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When your fleet gets new tires for your tractor trailers, the first act of mounting and balancing those tires to your wheel-end greatly impacts the life of those tires.  Should the tires be mounted incorrectly, it can cause significant irregular tire wear and decreased fuel economy over the life of those tires.  And if your fleet doesn’t balance your wheel-ends, or relies on weights to balance the life of the tire, you may be exacerbating the problem.

Misalignment of your truck can cause the same damaging effects to your tire wear as improper mounting.  With increased friction on the tires and excessive steering correction, tires can see premature wear across the entire tread.  So how does a fleet take proactive steps to reduce irregular tire wear caused by misalignment or improper tire mounting?

Why Mounting Is Important for Tire Wear

So what is the effect of mounting on tire wear? Essentially, mounting is your opportunity to make sure the wheels are properly attached to the vehicle to ensure accurate contact, allowing a safe connection and a smooth drive down the road. Tractor-trailer wheel mounting and tire wear go hand in hand. By mounting the tire and wheel so that it’s properly centered, you increase your chances of experiencing more even tire wear. But how do you know if you’ve mounted your tires to create a well-matched surface?

Common Mounting Mistakes That Affect Irregular Tire Wear for Fleets

“A properly mounted tire is when the bead is seating concentrically on the rim.  If the bead is not seated concentrically on the rim, this will cause a mismount and imbalance,” says Bob Bortner, Territory Manager and resident alignment expert for IMI.  “This is what will lead to handling complaints, most notably recognized as a vibration or shimmy.”

With importance placed on increased productivity and decreased downtime, it’s only natural that mistakes can occur in a rush to mount wheel-ends. So, what are some common tire mounting mistakes that can happen during commercial truck wheel mounting and balancing? Here are three of the most common issues that occur, according to Modern Tire Dealer:

  1. Too much or too little lubricant: The wheel, tire, and axle assembly is a machine, and all machines need lubricant if they are to work properly. Using too much lubrication or the wrong lubrication can mean premature failure of the wheel as well as corrosion and other issues.
  2. Incorrect bead breaker insertion: Another common error involves the way people insert the bead breaker. Inserting it too far away could damage the sidewall plies, and improper insertion could damage the entire wheel. In a related vein, if you try holding the bead in the drop center with a hand-held bar, you’re asking for trouble. If that bar slips, you’ll tear the tire bead and ruin the tire. You could also damage the rim or injure yourself.
  3. Outside coning: What kind of balancing errors do technicians encounter when trying to mount and balance truck wheels? One common mistake is outside coning. This issue can result in wobbling and run-out, so it’s much better to put a cone on the back of the assembly, apply the plate, and center it on the lug holes.

When mounting and balancing tires, it’s important to have a trained professional with the right equipment on the job to make sure every truck in the fleet is in proper balance. You won’t have to deal with any of these common tire mounting mistakes if you trust experts.

Issues with Alignment and Tire Wear

Outside of simply mounting a tire to a commercial truck’s wheel-end, the alignment of the vehicle can play a significant role in a fleet’s tire wear pattern.  By having misaligned truck tires, the truck may be prone to pulling in one direction or another; the handling of the vehicle can be negatively impacted; or the tires may experience increased vibration due to excessive shoulder wear on the tires or tire cupping.  Each of these issues dramatically impacts a tire’s wear pattern, increasing rolling resistance and decreasing fuel efficiency.

You can do a quick check for misalignment in your tires by performing a fingertip diagnostics test, seen here.  Issues with drive train misalignment, defective suspension and steering components, or worn or loose u-joints or shaft components will cause excessive vibration and increased irregular tire wear, which can be detected performing a diagnostics test.

Interested in understanding more about irregular tire wear and its causes?  Reach out to one of our knowledgeable representatives today.

Contact IMI for Wheel and Tire Preserving Solutions Now

Do you have proper alignment and tires mounted correctly, but still seeing irregular tire wear?  It could be due to excessive vibration from unbalanced wheel-ends!  When it comes to tire wear and fuel preserving solutions, look to IMI. Our internal, adaptive balancing solution IMI FLEXX can reduce that vibration, improve your fuel economy, and extend the life of your tires. For more information on our fuel efficiency solutions, contact IMI today.