Becoming the owner operator of a semi or other commercial vehicle is a good choice if you want to manage your own business. However, you may not be completely prepared for all of the costs that you will inevitably face. While maintenance costs are understandable, you can cut down on expenses by taking a few necessary precautions. Making sure that your tires are inflated properly is one easy thing you can do. Keep reading to learn about the issues that can develop when you drive on deflated tires.
You probably already understand that semi truck tires are expensive and can run somewhere around $500 to $600 per tire. This is one reason why you want the tires to last as long as possible. Driving on deflated tires can cause substantial tire weaknesses, especially along the sidewall. The tire sidewall is constructed with thick steel belting materials. This steel flexes and becomes quite hot when tires are not inflated properly. This happens as the sidewall bends under the pressure of your truck.
As the steel flexes, bends, and becomes hot, it starts to tear. As the tire weakens, you come closer and closer to having a blowout situation on your hands. Specifically, the issue that develops is called a zipper rupture where a tear forms in the middle section of the tire sidewall. When this happens, the tire completely fails under the truck weight.
When your tire is inflated properly, you expect the very middle part of the tire tread to make contact with the road. Since this part of the tread is meant to withstand the most pressure and stress, the tread is deeper across the tire. As the tire ages, the tread wears down uniformly, but stays in relatively good shape for some time.
When your tires are deflated, much more of the tread makes contact with the road as you drive. The more weight you carry, the more tread that makes contact. The outer edges of the tire that are not meant to wear will suddenly be subjected to stress and pressure. The thinner areas of the tread will wear down, and you will likely need new tires sooner. The problem is often referred to as shoulder wear. Shoulder tread patterns are measured during inspections just like the middle or center tread, so make sure your tires are inflated well.
If you want to know more about tires and how they can be protected from general wear and tear issues, then contact your semi truck retailer.