As a truck driver or fleet owner, you want everyone to arrive safely at their destination. One way to do this is to always perform a visual inspection of your tires before a trip. Here are some tips to help you catch any issues before you hit the road.
Since low air pressure is a major cause of tire blowouts, check every tire frequently. Follow the guide from Pressure Systems International to make sure you inflate each of your tires to the proper PSI. For accuracy, use a gauge that has been calibrated with a master gauge. Listen for air leaks.
Visually inspect every tire and look for signs of uneven wear. Check for damaged sidewalls. Look for debris that has become lodged between dual tires. Be sure dual tires aren’t coming in contact with each other.
Tire tread depth is one thing that requires strict compliance. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates minimum tread depth as follows:
- Steer Tires: For every major tread groove, the minimum tread depth is 4/32 of an inch. The thin decoupling groove at the shoulder is exempt from this requirement.
- Drive and Trailer Tires: For every major tread groove, the minimum tread depth is 2/32 of an inch.
Remember, tread depth measurements cannot be taken at the wear indicators or stone ejectors in the grooves. If you fail an inspection, you are at risk for being issued a ticket or even getting your vehicle placed out of service.
Next, inspect all the different parts of your wheels for damage and rust.
- Look at the inside and outside of the wheel rims for oil or grease which can indicate having a broken or damaged seal on your wheel or hub. If this happens, you’re in danger of overheating or having a bearing failure.
- Make sure you don’t have a cracked or damaged rim which will put stress on the tire, lugs, or lug nuts. When that happens, a wheel or tire can break away from your truck.
- Check your valve stems for cracks which can cause overheating.
- Immediately replace valve caps that are missing.
- Be sure your lug nuts are tightened.
- Check your lug nuts for signs of rusting as this can cause damage to the wheel.
Other Safety Tips
Here are a few other very important truck tire safety tips to follow.
- Properly store your tires.
- Never use mismatched tire types or sizes. Doing so will increase the chance of experiencing a tire failure.
- Use a safety cage when inflating mounted tires.
- Do not limp-in on a flat dual tire.
- Don’t weld or apply heat to the wheel while it’s mounted.
- Tire and rim servicing should always be done by a trained professional who uses proper tools and approved procedures.
- When driving, monitor your wheels for smoke, off-tracking, or uneven tire rotation.
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