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7 ways to spend too much on tires

| September 17, 2013

tireAfter fuel, tires are your second-biggest variable cost. Practices that optimize tread wear, preserve sidewall strength and lengthen tire life in other ways can save hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars a year. Here are the most common tire threats:

UNDERINFLATION. A tire running on low air works harder than intended. The potential for damage accelerates as the tire gets farther from optimum pressure.

OVERINFLATION OR OVERLOADING. Overloading a tire produces problems similar to those of underinflation. Never load a tire beyond its rating; instead, adjust air pressure for the load and/or ambient temperature. Hot temperatures increase air pressure; cold temps reduce it.

BAD ALIGNMENT. If wheels aren’t aligned correctly, tires aren’t rolling straight down the road. Wear will accelerate.

POOR SUSPENSION MAINTENANCE. Neglecting the suspension system will create a snowball effect as tires face uneven stresses every few seconds. This can produce uneven and accelerated tread wear, as well as sidewall damage.

IMPROPER MOUNTING/DEMOUNTING. This includes practices such as using starting fluid or tools with rough edges, failing to clean the wheel or inspect the tire to make certain it hasn’t been damaged or overstressed, and replacing the core seal rather than reusing the old one.

IMPROPER REPAIR. Never allow a rope (patch) repair to serve as a permanent fix for a puncture.

TIRE UNSUITED TO THE APPLICATION. Only a few tires are designed to work in more than one position or application. The wrong tire or tread will not be nearly as durable as the right one.

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  • James

    Another thing is maladjusted brakes. One brake dragging while driving or locking during stops can cause a lot of tire scrub over the span of a tire’s life. (Also not good for fuel economy.)

  • xl500james

    mismatched pressure between duals ( just a few lbs can cause excess wear ) is the leading cause of drivetire wear a simple solution si an onboard tire inflation system Get one like Super air had FOR the Tractor NOT JUST the Trailer you will see Huge Gains in tire Life Safety ang a Gauge to check pressuer IN-DASH like it shouls be

  • Paul Rudd

    Great post. Very informative.

  • timorr

    Clarification on adjusting air pressure: Target pressure should always be set when the air inside the tire is the same temperature as the air outside it. It is NOT correct to increase or decrease target pressures for variations in ambient temperatures. If your target is 100 psi, it should be 100 psi at -50 degrees and at +120 degrees, WHEN the air INSIDE the tire is the same temperature as the air OUTSIDE it. Set pressures after vehicle has been parked at least 3 hours or better still, overnight, and before driving more than 1/2 mile. Never bleed air from a hot tire.

  • Ken Nilsen

    Shock replacement many times is overlooked. A number of drivers wait till a shock starts leaking to replace it. If you put 8 new drives on then put on 4 new shocks, same with steer tires, you replace tires then replace shocks. Do you spend a lot of time on very rough roads? Replace at 100,000 miles. Same goes for heavy haul. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.