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How Tire Tread Depth Impacts Safe Operations of Commercial Trucks

Tire tread depth on commercial trucks is a direct indicator of both the vehicle’s safety on the road and its operational efficiency. Regularly monitoring and maintaining proper tread ensures maximum traction, reduced fuel consumption, and lowers overall operational costs for fleet owners.
How Tire Tread Depth Impacts Safe Operations of Commercial Trucks

Because tires are the only part of the vehicle that make direct contact with the road, they are arguably one of the most vital parts for your truck. Unfortunately, tires don’t always get the attention they should. Even commercial drivers often take their tires for granted, until they see a visible issue or notice a problem when driving. This is an unsafe practice—don’t overlook monitoring the health of your commercial tires and tire tread. Tire tread depth impacts safe operations and fuel efficiency of the vehicle more than you may realize.


Tire Tread Depth    

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that the minimum tread depth on commercial tires be 4/32nds for steer tires and 2/32nds for drive and trailer tires of an inch for every major groove on the tire. New steer tires have a depth of 18/32nd to 23/32nd, new drive tires are deeper and range from 26 to 32/nds, while trailer tires tend to have a depth around 12/32nds. When tire tread drops below 4/32, it lacks a proper grip on the road, which impairs vehicle braking distance and control. Lower tread depths have an increased risk of hydroplaning as the tread depth gets lower. On passenger tires, many people might simply use a coin to measure tread depth. For commercial tires, we recommend using a tire tread depth gauge or ruler to get a more accurate reading. Measure the tread at various locations on the tire. The lowest depth is the measurement to record. 


What Tire Tread Tells You About Your Commercial Tire Health 

Regular monitoring of tire tread depth is crucial to ensure the safety and efficiency of commercial trucks. It helps identify issues with tire inflation, suspension, and alignment, and it can prevent uneven tire wear. By using a tire tread depth gauge, drivers can easily measure tread depth and keep their tires within the safe limits set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Remember, tire tread depth impacts safe operations, so don’t overlook the health of your tires.


Tire Tread’s Impact on Safety 

Tire tread wear hinders the vehicle’s performance. When tire tread gets too low, it doesn’t grip the road. This is what causes hydroplaning on wet surfaces. Tread also impacts braking distance. The more tread-worn your tires are, the more difficult it is to brake. When a truck has tires with mismatched tread depths, the tires with more tread wear faster. Tires with mismatched tread depths greater than 2/32nds need to be replaced sooner than their expected lifespan, which costs the fleet in maintenance and equipment. 


Take Action with Irregular Tires 

The most obvious issue with tire tread is that it directly impacts the safety of commercial vehicles, but it also has a huge impact on fuel efficiency. Well-maintained tires help reduce fuel costs. When tire tread indicates the tire needs maintenance, don’t wait to make repairs. Replacing tires before they blowout lets you reuse the core to retread tires, saving money over purchasing new tires. STTC offers comprehensive services that help you manage your fleet’s tires to reduce your operating costs and to increase safety on the road.   

Give us a call now at 610-954-8473 or contact us online to discuss commercial tire management for your fleet.


Further Reading on Tire Retreading Insights

Further Reading on Commercial Truck Tires 101