading can lower your initial costs too, but what are the ongoing costs? If you are replacing your retread tires every two years, is that a better investment than buying semi-truck tires new?
Truck, Van & Trailer Service in and Around Utah
Semi Service, Inc. is a family owned business that was started in a small, two-bay trailer service and repair facility servicing the Salt Lake Valley in 1972. Since that time, we’ve expanded to offer two locations in the Salt Lake City area! Our certified & experienced Semi Service mechanics can help you with:
Maintenance & Parts – We specialize in truck equipment installation and repair, heavy-duty equipment repair, fabrication, all types of trailer repairs, selling new and used trailers, and in CNG conversions.
Repairs – Truck, trailer, and snow equipment repair services in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming!
There’s nothing more frustrating than having your whole day disrupted due to an unexpected vehicle malfunction. Whether it’s big or small, it can leave a major dent in your bottom line. When you need roadside trailer repairs, it’s not uncommon to feel completely blindsided. You can prevent yourself from panicking by avoiding these common roadside maintenance mistakes.
Ignoring Regular Maintenance
The longer you work as a driver, the more likely you’ll need roadside trailer repair. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prevent a majority of the cases of mid-trip breakdowns. The best way to keep your truck and trailer operating smoothly on the road? Preventative maintenance.
There’s no excuse for a poorly maintained vehicle. Your truck travels many miles each year and your trailer experiences wear-and-tear from heavy use. It’s guaranteed that you’ll need maintenance. Be proactive!
A malfunction on the road is more than an inconvenience. It can completely disrupt your schedule and cost you more than just the repair bill. Even small issues can be a massive safety risk if left unchecked.
Take your rig in for regular maintenance and be quick to have minor issues serviced. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By taking care of problems before you even need roadside trailer repair, you can save hundreds or thousands.
What’s worse than having a roadside breakdown? Trying to find a repair service for your truck or fleet when you’re already stressed out on the shoulder of a highway! If you operate a fleet or are an owner-operator of your own semi-trailer, start building a relationship with a breakdown service before you need it.
Primarily, you need to know that you have a partner when something goes wrong. Trying to find emergency service when you need it can steal precious hours from your schedule. Negotiating services and costs isn’t always quick, which means you don’t want to do it while you or one of your drivers are stranded.
Additionally, the earlier you seek out a roadside repair provider, the more time you have to decide on the best offer. Any repair can be costly, but roadside trailer repair is often more expensive than regular maintenance. If you want to keep operational expenses low, you’ll want to take your time to find the right service well before you need it.
Certain types of trailers, like reefers, aren’t well-suited for significant disruptions. Losing your cargo to spoilage from a surprise breakdown because you were stuck on the phone finding a repair service won’t do you any favors.
Focusing on Price Over Quality
Speaking of price, don’t forget that a roadside breakdown can have repercussions that extend well past the downtime of a disabled vehicle. The cheapest service available isn’t always the best. High-quality repairs can last for a long time, instead of a quick fix that only gets your vehicle to another repair shop.
If you go with the cheapest offer, you might end up paying more in the long-run for repeat repairs. An inexperienced technician will likely charge less, but could cost you more in time spent diagnosing and repairing the problem.
This ties into planning. When you’re sorting through your available options, consider one with the best reviews and a history of quality work. You’ll always be better off with proper in-shop maintenance, but when a situation requires you to call for roadside repairs, you’ll want service you can rely on.
Not Tracking Breakdown Details
It doesn’t matter if you manage a fleet or simply operate your own vehicle, you should track every time you need service. Over time, you might start to notice recurring issues with your truck or trailer. Chances are, based on your runs, your vehicle experiences repeat wear-and-tear on specific parts.
If you don’t keep track of these repairs, you’ll be left in the dark. However, clear tracking will give you the opportunity to preemptively spot issues or notify your truck service company so that they can pay extra attention to problem spots. In some cases, you can prepare by investing in replacement trailer parts that you’re sure to need in the future, saving you time and money.
Giving Vague Information to Your Breakdown Service
No service can help you if they can’t find you or understand the problem. When you call for help, make sure to be clear and give as many details as you can:
Where you are
What problem you’re experiencing
Any issues you’ve identified with your vehicle
Since you likely know your truck well, you may be able to give a good guess of what you think the problem is. Even if you’re not sure, pointing a technician in the right direction can help save precious minutes diagnosing the breakdown. Once you know what’s wrong with your vehicle, they can give you an estimate and you can start planning your return to the road.
Tips for Dealing with Roadside Trailer Repair
Because it’s inevitable that you’ll have a roadside breakdown, make sure you’re prepared:
#1. Move to a Safe Place
If you can, get your rig as far from active traffic as you can. If you can’t get off the road, get on the shoulder. If you can’t get on the shoulder, get to the right-most lane. The less you obstruct traffic, the lower your chances for causing a serious accident.
#2. Be Visible
Do you have emergency visibility equipment? Reflectors, road flares and your hazards can all help you stay visible. Without them, you increase the risk of an accident – which will be far more expensive than a few roadside repairs. Especially at night, take care to ensure visibility. It will also help your repair service know where to find you.
#3. Inspect Your Vehicle
Before the technician arrives, look over your vehicle quickly. If you can find the source of the problem, you can dramatically speed up your repairs by telling the technician. While they should still do their own inspection, it will help them narrow down the problem and start thinking of a solution immediately instead of after 20 minutes of diagnostics.
Contact Semi Service for Trailer Maintenance & Repair
Semi Service specializes in all types of trailer repairs, maintenance and sales. If you have questions or need a new or used semi-trailer, we can help!
Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!