Preventative maintenance is topic we discuss and encourage every day. Keeping regular scheduled maintenance records, performing key pre-trip inspections, and regularly checking key equipment areas such as engines, brakes and refrigerated units are often discussed. Today, we look at one of the most important elements of a truck and trailer: the tires. 

Important Tire components

  • Tread: the part of the tire that comes in contact with the surface of the road.
  • Lugs: the part of the tread that create traction on the road.
  • Sidewall: the section of the tire that is between the tread and the rim on the wheel. It is largely made of rubber that is reinforced with fabric or steel cords that provide strength and flexibility.
  • Ply: layers of rigid cords that are embedded in the tires rubber; they hold the tires shape and prevent the rubber from stretching due to internal pressure.
  • Belt: also embedded in the tires rubber, underneath the ply layer; they are usually constructed of steel.

FMCSA Regulations

According to regulations published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (§393.75), no motor vehicle shall be operated on any tire that:

  • Has body ply or belt material exposed through the tread or sidewall;
  • Has separation on any tread or sidewall;
  • Is flat or has an audible leak;
  • Has a cut that is to the extent that the ply or belt material is exposed;
  • Has any tire on the front wheels of a truck tractor with less than 4/32 of an inch depth when measured at any point on a major tread groove;
  • Has a tire with less than a 2/32 of an inch depth when measured in a major tread groove;
  • Has a regrooved tire with a load carrying capacity equal to or greater than 4,920lbs on the front wheels of the truck tractor.

Preventative Maintenance Tips

Violations to tire maintenance come under the CSAs “Vehicle Maintenance” area, and the majority of violations seen on the road are those that could cause a tire to rapidly lose pressure and put the vehicle Out of Service. Here are some tips to ensure that drivers don’t get stuck with a violation that may put them Out of Service:

  • Pre-trip inspections are essential! Check for proper tire pressure, tread depths, irregular wear patterns, and all suspension components. Check out our Pre-Trip Inspection Essentials video – it has some great tips on how to accurately inspect these areas.
  • When you do need to make a repair, follow the recommended repair procedures that are provided by industry associations, such as the Technology and Maintenance Council or the Tire Industry Association . Following these industry recognized guides will help to reduce the risk of a violation due to improper repair procedures.
  • While on the road, pay close attention to your tires. If you hit a piece of debris, it is best to pull over and check to ensure this hasn’t caused any damage.

Make sure you test your tires today! Remember, preventative maintenance leads to profit!!!

Preventative Maintenance – Tires: Components, Regulations, and Care Tips was last modified: by