When it comes to semi-truck tires— especially for steer tires — there’s little room for forgiveness due to poor inflation. Even a seemingly small amount of underinflation can result in catastrophic damage to your fleet’s trucks and drivers. The best way to protect against unnecessary blowouts and downtime is by implementing preventative maintenance practices to ensure proper inflation.
In September 2018, a deadly crash between a Greyhound bus and tractor-trailer on Interstate 40 on the border of New Mexico and Arizona resulted in seven passengers losing their lives. Upon further inspection of the crash, it was discovered that an underinflated steer tire could have been the likely culprit. Because the semi-truck tire was in operation while underinflated, the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed.
It’s fatal scenarios like these that make tire inflation a point of serious concern for fleet managers. Had the truck driver performed preventative maintenance on the vehicle, the crash likely would not have happened. Most operating applications are different so it is best to consult a trained professional and manufacturer data book for inflation recommendations. Load range of the tire, tire size, and the weight of the load all influence the proper inflation. On the whole larger tires, with heavier plies, and larger loads require additional PSI. Tires with less than 20% of their initial PSI are considered flat and should be removed and inspected for a source of the leak. However, any PSI amount less than the recommended level will negatively affect tire life and wear.
One of the best ways for fleet managers and their drivers to protect against the effects of poor inflation is through preventative semi-truck tire maintenance. A good practice for drivers is to check their semi-truck tire pressure prior to departing for their trip. Likewise, drivers should continue to check their tire inflation level at every stop they make along their trip, with a final inspection given upon arrival at the final destination.
Drivers should take note of any significant or repetitive losses in tire pressure in the same tire, as this could indicate the presence of a leak, puncture, tear, or other damage. If your driver notices this while en route to delivery, it’s best for them to contact a roadside service provider to change out the defective tire rather than risking a tire blowout or crash. To better ensure the safety of your drivers and proper inflation of your semi-truck tires, partner with a preventative maintenance provider like STTC.
STTC provides preventative semi-truck tire maintenance services for fleets looking to better manage their team’s tires. Our tire technicians will evaluate your tires for safety, inflation, tread depth, wear pattern, and a variety of other safety and performance elements to help prevent unnecessary downtime. Don’t let tire inflation put your team at risk: Contact STTC today to inquire about our preventative maintenance plans!