Do you know the main factor of your tires’ life?


By Russ and Tiña De Maris

If you live the life of a 24/7 fulltimer you know how tire life contributes to your annual financial picture. They’re expensive to replace and are an important factor in your driving safety. Let’s look at what you can do to reduce tire cost without sacrificing safety.

Industry experts, including tire-consuming fleet folks, all agree: “The largest contributing factor [to a tire’s life span],” says Pat Martindale, “is air pressure. It was years ago, and it still is today.” Martindale is a maintenance guru for Penske Truck Leasing, and gave this maxim to Light & Medium Duty Truck magazine.

Similar views are echoed by Michelin North America through their customer engineering support manager, Doug Jones. Jones says that underinflated or overinflated tires simply wear unevenly and prematurely wear out. Underinflation can lead to zipper ruptures along the sidewall that lead to rapid deflation. As little as 10 pounds “under recommended pressure” can cause an increase in tire wear of 7 to 15 percent. Overinflate that big rubber roundie and you can look to see increased wear and tear on the center of the tire tread, a stiffer ride, and a lot less forgiveness when hitting “road hazards.”

You dually runners, listen up: Pressure between two tires in a dual set should not differ by more than 5 pounds. If the difference is bigger than that, one tire will be larger than the other, and the smaller one won’t roll nor deflect as it should.