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Tyre Tips - Light Commercial Vans, Trucks and Buses

Tyre Tip 1 - Truck Tyre Selection

A glance through any tyre manufacturer's brochure will confirm there is quite a vast selection of truck tyres available to the average user. It will also clearly indicate that there are specific designs and patterns for specific jobs.

This extends further than the traditional steer, drive, and trailer configurations. The owner / operator must be aware that by selecting their tyre equipment carefully to match the operating conditions, there are cost benefits and efficiencies available that can enhance their business bottom line. Of course, we are now way past the debate of radial tyres versus bias. Over 80 percent of the truck population are now equipped with radials, leaving the bias tyres fitted to the older trucks and specific requirements such as quarries, cranes, etc. A number of operators meanwhile just go along with whatever is fitted to their new truck or trailer equipment forgetting these tyres would be installed to cover general operations rather than catering for specific requirements.


Let�s have a look at steer tyres; their primary purpose is to provide steering and directional stability, braking force, while wearing evenly and lasting a long time. But long distance applications are decidedly different to, say, regional delivery services. Low rolling resistance, low heat generation, high-speed rated, straight rib patterned tyres would be a few properties required for interstate work. Conversely, urban work may utilise a more aggressive rib or even a block pattern with a cut and chip tread compound on top of a lower speed rated, more robust radial construction. So the advantages of the regional or urban tyre may not be conducive to interstate highway usage; in fact, it may well be detrimental or cost ineffective to use it as such.


Similarly with drive tyres, a good long look at what is available compared to the operational requirements is worthwhile. Certainly the deep tread cross rib type tyre gives great traction and high mileage, but when you analyse the trade-off in high rolling resistance which in turn affects fuel economy, is it worthwhile to run these type tyres? If outright traction is not required, then consider the more closed block pattern or shoulder ribbed drive tyres. These give lower noise generation, adequate traction in highway circumstances and improves the rolling qualities in the drive position. Again the advantages can be felt through the hip pocket! In fact, ask yourself the question -- do you really need the deep tread lug on the drive position at all?


Trailer tyres are a slightly different issue due to the widespread usage of recapped tyres in these positions. But at the same time, many operators are now opting to run cleanskins particularly on interstate haulage to ensure reliability. If you analyse the requirements or a trailer tyre, you find that they are a straight rolling proposition with a comparatively light load. This can translate into a non-aggressive rib type pattern, low rolling resistance pattern and compound, in a smaller size which could be entirely satisfactory. Perhaps a specialist shallow rib tread on a smaller size is the way to go.


So you can see there are many factors to consider -- and this is without bringing into the equation other items such as lower profile tyres, smaller wheel diameters, wide base single tyres, fuel economy tyres, etc, etc. There is a whole raft of questions and answers to process before choosing your truck tyre equipment.