Like with any other trucking company, moving companies spend a lot of money on tires so understanding tire wear can help correct problems and add life to moving truck tires. Tire wear can be researched in great detail at the American Trucking Association Technology and Maintenance Councils RP219B” Radial tire Wear Condition and Causes: A guide to Wear Pattern Analysis.
In this article, however, we’ll cover some of the most common moving truck tire wear issues and some possible remedies.
First of all, alignment is key. We briefly touched on this in Moving truck tire tips, but now we focus on the specifics. If you have a tire that has one-sided wear it’s generally because of crooked axles or wheels being out of alignment. “Toe In” is like a person being pigeon-toed with the tire pointing slightly in, “Toe out” is like being duck footed with the tire pointing slightly out. When these conditions occur, feathered or scale like wear occurs on the shoulder of the tire. So if you see a tire and the outside seems to be worn down much more than the inside don’t just change the tire, get the truck aligned. Experts have suggested a potential savings of 33% on tire costs and an extension of steer tire life from 75,000 miles on the low-end to 145,000 potentially on the high-end (with a proper alignment program). Even for smaller moving companies that’s a great deal of money.
If abnormal wear is on both shoulders of the tire he tire is probably under inflated and or fast covering is the culprit. A high center of gravity can be the cause but on a moving truck the low inflation problem is most likely. If the tire is worn abnormally in the center the tire is probably overinflated. Some drivers feel that overinflating a tire will increase fuel mileage and it will for the short-term. However, tire wear issues negate the fuel savings in the long run.
Tramline wear only happens with non drive tires (steer or trailer tires) and is the result of the tires trying to follow the grooves, etc in the road like a trolley or “tram”, Switching non drive tires to drive times can help even out wear if you consistently go across the same rough or grooved road.
Circumferential damage occurs when something is cutting into the tire like part of the trucks frames, mudflap, hanger, etc. This is probably the easiest wear to see and fix. Not that the tire can be reversed, but the cause of the cutting can be removed.
If you have two different size tires or two tires of dramatically different inflations next to each other as duals on your moving truck, the wear pattern can be inconsistent because the smaller tire makes less contact with the road. Tires should always be the same size and inflation. Finally, flat spots in tires can occur by either excessive hard braking (“hitting the hooks”)or a wheel that is locked up due to the brakes not releasing or being frozen. This can’t be cured after the fact but can be prevented by a proper pre trip inspection. With all of these moving truck tire wear situations early diagnosis and correction is key. A good idea is to check alignment ever time an oil change/service is performed just to be safe and perform a “thorough” pretrip inspection (including tire inflation check) before each time the truck/trailer goes out on the road. The savings and convenience of not having to switch out tires far outweigh the little bit of work it takes to monitor the situation. These tips should help you spot moving truck tire wear so you can take corrective action before it’s too late.