What are the top signs that it’s time to replace your tires?
- Treads have lost their depth
- Apparent weathering on the tires
- The appearance of bulges or blisters
- Unusual vibration when driving
There are many dangers that come with driving a truck that has bald or worn-out tires, They don’t just affect the drivers and operators of your commercial trucks, but everyone else on the road. Some examples of this are the increased risk of suffering a blowout and hydroplaning or the act of a vehicle sliding uncontrollably off the road. These are events that may result in serious and deadly accidents. Despite knowing this, however, tires remain to be a good contender for most ignored truck part in the Philippines.
On average, the tires of a commercial truck can last somewhere between six to ten years, but their life can either be shortened or extended depending on use. Driving habits such as running into curbs, exceeding the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), and constantly stepping on the brakes can cause your tires to wear out much quicker. On the other hand, proper vehicle handling and maintenance will allow your tires to last for as long as ten years – the maximum allowable time period a set of tires can be safely used.
Manufacturers recommend that drivers replace their tires after ten years, regardless of condition. Now, this is where the problem arises: There are those who refuse to replace their tires until it hits the ten-year marks, regardless of condition. This is a huge safety hazard. If you don’t want to get involved in any accidents, then we suggest that you swap out your tires for new ones the moment that you notice the following signs:
Treads Have Lost Their Depth
When we speak of tire treads, we refer to the part of the tire that actually makes contact with the road and not the spaces in between. Treads provide traction and keep your truck on the road. The lack of them can cause you to hydroplane (as mentioned above), especially during wet and rainy seasons.
For safety reasons, treads should never fall below 1/16th of an inch or approximately 1.6 millimeters. You can measure this using a regular ruler or any other measuring tool or you can resort to the popular penny test – which, in our case, is a peso test. The only thing you have to do is take a 1-peso coin and place it head-first into the spaces between the treads. If the entire face is visible, then it’s time to get some replacement tires.
Another way to know whether or not your treads are still deep enough is through the wear indicator bar. Every tire has a wear indicator bar that isn’t visible when it’s new and unused. As they grow old and experience wear, however, these bars start to become visible, signaling that a replacement is due.
Apparent Weathering on the Tires
Tires are mostly made from rubber, which is a material that naturally breaks down over time. However, this natural breakdown is accelerated if the tire is continuously exposed to elements such as heat and water. This process of rubber breaking down due to exposure is aptly called weathering and is another sign that you need a replacement.
There are many weathering indicators, but the most popular one is the existence of fine and huge cracks along the sides of your tires, otherwise called the sidewall. It’s also possible for these cracks to find their way in between the tread blocks or the actual surface of your tire.
Even though your tires could still function, the danger is that the internal materials of the tire will be exposed to harmful elements. Water and other contaminants can travel through the cracks and cause damage not only onto the wheel mechanism of your commercial truck but to other parts of the vehicle as well.
The Appearance of Bulges or Blisters
More often than not, a tire blow-out can be caused by bulges or blisters; of which are caused by many different things. The most common one is the weakening of the outer layer of your tires. Another is a substantial impact on road hazards such as potholes and curbs. Although less common, it could also be caused by a manufacturer defect.
In essence, a tire bulge or blister signifies that there is air in between the inner and outer layer of your tire. This results in an air pocket that becomes visible in an area where the outer layer is weakest. Bulges and blisters are incredibly dangerous because they can cause your tires to rupture in the middle of the road, which can lead to a serious injury or even a fatal accident.
Luckily, they’re very easy to detect. You don’t have to perform any special tests or inspections because you can see them with your own eyes. The only thing you have to do once you take notice of them is to keep your commercial truck off of the road before you have your tires replaced.
Unusual Vibrations When Driving
When you’re driving a commercial truck, you’re bound to experience a certain amount of vibration especially when going through unpaved roads – something that’s common in the Philippines. As such, you should be able to determine when the vibrations become excessive and unnatural.
There are many possible causes for unusual vibration but a common one is a tire problem. Your tires may be unbalanced or the belts and inner cords have become separated or shifted. These problems are mostly internal and cannot be seen with the naked eye, unlike the other signs. The only way to really determine the problem is to have your tire checked or tested by an expert mechanic.
Once confirmed that the tire is the problem, immediately have it replaced before it damages your vehicle any further. You have to keep in mind, though, that even if the tires aren’t the problem, you still need to have your vehicle checked and repaired if it starts to vibrate excessively while on the road.
It’s time to start changing our ways and give our truck tires the proper care they need and deserve. They should go from being the most ignored truck part in the Philippines to the most prioritized one. You need to start paying more attention to your commercial truck tires because they’re responsible for keeping you on the road.
The moment you notice the signs written in this article means you it’s time to have them replaced. It may cost you quite a bit right now, but trust us when we say that you risk spending a fortune if you continue driving with worn-out tires!