Understanding Semi Truck Tire Examinations

If you are in the market for a new semi truck, then you may decide that a used one from a dealer like Arrow Truck Sales is more in your price range. You can save yourself up to about $80,000 simply by choosing a used medium duty truck over a new variety. If you do go for a used model, then it is imperative that you spend some time inspecting the truck to make sure it is in excellent shape. If you have a chance, look over the tires carefully and look for signs of wear and tear.

Low Air Pressure

If you are an experienced semi truck driver, then you know that each commercial trucking company will set its own air pressure requirements. These requirements are based on the average weight of the loads carried by each truck. The correct air pressure helps to retain proper fuel efficiency, and it leads to fewer tire blowout issues. Under normal driving conditions, you want your tires to hold at least 105 pounds per square inch of air pressure. 

Some trucking companies will ask their drivers to keep their tires underinflated at around 100 PSI. If you test the air pressure in the tires and notice this, then it will tell you a few different things. Tires are often deflated to 100 PSI or below if the truck is being asked to haul loads that are extremely heavy. This helps to shift weight over the axles in such a way that the truck can pull more weight in a safe and efficient manner. However, the low air pressure means that the tires may be at risk of blowing out.

If the tires do contain low air pressure, then this means that the semi truck may have been pushed to its limits on a daily basis. If the engine has not been rebuilt and the truck is pushing 800,000 miles, then you may be looking at an engine rebuild in your future. If for some reason the tires have not been inflated on purpose to below 105 PSI, then this may indicate that the driver simply did not check air pressure and allowed it to reduce significantly. This is a sign that the truck may not have been taken care of properly. 

Worn Tire Treads

Almost all semi truck drivers know that worn tires are extremely dangerous to drive on. The massive weight and stress on the worn tires can cause a blowout condition. Blowouts are dangerous because they cause the tire to explode, and this creates a completely unstable truck. Drivers know this and also understand that they are putting themselves and others at risk when driving on worn tires. If you see treads that are worn on the semi, then this is a sign of poor maintenance, constant driving on deflated tires, or driving over hazardous roads.

If you notice wear on the tires, then look to see if wear is even across the tires or uneven. Uneven wear points to constant driving on deflated tires and heavier loads. If wear is even, then measure the treads to see how deep they are. While some companies will use their own standards to determine whether or not the tire treads have worn too far, it is wise to use the guidelines set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This organization states that front axle tire treads should be four-thirty-seconds of an inch deep. All other tired treads should be two-thirty-seconds of an inch deep. If the tire treads are not this deep, then this is a sign of excessive and dangerous wear.

Speak to the semi truck owner about tread depth and whether or not he has been following maintenance practices or not to determine if the tread depth signifies a bigger issue.