Driver Knowledge Tests

How long do truck tyres last?

The average lifespan of a truck tyre depends on what type of trucking and conditions it’s exposed to. A tyre manufacturer won’t give you an expiry date because it depends exactly on the type of driving, the weight of the load, the level of inflation, the weather conditions and more.

Factors that increase tyre wear

  • Maintenance and inflation levels
  • Surface characteristics
  • Types of loads
  • Driving style

All tyres degrade over time due to the rubber perishing. Tyres that are more than 10 years old should be replaced, while tyres that are five to ten years old should be inspected regularly.

Types of truck and typical tyre life

Every trucker will tell you that tyre life varies immensely between manufacturer, type of driving and type of load. The following are loose guidelines – you’ll find drivers that have done much more (700,000km on a set of tyres that were retreaded once during their life is the longest we’ve seen) and drivers who have done much less because they’re hauling heavy loads of gravel out of quarries and down poor-quality roads.

Long haul truck tyres

For trucks that are primarily driven on smooth motorways at fairly constant speeds, tyre life can be exceptional, especially if they are retreaded. A well-cared-for tyre should be good for at least 150,000km before a retread. Retreaded tyres can be good for as much as 600,000km before they should be replaced.

Steering tyres and drive tyres will wear faster than tyres on a trailer, for example. Heavy loads will increase the wear considerably and you may find you need to replace them much sooner.

Things that damage tyres include potholes, sharp objects, extreme temperatures, strong sunlight, poor tyre maintenance and harsh driving.

A line haul curtainsider carrying light loads on motorways will give superior tyre wear

General truck tyres

Tyres on trucks which are driven around the city on delivery runs tend to have a harder life with more impacts from kerbs and potholes, and more braking and turning. Tyre life is usually between 40,000-70,000km.

Local delivery trucks suffer a lot of tyre wear due to more low-speed manoeuvring, more braking and tighter turns

Heavy loads or off-road work

Logging trucks, trucks picking up coarse materials like aggregages and trucks carrying overweight loads like will endure more tyre wear. 80,000km is a good benchmark.

If you spend a lot of time driving on coarse surfaces that can abrade and cut the tyre, expect more tyre wear

Mining truck tyres

Companies are lucky to get six months’ use out of tyres that can cost $80,000 or more due to the coarse surfaces and heavy loads. Retreading is becoming popular in some markets to try to eke a little extra life out of the tyres, but safety considerations are important – you don’t want one of those to blow when the machine it’s supporting is worth $5 million!

The type of mine and the driving the truck will be doing is critical to whether the chosen tyre has better cut resistance, wear resistance or heat resistance. Other factors in the decision include comfort, grip, traction, stability, rolling resistance, suitability for repair or retreading, load capacity and maximum speed.

Large mining trucks have extremely expensive tyres, but they only last a few months

 

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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