Split Testing Tires: What To Pay Attention To | Semi Truck Repair
A while back on our Facebook page, we posted a picture of one of our JAM Partners standing next to the largest tire, a 70/70-57.
A fan of the page, my brother saw the picture and was incredulous that a tire could actually cost that much.
To those inside the industry, the shock value was relatively low.
Sure, $125k is a lot to spend on a single tire. But to those who own their own trucks or manage or maintain fleets, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibilities, especially if the equipment is considerably larger than a regular 53′ trailer. (which it clearly is if you even just glance at the image.)
It goes without saying then, since commercial truck tires aren’t cheap, pretty close attention is paid (or should be at least) to the life cycle of a fleets tires.
Paying attention to wear patterns on your fleet can not only increase your bottom line, but it can point a finger at bigger mechanical issues that may be on the horizon, as well as the need for balancing or alignments.
Additionally, if you’re constantly on the look out for a more inexpensive tire, tracking this type of information can help you determine if a tire you are testing compares to the one you took off.
So what are some components to pay attention to when testing out a new tire? We’ll list those below. But before you begin it’s recommended to have gotten a baseline from the brand/tread pattern that you are already running. You’ll ask the same questions of both tires.
How many miles are we getting between swap outs?
How many 32nds were lost during the duration of the test?
Are our take offs generally able to be retreaded?
What has our fuel mileage been averaging?
Is any position getting any sort of irregular wear?
And if so, what type of wear are we noticing? (Ride related or possibly mechanical?)
Have we had any complaints about poor ride?
Any complaints about poor weather traction?
Once you’ve established these numbers and comments as a baseline, you can take off the tires, replace them with the variety you’d like to test, and compare the results after you run them down too.
Here are a few important things to consider:
Be sure you are testing tires on the same truck. Different trucks have different nuances to them which can affect the wear on the tire.
Keep your payload within the same range if possible. Comparing a tire that has been run on the max 80k lbs for the duration of the test will be different than a tire that has been carrying 40k… and then 60k… and then maybe 80k… and then 60k again, etc.
It’s best to compare tires on a dedicated route. Obviously running a tire on a P&D route is going to wear a tire differently than on an OTR route. If you’ve got a run from Indianapolis to Wilmington (as an example) from here until the end of time – use that route to test out your tires one after the other. Chances are your payload will be more regularly be similar on a dedicated route as well.
Don’t test out tires in two different seasons. The hot pavement of summer breaks down the rubber in a tire much faster than winter roads will.
Remember that more money doesn’t always mean more miles. Depending on your application, you may be able to get away with running a more inexpensive tire on your truck. And we say if you can, DO!