Since truck tires are usually one of the most expensive items in any transportation budget, it’s no wonder that independent owner-operators and fleet managers alike are always looking for ways to cut those costs. However, that does not mean that all tires are created equal! Buying the cheapest tires you can find will often lead to much higher costs down the road.
If a tire is excessively cheap, that’s probably because the materials and rubber compounds it’s made from are cheap as well. That means the tire is going to wear out more quickly on the road, leading to more frequent replacements. Additionally, the cheapest tires cannot be retreaded as many times as a quality tire, which drives up the TCO quickly.
Another area where cut-rate truck tires save money is by skimping on the tread, either not producing quality tread designs or not having sufficient tread surface to keep the tires stable. Cheap tires can lead to a noticeable reduction in handling, which -in worse case scenarios- could end up endangering your driver or your loads.
As a byproduct of the faster wear rates and worse handling from cheap tires, friction coefficients and fuel consumption are likely going up as well. The harder the truck is having to work to pull a load, the more that translates into extra fuel use. When fuel costs are another of the largest line items in a transportation budget, this turns into a one-two hit to your bottom line.
How long is the warranty on those cheap truck tires? Do they even have a warranty? Chances are, if you read the fine print, you’re going to discover they have very little coverage against failure or standard wear-and-tear. So, if they do blow out on the road, you’re potentially swallowing a lot of loss.
Tire retreading is viable, fully-tested, and warranty-backed when done by certified truck service centers. A properly-retreaded tire is just as safe and reliable as a new tire, but costs less. It’s how more and more fleet managers are reducing their tire costs, even in fields such as military vehicles and school buses where failure is not an option!
What about the number of times a substandard tire’s casing can be re-treaded? If your company policy is to retread tires, then you may want to consider how many times the casing from a particular set of tires is likely to be retreaded.
Cheaper tires may start with lower quality casings that cannot be re-treaded as many times –adding to your total cost of ownership. Whereas higher quality tires can be retreaded up to 3 times, reducing the TCO via savings over multiple re-treadings.