It's a Team's Life
Let’s Talk Tires and Alignment
At this year’s Expedite Expo there was a round table called “Let’s Talk Tires”. It was hosted by Kyle Martin of McMahon's Best-One in Ft Wayne, IN. I was able to attend this round table on Saturday. He provided each person that attended a folder with a wealth of information on tires and alignments. In that folder was a plethora of information on interval of doing alignments, how often to rotate your tires, and maintaining proper tire pressure.
Did you know that before you take delivery of a new truck you should have an alignment done. The vehicle settles in transport. After you take delivery and go over the road you should do you next alignment between 15,000 and 30,000 miles or 3 months whichever comes first.
The next interval you should follow is between 80,000 and 100,000 miles. We schedule our alignments every 50,00 miles. This works better for us since that is when our PM’s are due.
The tire rotation on tandem drives, he recommends is an “X” pattern. Such as the port side front drive tire to the starboard side drive rear (not for directional tires). This will help with tire wear. Rotation should be done, whenever you do an alignment. Along with a rotation, balance the wheels and tires.
How does temperature affect your tire inflation pressure. There are two factors that we must look at the first is “ambient” (is the temperature of the air outside the tire). The second is “contained” (is the temperature of the are inside of the tire). As you drive the tire turns. It has friction with the road surface. It flexes which will cause the tread to heat up. The temperature can increase as much as 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit above ambient. So, what supports the tire? It is the air in the tire. Keeping the correct inflation will keep the tire in the right shape and controlling the amount of flexing.
Each tire manufacture will put on each tire the maximum pounds per square inch (psi) for that tire. This is the maximum they should be inflated in a “cold” state. The “cold” state is when the truck has been parked for 3 hours the ambient and contained temperature should be the same. We are not going to recommend what psi you should be using. The psi will depend upon the weight of the load and the temperature you will be travelling through. Please check with your tire installer to discuss this.
Tires are expensive and the more miles you can get out of each one will save you money. A set of steer tires can run you between $800-$1600 depending on brand. So, if you can get upwards of 200k miles out of steer tires and not 100k miles think of the savings.
The bottom line to save money is doing regular alignments, tire rotations, and maintain proper tire pressure.
Sandy & Stephen
Pinch Hitting for TeamCaffee