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How Irregular Tire Wear Can Hurt Fuel Economy and Shorten Tire Life

How Irregular Tire Wear Can Hurt Fuel Economy and Shorten Tire Life

The success of managing any fleet or truck operation today requires a focus on fuel economy, especially as costs continue to rise. There are a few ways to reduce how much you’re spending on fuel, but none may be more significant than trailer maintenance and tire quality. Irregular tire wear not only affects gas mileage but also shortens the life of your tires, meaning you’ll spend even more money on tractor and trailer maintenance.

How Tires Impact Your Trailer’s Fuel Efficiency 

Tires play a role in fuel economics mostly through their rolling resistance, which is defined as the force needed at the axle to make the loaded tire roll. Tire dimensions, materials, construction, and maintenance all play a role in how much force is necessary. Tire maintenance often revolves around proper inflation pressure but noticing and adjusting to irregular tire wear is also important. That’s because the more force needed to move the tire, the more energy is needed.

Irregular wear patterns typically develop when the tires are misaligned or at mismatched heights.  This also leads to poor traction. When this happens, the tires drag instead of roll, which can increase friction and the amount of fuel needed to move the load. 

What’s more, irregular tire wear can also contribute to cracks and other damage to the tires. This may increase the wear on some tires so much so that it puts them at risk for blowouts. As tread depth decreases due to this unwanted wear, the casing is more exposed to potential puncture from road debris. 

Increased friction from irregular tire wear increases the temperature of the tire, casusing higher internal pressure. The higher the pressure is on the irregularly worn tires, the greater risk for of a blowout.

How to Minimize Risks Associated with Irregular Tire Wear

The goal then for any fleet is to find a way to minimize the risk of irregular tire wear. There are several potential ways to do that:

  • Proper inflation: Check with the tire manufacturer to determine the proper inflation pressure for each tire. All tires should be inspected routinely for proper inflation. Check tire pressure on your truck and trailer, weekly.
  • Inspections: Look for signs of damage, including cuts, holes, or wearing, and take care of them as soon as possible. When one tire has a problem, it can impact the other tires on your rig as well. 
  • Tire rotation: All vehicles wear differently, but tire rotation every 10,000 miles (or more depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations) is a necessary step to ensure even wear across all tires installed on your tractor. 
  • Alignment Service: Always ensure that tires are suitably aligned. This should be done by a professional to ensure the vehicle is not only driving properly but that no one tire is taking on a heavier load than the rest. 
  • Find the problem: If you’re not sure what is causing the uneven wear because your vehicle is regularly receiving alignment inspections, consider other causes. This could include overinflation, underinflation, or problems with the suspension. Have a trusted tire service team handle this repair for you.

Set Up Routine Trailer Maintenance, Too

Keep your vehicle operating at its best by investing in proper routine trailer maintenance. That includes the tires! We can help.

STTC offers 24/7 emergency road service if you have a blowout, as well as routine maintenance to keep your vehicle running safely and smoothly. Give us a call now at 610-954-8473 or contact us online when you need trailer maintenance.


Further Reading on Tire Retreading Insights

Further Reading on Commercial Truck Tires 101