What You Need to Know About Truck Tire Pressure as the Seasons Change

Dec 1, 2020

It is common knowledge that colder temperatures can cause tire pressure to go down – and the result, left unchecked, can be costly. Underinflation of just 10% can shorten the lifespan of tires, lower fuel efficiency and cause uneven tread wear – all of which can result in hundreds of dollars in extra repairs or replacements a year. On the other hand, while some suggest running tires at the high end of PSI to maintain pressure between checks and aid against rolling, overinflation can also lead to complicated issues and other risks.

Maintaining the right tire pressure is even trickier as the seasons change from fall to winter. During the weeks of transition, the thermostat typically fluctuates – some days being unseasonably warm while others colder than usual. That means a tire that has cooled down after running all day may lose pressure if it sits out overnight and temperatures fall to 20ºF. On average, a drop of 10ºF is equal to a loss of two PSI, which could make you think the tire is underinflated when it is not. Once the temperature increases, so will the tire pressure.

That’s why it’s important to not inadvertently overinflate tires early in the day while still keeping an eye on tire pressure as the cold weather approaches. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Different tires have different pressure ranges, so get to know the manufacturer’s instructions, including load and inflation tables for guidance on various minimum and maximum semi-truck tire pressure ranges.
  • There is no wrong or exact tire pressure for steer versus drive tires. Some drivers keep them at the same PSI all around while others have steer tires set 10 to 20 PSI higher than drive tires.
  • The weight your haul and the load your tires are carrying also goes into determining the optimum pressure. Tires should be inflated to accommodate the maximum load size you’ll be transporting.
  • Regular tire rotation ensures longer lifespans. That’s because each position will wear tires in varied patterns. For instance, front semi-truck tires wear more on the shoulders and drive tires wear in the center. Rear tires generally wear more quickly.
  • Correct alignment and balanced tires are also crucial for keeping replacement costs down and should be part of your regular semi-truck tire maintenance program.
  • Inside tires should also be checked to ensure their longevity and avoid unnecessary replacement costs.

All that said, an underinflated tire is considered more severe than one that is overinflated by a few PSI. A tire that is overinflated by 25%, for instance, is not a concern. However, an underinflated tire generates excess internal heat with increased sidewall flexing and a longer tire footprint (or more rubber on the road). This will eventually cause tire failure. That’s one of the reasons you should not check the pressure of a hot tire as it may read as overinflated. Once it cools off, it will regain its original pressure. Instead, always check the pressure first thing in the morning, once tires cooled down, and never take air out of a hot tire.

If you do run into problems on the road – whether an overheated engine or any other issue – make sure to download the FYX Driver App for immediate access to FYX service providers. Our innovative FYX platform streamlines communications and monitors service in real time for faster repairs and minimized downtime.

For more information, please contact FYX: 800-888-1001 | sales @fyxfleet.com

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