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Understanding How Different Tire Position Tires Can Impact Semi Truck Performance


Whether you drive a pickup truck, sports car, or semi-truck, the tires on your vehicle have unparalleled importance. Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that physically contacts the road. As such, the tires can impact every single facet of your drive. Let’s take a closer look at how the different tires on your semi can impact performance and signs you may need a tire replacement.

Drive Tires and Semi Truck Performance

Drive tires are attached to where the trailer and tractor meet. These tires are responsible for helping move and turn the vehicle. Drive tires usually have a deep groove pattern or lug-type tread design for improving grip on different surfaces.

An alternative to this tread design is a stripped tread, which helps deliver more traction and better water dispersion. The tread design on drive tires is especially helpful during cold seasons, especially if you regularly drive on icy roads.

Drive tires are critical to handling and bolstering ride quality. In addition, drive tires tend to come with a ribbed tread design, which enables better control and helps channel water away. For most truck drivers, drive tires experience the most wear and tear.

Steer Tires and Semi Truck Performance

As the front tires on your semi-truck trailer, the steer tires help turn the vehicle. Most experts would agree that steer tires are the most important tires on your semi. While you may be able to use other tires for the front axle position, you should always use steer tires in the required position for maximum performance. When it comes to performance, your steer tires:

  • Largely influence handling
  • Sustain scrubbing on curbs
  • Help ensure a smooth ride
  • Are subject to the most wear and tear

In addition, the steer tires can influence the fuel economy of your semi-trailer. Most semi-truck experts suggest reducing the tread depth of your steer tires may help improve fuel economy.

Trailer Tires and Semi Truck Performance

As the name suggests, your trailer tires are attached to the rear of your trailer’s axle or the trailer itself. Trailer tires must withstand heavy loads and deliver excellent braking capacity. Trailer tires are also engineered for free rolling. These tires often have reinforced sidewalls to protect the tires against damage when rubbing against curbs and concrete surfaces or when climbing. Trailer tires play a larger role in fuel economy than tires in other positions. According to research, these tires can account for a collective 40% to 50% of the overall fuel efficiency of the semi-truck.

All Position Tires and Semi Truck Performance

All-purpose tires, such as the 295/75R22.5 variant, are specifically engineered to excel in multiple positions within a truck. These versatile tires are adept at fulfilling roles in steer, drive, and trailer positions. Combining the features of other tire position tires, all-position tires are very versatile and provide good all-around performance.

With all-position tires, you can replace a tire in any position if it fails, which reduces your inventory requirements. These tires are typically a good decision for companies that need flexible tire positions and long-distance trucks. However, all position tires may not be as effective in more extreme conditions.

When Should You Replace Your Semi Truck Tires?

Because your semi truck must haul massive loads, it’s critical to know when you need new tires. While most drivers only consider mileage, you should replace your tires every three to six years at a minimum. In addition, make sure to pay attention to the following factors:

  • Tread depth: You should replace your tires whenever treads drop below 2/32 inch
  • Sidewall cracks: If you notice any cracks in the sidewall of your tires, it’s time to replace them.
  • Wear and tear: Inspect your tires regularly for wear and tear. Also, keeping your tires aligned can help mitigate expedited wear and tear.

Contact S&S Tire for Commercial & Semi Tire Services

Finding the best tires at the best price for semi trucks can be challenging. Fortunately, the experts at S&S Tire can and will help. We offer one of the largest selections of high-quality tires for semi trucks. Most importantly, we will guide you through the process and help you make the best decision.

Contact S&S Tire today!