Get intimate with your tires

How much do you really know about the tires running on your trucks? What are the tires telling you about your operation?

By getting “intimate” with your truck tires, you get valuable information that will help you maximize this important asset.

Normally, you do not see words like “truck tires” and “intimate” in the same sentence. With the cost of tires on the rise, it is more important than ever to know everything you can about your tires.

The Specifics

Air pressure: Proper air pressure for a truck’s load is critical. Therefore, you have to know how much weight a truck is carrying on each axle/tire.

Using load and inflation tables, like one that can be on found on Continental Tire’s website,, you can find the optimized air pressure for your typical weight load.

Note that your steer axle and drive/trailer axles carry very different weight loads, so the optimum pressure could be different for each.

It should also be noted that thumping tires cannot tell you whether your tires are inflated properly. Only a calibrated air gauge can do this important task.

Tire wear: Getting intimate also means knowing how your tires are wearing. To find out, rub your open hand over the tread in several directions.

Do you feel any edges? Does it feel smooth? It not, there are forces acting on your tires that are causing it to wear incorrectly. These forces can include alignment issues, incorrect air pressure or mechanical problems.

Not only are these forces robbing you of expensive rubber in the wear of the tire, they are also costing you fuel.

Fuel efficiency: Are you using fuel efficient tires?

The concept of total wear-out mileage is easy to compute: off mileage minus on mileage gives you total miles driven. However, this is only a fraction of the real story.

Fuel efficient tires will save your operation much more than using non-fuel efficient tires that might get a few more miles of wear-out.

Check out the ContiCostCalculator found on our website. Plug in the tires you are running today versus the fuel efficient products available to get an idea as of the savings you can expect. At Continental Tire, we tell our fleet partners that fuel trumps mileage day in and day out.

Performance Indicators

How does Continental Tire get intimate with tires? It is all about finding ways to help fleets and end users lower their overall driving costs by finding the right tire solutions.

With that in mind, Continental created the ContiTrack 2 program. This program, which uses Bluetooth-linked electronics and integrated software, involves measuring tread depth, wear characteristics and air pressure, putting all of this into a management system database and giving a fleet real data that includes key performance indicators such as:

Projected mileage and costs per mile.

Dollar loss calculations due to improper air inflation and improper tire matching.

Dollar value of tires in the fleet today based on tread depths and tire types.

Forecast projections of upcoming tire needs based on fleet tire pull points.

Stoplight reporting of conditions that require immediate action by the fleet.

By becoming more intimate with your fleet’s tires – one of the top operational expenses, you will be better able to get the most life out of them.

Clif Armstrong serves as director of marketing for the Commercial Vehicle Tire The Americas division of Continental Tire the Americas (CTA). With the company since 1993, he has 28 years of tire industry experience. CTA develops and manufactures tires for the automotive industry, as well as pneumatic, solid and multi-purpose industrial tires. Formerly known as Continental Tire North America, the Fort Mill, SC-based company serves original equipment and replacement tire markets. A number of its truck tires have been certified by the U.S. EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership as verified fuel-savings technologies. CTA is the North American subsidiary of German-based tire and component manufacturer Continental AG, which makes rubber products and tires for cars, light and heavy duty trucks, motorhomes, commercial vehicles, SUVs and industrial vehicles. Tire brand names include Continental, General, AmeriSteel, Uniroyal, Semperit and Barum.