Readers mixed on wide-single tires

| January 17, 2014

Wendy Parker's wide singlesBefore acquiring the 2004 Freightliner George Parker and Overdrive contributing writer Wendy Parker now run in, George had no experience whatsoever with wide-single tires, outfitted on the drive axle of the Coronado he bought used. Wendy posted a question seeking advice and point of view on the tires, relative to the dual pairs they are intended to replace, on January 5: “Do they really pay for themselves, as some say, or are they a pain in the rear and more expense than they’re worth?”


Super single sing-along

"I'm curious as to how many readers have direct experience with running single tires. Do they really pay for themselves, as some say, or are ...

Singles are common today in many on-highway applications, and the question clearly struck a nerve, showing extremes of both love and hate from readers on the subject. Some heaped kudos on singles for and improved ride as well as cost savings in both fuel and long-term maintenance. Others noted reduced traction getting started in some road conditions, among other concerns. Of the more than 400 responses to the question, the following excerpts sum up the long conversation, played out both here on and via our Facebook page. Click those links to read more and/or weigh in yourself. 


Spec the Perfect Tires

With products becoming increasingly specialized, learn to pick the designs that fit your business and save money.

Raymond Carmickle: We tried the super singles here. They lasted six months before the fleet went back to doubles. Blowouts were costing a rim and a tire. Long-term, they are more expensive. 

Jenckes Whitaker: I had them, and it wasn’t so bad in the snow or ice. As far as getting stuck after a blow-out, by law you can’t drive on a flat anyway. They were much smoother on the road, and it’s anyone’s guess if it’s more fuel-efficient – that’s the line the company sold me on mine…. The only ones I ever lost were on the trailer. Same as any, they trash the mudflap. 


Going low

Bigger’s not always better, especially when it comes to tire sidewall height. When spec’ing a truck for long-haul, you can give it a big boost ...

Andrew Slaughter: Stick with duals. I borrowed a company truck that had [singles]. Got stuck trying to pull out of a parking spot with a small amount of ice.

Lucar Borc: [Speaking of advantages,] how about 400 lbs. less of “rotating mass” on your truck? Shorter stopping distance? Wide patch on road surface? More torque and hp to the wheels? Better handling due to two walls’ flex instead of four? Better fuel economy? 

Bob Yerdon: Research says they save you $3,000 a year on fuel. You must check pressure every day – don’t run them low on air. I’ve put 500,000 miles on mine and love them. 

Alan H. Williamson: I only see the super single as a big hassle. They don’t save that much weight when compared with a low-profile 22.5 on an aluminum wheel. 

What do you think?

  • Kast55

    Easily get stuck with those double.

  • Vrahnos

    I have never used the super singles on my trucks and nether did the companies I drove for.I have seen them being used on others trucks and to me they do all right on dry roads.Tread has a factor for if one gets stuck or not.(traction tread verses street tread.)I did see that the super singles had more problems with hydroplaining on rain wet roads than the duels did.So for that reason (I live in the northwest rain forests)I don’t want to use them.Seems to be alright in dry states to run with.

  • John Scott

    I was talking with another O/O about these singles. My only concern is when it goes flat your basically calling out road service. If you have duels you might be able to limp to a service center saving time and money. The conversion is also rather pricey, and I am not sure the payback would be there.

  • gregory sember

    we delivered oversize steel and cranes to jobsites for a company that builds water tanks, I’ve chained up more with the super’s than I ever did with duals. Wet grass, mud and either chain up or wait for a wrecker.They say there is less rolling resistance but if you measure the super it is 16in the same with the duals ,8in per tire. with a flat, if its on the outside you can roll up on a block and peel it off, put on another, a shot of ether and air it up. try that with a super

  • MW Girl

    We have run fuel efficient wide base singles for the past seven years. Before we took delivery of our second truck we had the dealer pull the duals off and add the singles. We are in the process of buying our third truck and we will once again have the wide base singles. WE run 99.9 percent of the time on paved roads and we run 48 states so we have seen it all and have no more trouble with the singles then we did the duals. We also have always run a tire pressure monitoring system and we always know what our tire pressure is as well as the temperature of the tire.

  • Spence

    I’ve thought about putting super singles on my ’86 Peterbilt, but it has the old style budd wheels and lug nuts so my guess is I would probably have to pull the axle shafts out and drive hubs off and change the lug studs, plus it would be quite expensive. My experience with wide tires on other equipment has been good as long as it was in dry conditions but when it comes to snow, ice, and mud they are the most helpless and treacherous things that ever was. Maybe super singles ride better which is nice but I think I will stay with dual wheels. As far as rough roads go the states need to get their asses in gear and fix the roads.

  • Hayes

    as a mechanic fo diesel for awhile now super singles can be expensive to repair when they blow they ussually take the rim with them cost for both about the price of 2 new tires and rims but they do have less weight then your duals and yurning with them is better so it all depends on the driver on what they prefer

  • JeepCollector91

    I have used both on my 2003 Freightliner Columbia.
    (same tread pattern on both the singles and duals)
    While the singles did provide better floatation over snow and sand, I did notice a lack of side bite when cornering making the truck more likely to slide out in the rear. The singles also hydroplaned/aquaplaned easier in heavy rain.
    The duals tracked straighter in snow and sand thanks to the gap between the tires guiding it straight and also gave better traction in mud due to their ability to clean out better. Also have increased side bite thanks to the extra sidewalls.
    Duals also give you the added benefit of having that extra tire to run on after a blowout to be able to limp it to safety.

    Whichever you chose, get a good aggressive tread pattern. I would choose traction over fuel mileage any day since getting stuck or having an accident can get expensive and take more than the money saved in fuel. It can take your life or someone else’s.

    Stay safe.

  • Dan Gerster

    I have had super singles and duals super singles are great if u drive for prime they never go over 65 mph they don’t even drive over 62mph but when u drive a super single over 70 miles per hour for a extended period of time in summer heat they exploded and cause more damage to the trk then the tires worth. I sat in the rest area in mn after my front drive tire exploded ripping off the fender, tool box, broke the headhache rack, and took out a chunk of my trailer the rim wasted., the rim new is 750.00 the new super singles are up 12%taxes and 8%sales tax plus the road call
    do u know I can buy a 11:22 rim for 235. and a Kelly drive tire for 359.00 plus the tax. do u know I can buy 4 aluminum rims and 3 tires for the price of one supersingle and rim with less agervation

  • Abraham Goldick

    carry a hand held hydraulic jack and chain that axel to the truck frame, drive on down the road flat tire spinning in the wind, limp to service center

  • hacksaw

    after being in the heavy haul bus. for several years how is that going to work when one goes and you cant even get onto the shoulder.

  • bigred

    I saw one those “SINGLES” that had gone through the windshield of a vehicle in Wyoming. It first took out the quarter fender, destroyed the drivers side fuel tank and fortunantly came out the back of the trailer into the passenger side of the 4 wheeler. If someone had been in the passenger seat????? I wont use them.

  • sthomas1957

    I can see in some instances where singles would be an advantage, especially where it concerns fuel mileage. But if you’re in, say, rural Wyoming and you have a blowout and the nearest truck stop with tire facilities is 50 miles or more away, first, you’d better hope they even carry singles in the shop, and, second, prepare to wait for a long road service call. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.