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
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" !
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein