TPMS & Tire Maintenance a Must for Today’s Trucks
Proper tire maintenance is of the utmost importance for vehicle safety, especially in the trucking industry where vehicles are in constant use and tires rack up so many miles. To ensure long tread life and avoid blowouts, tires on commercial vehicles must be properly inspected, maintained and inflated.
The TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) is one system that helps drivers be aware of changes in tire pressure and helps avoid dangerous situations. When issues are found, it’s best to take care of them immediately to avoid expensive and dangerous road incidents.
Inspecting tires before trips is critical. Here are some specific items to check:
- Visually inspect for tire damage and repair anything you find immediately.
- Check for tread depth and wear patterns, as these can indicate issues with pressure or alignment.
- The sidewall of a tire should be inspected for bulges and other damage.
- Tire pressure should also be checked regularly. Tire pressure should be within 5 psi on an axle. Tire pressure should be set based on the load your vehicle is carrying. Charts that show proper inflation for load are usually found on the vehicle’s door frame, owner’s manual or tire manufacturer information.
Some issues found during inspection can be repaired. If tread is found to be worn beyond specification, the tire must be replaced. On many tires, you can retread the tire casing if the casing is in good condition. Patches can be used if there are holes in the tread area of a tire. If there is severe damage or bulges on the sidewall of a tire, the tire must be replaced.
TPMS is a great addition to modern commercial vehicles. Being able to see changes in tire pressure has been integral to extending the life of a tire, allowing you to avoid excessive wear caused by incorrect inflation or loss of inflation. It is very important to verify that the system is functioning properly. Some Issues with the TPMS system can throw a fault code for your vehicle. These can be detected with a scan tool.
The Mitchell 1’s TruckSeries truck repair information software has procedures to help you troubleshoot and repair your TPMS system (Figure 1 below – sample of information available in the Repair Module in TruckSeries).
Proper maintenance is a critical factor in maximizing the lifespan and safety of your vehicle’s tires. After all, they are the part of your vehicle that touch the road. If your tires are worn or damaged, it will affect fuel economy, your vehicle’s ride, stability, and most important, your vehicle’s ability to stop fast. At the top of the list is maintaining your vehicle’s tire pressure. Proper maintenance is beneficial to your wallet, too, as under-inflation or over-inflation of just a few psi can greatly reduce the life of your tires and increase the frequency of replacing them.