Using free info and free air to extend tire life

Updated Feb 6, 2012

I learned today the contents of the current Michelin Truck Tire Data Book. Learned by reviewing the book.

Diane and I woke up this morning in our Florida vacation house where we plan to stay until mid-February. Just back from Landstar BCO Appreciation Days, I spent some time going through the bag of stuff we brought back with us.

I was especially glad to have a new tire data book in my hands. We bought 10 new tires a few months ago from a dealer in Arizona. He did not have a book to share. I was surprised that he seemed to be unaware that the book existed and was given away by dealers. I tried to view one on the Michelin web site but was unsuccessful after several attempts. I finally scored a book at a dealer’s booth at BCO Days.

Of immediate interest in the book are the inflation charts for truck tires. Tires change. The next-generation tires we bought replaced tires that are no longer available. The inflation tables give Diane and me the information needed to match our tire psi to the weight of the loads we typically haul.

The difference can be huge. When we first bought our truck in 2006, we conscientiously kept our tires inflated to the psi stamped on the side of the tires. When I mentioned to a tire dealer that we were not getting the miles out of a set of steer tires that were expected, he showed me the tire inflation tables and gave me a tire data book. When we adjusted our tire inflation to what the table showed, our steer tire life increased by 50 percent!

Steer tires are expensive. There are many things you can do to extend their useful life (shocks, alignment, proper selection, etc.), most of which cost money. Tire data is available free of charge. So is air. All major tire manufacturers make their tire data books available to their customers. Use this free resource and free air extend your tire life.

It may also be a good idea to keep a copy of the tire data book in your truck. It has never happened to Diane or me, but I know of one driver whose tire inflation was questioned by a scale cop. The driver avoided a ticket by showing the cop the proper psi in the tire inflation table, thereby proving that his tires were correctly inflated.

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I like to think that scale cop learned something new that day from a knowledgeable driver who offered up the lesson.

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