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Are Big Rig Trucks More Prone To Tire Blowouts?  
User currently offline2707200X From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 8490 posts, RR: 1
Posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3703 times:

When I drive on the open road in places like the high dessert in California the side of the road is always littered with large tire chunks and I have in several occasions seen large trucks blow tires, last weekend tire debris from a truck in front of my car struck my bumper.

Are truck tires prone to blowouts from the conditions that they operate from or are there just more tires per vehicle and therefore more blowouts? If you are a truck driver, former truck driver or know the subject, I like to know.


"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by." John Masefield Sea-Fever
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3689 times:

Short answer: both. These trucks spend the majority of their lives rolling as that's the only time they make money. Add the fact that there are more tires and blowouts are bound to happen more often than in the family minivan.

User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15727 posts, RR: 26
Reply 2, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3688 times:

Quoting 2707200X (Thread starter):
Are truck tires prone to blowouts from the conditions that they operate from or are there just more tires per vehicle and therefore more blowouts?

I think a lot of the "alligators" that you see on the road aren't complete blowouts but rather losing the cap of a retread tire. Some are complete disintegration, but a lot aren't.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3673 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
I think a lot of the "alligators" that you see on the road aren't complete blowouts but rather losing the cap of a retread tire. Some are complete disintegration, but a lot aren't.

Exactly most of them aren't blowouts at all but since they retread those things they seperate a whole lot.


User currently offlineAR385 From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 6175 posts, RR: 30
Reply 4, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3644 times:
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1. Retreaded tires will not withstand the same punishment as a new tire.
2. A good driver, with well maintained tires and a good eye for checking their pressure once in a while won´t have pieces of rubber littering the asphalt.
3. The above, are a minority.
4. It´s not the problem of the truck or its tires, it´s a matter of delivering the goods on time, with the possibility of actually making a profit. We don´t live in an ideal world though.
5. Retreaded tires, on trucks, in my opinion, should be illegal.

I hope that answers your question.



MGGS
User currently offlinedxing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3607 times:

Well add to the fact that in most cases the tire on the passenger car or minivan stays on the rim so you don't see a lot of baby snakes same as you do the truck tires.

User currently offlineoldeuropean From Germany, joined May 2005, 2085 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3570 times:

Quoting 2707200X (Thread starter):
When I drive on the open road in places like the high dessert in California the side of the road is always littered with large tire chunks and I have in several occasions seen large trucks blow tires, last weekend tire debris from a truck in front of my car struck my bumper.

I also noticed this and I'm very curious why it is so, because you see nothing like this on this side of the pond.

The trucks here also rolling long distances but could it be that the tires here simply are of better quality? (e.g. no retreaded tires)

[Edited 2011-08-12 03:45:05]


Wer nichts weiss muss alles glauben
User currently offlineltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13072 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 3534 times:

Quoting oldeuropean (Reply 6):
The trucks here also rolling long distances but could it be that the tires here simply are of better quality? (e.g. no retreaded tires)

I suspect the use of retread truck tires is a lot less in Europe due to strict laws limiting their use and if used, have to be done to a much higher standard. I would also note that in the USA, trucks can be operated at much higher speeds. Most of Europe limits truck speeds to 90 km/56 mph, so in the USA our higher speeds combined with overall higher air temperatures and too many poor quality retreads, means a higher rate of a loss of them. In the USA, I believe retreads can be used on non-steering wheels.


User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 8, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3522 times:

Multi-tire per axle side vehicles are much more likely to shred a tire or a tread and create 'alligators' than single tire per axle side vehicles.

When one tire of a pair of duals loses air pressure - the other tire keeps the axle supported. The result is the low air pressure tire is pounded and slapped against the pavement until it comes apart.

Yes, the speed does accelerate this process. It can take as little as 1/4 mile for a tire to go from fully inflated and functional to completely shredded when running at 70-75 mph on freeways.

But despite the amount of tread 'alligators' you see on the road, it is really a rare occurrence.

I have friends who run tire replacement companies - who are called out onto the interstates day and night to replace a failed tire - almost always completely destroyed. They do a good business - but compared to the total number of trucks which run a route, only a tiny fraction of a percentage point have tire problems.

I have other friends who drive large trucks short distance and long distance. Most do not lose a tire more than once every two or three years.

Any driver who loses a tire regularly will not be kept on with a profitable trucking company. Independents who lose tires regularly will have higher expenses than their competitors who take care of their tires.


User currently offlineczbbflier From Canada, joined Jul 2006, 973 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3398 times:

Quoting oldeuropean (Reply 6):
The trucks here also rolling long distances but could it be that the tires here simply are of better quality? (e.g. no retreaded tires)

With a few exceptions, you will find the same tires on both sides of the pond.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 7):
In the USA, I believe retreads can be used on non-steering wheels.

Correct- this is the case anywhere where retreads are allowed. If you have a delamination on a steering tire, you lose your steering as the tread slips laterally as you turn the steering wheel. Since the tread has the contact with the ground, the truck (or bus) will go where the tread leads it- often with tragic consequences.

So even though some operators who are running seriously on the margin might be tempted to illegally run with retreads on the front, inspections and fines notwithstanding, there is a considerable amount of self-preservation and self-interest to make sure the steering axles have new tires.

When the treads get to be minimum on the steering tires, they are sent out to be retread and are then rotated to the back.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 7):
Multi-tire per axle side vehicles are much more likely to shred a tire or a tread and create 'alligators' than single tire per axle side vehicles.

When one tire of a pair of duals loses air pressure - the other tire keeps the axle supported. The result is the low air pressure tire is pounded and slapped against the pavement until it comes apart.

Well said, sir.

There is another factor: many trailers are leased or else belong to the company whose freight is inside- they don't belong to the owner/operator of the tractor. To save their own tires as well as reduce the necessity to adjust the brakes on their tractor units (which are harder to get at and mean 6 more adjustments), operators will often brake the entire truck using just the trailer brakes.

Without the brakes at the head of the trailer being used (ie. the tractor brakes), the trailer tires often lock up on moderate-to-hard braking. That's also why you often see dual skid marks a hundred feet out from major intersections where there is a lot of truck traffic.

Consequently, trailer tires are often seriously abused and the owner is not around to make sure they are spec. So long as the tread is of legal depth, there are no cuts longer than an inch no deeper than the chord and with no bulges, they're good to go. (And how often do they get inspected that closely?) Even if a tire is found to be marginally defective, many operators are not prepared to risk their on-time performance (ie. their bottom line) to maintain someone else's tire, so out they go, risking a delamination along the way.

THEN run them 70 mph on hot (rough) pavement with one slightly under-inflated and you see the results scattered all over the place.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 8):
Most do not lose a tire more than once every two or three years.

Even that seems awfully frequent.


User currently offlineGeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3360 times:

Why do so many truck tires fail ? To start with, it's impossible to compare the tires on big trucks, to the tires on a passenger car, for a lot of reasons. The average passenger car is from the 2,000 to 3,500 lb weight range; most have four tires supporting that weight; most mileage on car tires is short distance, start and stop, etc.

By contrast, the average freight truck you see rolling down the highway is right at, or very near maximum gross weight, which is usually 80,000 lbs; most have 18 tires supporting this 40 tons of weight. Most trucks average anywhere from 1,500 to almost 4,000 miles per week.

The following info gives you a very good idea of what happens on each dual wheel ( two tires )

[quote=rfields5421,reply=8]When one tire of a pair of duals loses air pressure - the other tire keeps the axle supported. The result is the low air pressure tire is pounded and slapped against the pavement until it comes apart.

All truck drivers, whether it's an "owner-operator" driving his own equipment, or a driver for a large company ( which may have several thousand trucks on the road every day, ( each with 18 tires ), is supposed to do a "pre-trip" inspection of his whole vehicle each day, before he / she ever turns a wheel. This includes checking every one of those 18 tires to see if it has air in it, or if it's flat. A few drivers are very diligent about this, but many are not; a few may only be aware of a "flat" when they look in the mirror and see smoke. Checking tires is usually accomplished with a tire "billy", ( small handle with a weight on one end ) This only tells you if the tire is "flat" or if it has air in it. I would guess that the number of drivers who actually put a tire gauge on every tire, every day, is from "very damned few, to none"; as can be seen in the above info, it really is important that both tires on a wheel are within about 10 psi of each other.

The single biggest tire "killer" of all, is heat. Many things contribute to heat build up; the ambient temperature, the type of pavement, the amount of air pressure in the tire, the amount of weight each tire is carrying, even the speed of the vehicle is moving, etc., etc. Lots of things !

Retreads..............Very few retreads are used on passenger cars these days; not so on "big trucks"; a few have mentioned that retreads are "bad"; I can tell you this..........For the last 15 years I drove "big trucks" ( out of 40 ), the company I worked for had about 3,500 trucks operating out of about 25 or 30 terminals all over the eastern U.S. Everyone of those trucks had exactly TWO non-retread tires, the two on the steering axle; all the rest were retreads.
Are retreads "good" ? Well, they are "good enough". It depends a whole lot on who does the retreading. If our company had to use all new tires every time a tread wore out, the company would have gone out of business about 50 years ago! This same thing is true pretty much throughout the whole trucking industry, and has been for many years now. Sure, for years retreads did give a lot of trouble, but for the past 30 or so years, retreading has been "standard operating procedure". Modern day retreading, as done by "Bandag" and a few other big outfits are very reliable; we used to get about two retreads on every new tire. Overall, our fleet "failure rate" was about average for the industry, even though our equipment had two different size tires; 11/22 full size on the steering and drive axles, and much smaller "doughnut" tires on the trailer axles. The trailer tires, being much smaller in diameter, must go a lot farther, thus they roll about 1/3 faster, so they "fail" at a somewhat greater rate. Again, many things are involved.......the drivers operating the equipment, the tire people changing and maintaining the tires, the people doing the retreading, the condition of the roads we operated on, ( the whole U.S.), and even the weather.

So..........every time you see another big "alligator" on the road, you can thank all those lazy truck driver who never paid any attention to checking their tires !

Blowouts: blowouts are caused by a failure of the side wall of the tire, 90% of which are the result of hitting big "pot holes", and other "big objects", weakening the sidewall, and sooner or later, the tire "blows out".

Do non-retread steering tires ever "blow out" ? Yes, but fortunately, not very often; ( I had three in 40 years and 2,000,000 miles.)

What happens when a tire is punctured and "goes flat" ? If it's a tube type, it gets "very hot", "very fast";
(which is mainly why no one uses tubes anymore)

What happens when tubeless type go flat ? They get just as hot, but it takes a lot longer, so you get a lot more warning.
Here's one example of what CAN happen;
In the early 80's, I was working for Anchor Motor Freight out of Norwood, Ohio; every week we hauled a load of new Camaros and Firebirds to the east coast, and hauled other G.M. "stuff" ( or imports) back west. We had a driver named "Kush"; very small guy, with a very "bad attitude at all times"; Kush was heading east on the Pa. Turnpike with a load of Camaros and Firebirds, ( eleven units in all ). He had a flat tire on his trailer..........it started smoking, Kush just kept going, a bunch of other drivers were yelling at him to pull over, but he just kept going; after maybe 5 or 10 miles, the tire catches fire ( as they always do ); he finally pulls off, but when tires catch fire, unless you have a fire truck right there, it's usually "too late" ! In Kush's case, he was about 10 miles "too late"; the cars on the back end of the carrier above the trailer tires caught on fire, the fire came forward, and the whole outfit with 11 new Camaros and Firebirds burned up!

The only thing that didn't burn up was Kush and his suit case ! That bit of "gross negligence" cost AMF about $400,000!

So if you ever see smoke in your mirror..........you better pull over, "now" !

Charley



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 11, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3313 times:

Quoting czbbflier (Reply 9):
Even that seems awfully frequent.

That is about once every 100,000 to 300,000 miles.

I don't know about you, but I've never driven a passenger car 100,000 miles in my life without having at least 1 tire problem - in 45+ years of driving.


User currently offlineczbbflier From Canada, joined Jul 2006, 973 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3278 times:

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 11):
I don't know about you, but I've never driven a passenger car 100,000 miles in my life without having at least 1 tire problem - in 45+ years of driving

True... but a "tire problem" and "losing a tire" are different things. Not to be argumentitive.... it's just that for the number of trucks on the roads and the number of tires on each truck, if every truck "lost a tire" once every three years or so the roads would be almost undriveable with all the tire carcasses lying around.

If you meant lost a tire but the driver caught it before it delaminated, that is completely plausible.

 


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29792 posts, RR: 58
Reply 13, posted (3 years 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 3222 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
I think a lot of the "alligators" that you see on the road aren't complete blowouts but rather losing the cap of a retread tire

I think you are right and I think the explaination of the failure modes that lead to "alligator skins" by the side of the road have already been covered.

But retreading is another form of recycling. You are getting 1 to 2 more lives out of that tire. So it is a plus for the enviroment



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlinestealthz From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5686 posts, RR: 44
Reply 14, posted (3 years 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 3172 times:
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Seperated treads are pretty common on Australian highways, we share the American conditions of speed, distance and temperature with an added dimension(or 2)

Quoting Geezer (Reply 10):
By contrast, the average freight truck you see rolling down the highway is right at, or very near maximum gross weight, which is usually 80,000 lbs; most have 18 tires supporting this 40 tons of weight.

Much of Australian long distance freight is carried on "B-Doubles" these are up to 25mtrs(82ft) in length, upto 62.5 tonnes(137,00 pounds) and with up 42 or more tyres.** Despite the most diligent pre trip inspections and quality tyres it is inevitable that there will be failures that go unnoticed by the driver until the tyre fails.

These seperated treads, some times called "road snakes" can be quite a hazard especcially at night as the carbon black nature of tyres seems purpose built to be invisible at night. The night time hazard has prompted at least one proposal to mix particles of retro reflective material into tyre rubber to make these "road snakes" more visable.

Cheers

** These are highway freight haulers not the famous road trains of the Aussie outback!!



If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently offlinejohns624 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 911 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 3149 times:

Michigan steel haulers and gravel haulers are 42 tire doubles with a gross of 80 tons.

Quoting czbbflier (Reply 12):
it's just that for the number of trucks on the roads and the number of tires on each truck, if every truck "lost a tire" once every three years or so the roads would be almost undriveable with all the tire carcasses lying around.

That's what highway maintenance crews are for. You do have them up there, don't you?


User currently offlineczbbflier From Canada, joined Jul 2006, 973 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (3 years 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 3125 times:

Quoting johns624 (Reply 15):
That's what highway maintenance crews are for. You do have them up there, don't you?

lol... sometimes I wonder!  


User currently offlineACDC8 From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 7642 posts, RR: 35
Reply 17, posted (3 years 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 3093 times:

Quoting johns624 (Reply 15):
That's what highway maintenance crews are for. You do have them up there, don't you?

Given the amount of tire pieces (and other debris) on the roadways for weeks on end around here, I'll agree with czbbflier ... sometimes I really wonder.



A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
User currently offlinejohns624 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 911 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3060 times:

Geez, all this time I thought that the big grille guards on Canadian trucks were for deer and moose. Now I find out that it's to deflect disintegrating retreads...  

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