You should replace your truck’s tyres as soon as they show meaningful signs of wear and tear. How long it will take for this to happen will depend on various factors. The main ones are your driving conditions and style, the tyres’ age and mileage and your commitment to maintenance. Here is a quick guide to what you need to know.
Why it’s important your truck’s tyres are in good condition
The condition of your truck’s tyres directly influences your truck’s safety, efficiency and performance. Here are some of the key reasons why it’s important that your truck’s tyres are in good condition.
This is probably the single most important reason for ensuring that your truck’s tyres are in good condition. Your truck’s tyres are literally what grip the road. That means your truck’s ability to respond to your driving instructions ultimately depends on your tyres. In particular, your ability to change speed and direction both depend on your tyres.
Per UK law, tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three-quarter area. Also, vehicles must be road-worthy. This means that a tyre could still be considered illegal even if it passes that test. Admittedly, it’s hard to see how this could happen but it’s still worth noting.
It’s also worth noting that keeping your vehicle road-legal is guaranteed to be a condition of any driving-related insurance you have. This means that continuing to use worn tyres could invalidate your policy. Driving without insurance is itself a criminal offence.
Better fuel efficiency
Driving on worn tyres forces just about every component in your truck to work harder than it should. That means just about every component in your vehicle needs extra fuel to work. Firstly, that costs money in itself. Secondly, increased fuel consumption means increased fuel stops. Those will increase your driving time. Effectively, therefore, it lowers the value of each trip.
Enhanced vehicle performance
As has already been mentioned, if your tyres are in good condition, your truck will handle better on the road. It will also be quieter and have a much lower level of vibrations. These last two points can significantly improve the health and safety of drivers.
How to make your truck’s tyres last as long as possible
On the one hand, you do need to replace your truck’s tyres as soon as they become too worn to use. On the other hand, truck tyres are expensive. It, therefore, makes sense to make sure they last as long as possible.
The key factors that influence the lifespan of a truck’s tyres are your driving conditions and style, the tyres’ age and mileage and your commitment to maintenance. Age you cannot control and, in trucking, mileage is arguably also out of your control.
You may, however, probably have some control over your driving conditions. You’ll definitely have control over your driving style and your maintenance routine. Here are the key points you should consider.
Try to avoid driving in extreme weather
In the real world, most drivers are unlikely to want to go out in extreme weather. Apart from anything else, it can be a safety hazard, especially for trucks. On the other hand, it’s often hard to avoid doing so.
At a minimum, try to park up during the worst of it. For example, in winter try to drive in the daytime as much as possible. In summer, try to avoid driving in the middle of the day.
Try to avoid roads with hazards
Again, in the real world, this is often a case of easier said than done. For example, the warmer seasons are prime seasons for roadworks. Sometimes drivers are forced to use the roads anyway. This can result in vehicles being forced into (relatively) narrow gaps. Sometimes, this is going to result in tyres getting hit (e.g., against kerbs).
Watch how your truck is loaded
No matter how much of a hurry you’re in (or how difficult other people are being), make sure your truck is always loaded correctly. Never exceed the recommended weight and always ensure that it’s probably balanced. If there are ways you could improve your truck’s aerodynamics then do so. It will extend the life of your tyres and improve fuel efficiency.
Hard acceleration and braking can cause unnecessary stress on your tyres, leading to premature wear. By contrast, driving smoothly and avoiding excessive speed changes to extend the life of your tyres.
Maintain your tyres effectively
Implementing a proper maintenance routine can do a lot to extend the safe, working life of your truck’s tyres. Here are the key points you should address.
Choose the right tyres for the job
The tyres that come with your truck are chosen based on what the manufacturer thinks you will be doing with the truck. They might not actually be the right tyres for the jobs you actually do. Also, the jobs you do might change and might benefit from different tyres. This means you should always consider your options when changing your tyres.
Clean your tyres regularly
Most truck components perform best when they’re clean. Tyres are no exception.
Keep your tyres at the right pressure
This is important all year round. It’s particularly important in the colder seasons as tyres deflate rapidly in cold weather.
Rotate them regularly
The manufacturer will recommend a tyre rotation schedule. As a rule of thumb, however, tyres should be rotated at least every six months or 6K to 8K miles, whichever comes sooner.
Ensure they are balanced and aligned
Whenever your tyres are changed, make sure they are properly fitted so that they are balanced and aligned.
Signs that it’s time to change your truck’s tyres
There are two hard signs that it’s time to change your truck’s tyres regardless of whether or not they appear to be in good condition. These are age and mileage.
Both are set by the manufacturer. In general, however, tyres should be replaced at least once every six years or after 50K-70K miles. With trucks, the mileage limit is likely to be reached long before the age limit.
Additionally, you should replace your truck’s tyres if you notice any of these signs.
- Insufficient tread depth (this is the law)
- Visible signs of excessive wear, particularly sidewall bulges or cracks
- Uneven wear
- Air bubbles
You should have your tyres checked if you notice any of these signs.
- Excessive vibration
- Reduced traction
- Handling issues
These do not always point to tyre issues, but sometimes they do.
HGV drivers should be aware that the frequency of replacing their truck tyres depends on several factors, such as the type of tyre, vehicle, load, and driving conditions. Regular inspection and maintenance are crucial for identifying issues and extending the lifespan of their tyres.
Truck drivers must monitor the condition of their tyres and replace them promptly if they show signs of wear and tear or damage. As tyres are the only contact point between the vehicle and the road, HGV drivers must ensure their tyres are in good condition to ensure their safety and that of other road users.
Browse all the latest driver jobs here.