Tires are important. Selecting the right tires for your fleet will save you money while delivering superior performance for your vehicle. Understanding your fleet and the driving conditions they’ll encounter is essential when it comes to buying tires. Different routes and jobs pose different challenges, and the right tire will provide you with optimum benefits. As a fleet manager, economy and efficiency are important when it comes to buying tires for your specific requirements. Here's a quick guide to consider before buying commercial tires.
What to look for while Buying Tires
Every tire has a maximum load capacity, specific size, and speed. As a fleet manager, knowing this basic information will help you make the right decision when it comes to purchasing tires.
Application – What is their Purpose?
Before purchasing commercial tires, determine the type of terrain they’ll be driven on. Will your vehicles be driven exclusively off-road or in the city? Each type of road has a different set of challenges and opportunities. Consider tread design, various sidewalls, and rubber compounds for on and off-road terrains.
Truck and Bus Radial (TBR) tires must cope with intense pressure, curb ride up, extremely heavy loads, and the demands of off-road driving. The heat in the Middle East, especially in the desert, are additional challenges tires will face.
Off-road or mud tires are better suited for uneven and gravelly surfaces, while all-season tires work well for street driving. The firm sidewalls and knobby tread pattern on off-road tires improve handling on muddy, rocky surfaces without causing damage.
Sidewalls may be vulnerable as most tires use steel cords in the tread area. All steel tires provide extra protection for sidewall casing and more weight-carrying capacity. Radial steel plies transmit load and braking forces between the wheel and the tire tread. Tires created from all-steel technology can be re-grooved and re-treaded, extending their life. Overall, an all-steel design is more durable and robust. Check the rubber used and whether the tires you’re considering have a thick, anti-aging rubber covering. For fleets based in the Middle East or Africa, puncture resistance is crucial.
Choosing the Best Tread Design
Tread design can be classified into two main types: rib or closed design and lug or traction design.
Generally used on steer and trailer positions, rib design consists of zigzag or straight grooves. Tires with rib design are optimal for wet surfaces and for delivery and pickup application that involves a significant amount of maneuvring and turning. The rolling resistance of these tires is low which provides better fuel efficiency and are ideal for linehaul or trailer service operations.
Log or traction design comprises blocks and grooves to supplement traction and aggression for the tire. Vocational fleet operations may find these tires beneficial. Traction tread tire patterns offers longer tread life in linehaul application, and they come in wide and open shoulder ribs which are ideal for rainy and snowy surfaces.
TBR tires meet distinct functional requirements. Every wheel on a commercial vehicle has a specific role. Patterns and composition are designed with these needs in mind. Traction and fuel efficiency are two critical considerations and while specific patterns blend both, different tread patterns are suitable for different wheels.
- Steer – Your vehicle’s most critical tires are designed for the highest performance while out in front. They have parallel grooves with a ribbed design and greater cornering ability. With low rolling resistance and noise, they are ideal for greater control and maneuvrability.
- Drive – These tires work hard to grip any and all road surfaces and transfer traction and power to the vehicle. Drive tires usually have a block design and lateral and perpendicular grooves within the tread. Because scrubbing and spinning may occur when power is transmitted through the drive axle, these tires need more tread depth to counter it.
- Trailer – Trailer tires must resist strong braking, lateral forces and different roads conditions. They must be all-rounders and have reinforced sidewalls to protect tires from curb damage. They are designed for flexibility and durability, although trailer tires do have parallel grooves.
- All-Position – These tires perform in every position. When it comes to bigger fleets and larger vehicles, opt for specialized steer and drive tires to improve performance and save money in the long run. All-position tires are frequently used on light trucks and buses, which require less variation demand for each wheel.
Don't Overlook Load Capacity
Commercial vehicles carry a lot of weight, which can cause severe strain on your tires. To offset this, consider your vehicle's load capacity while buying these tires. Search for information concerning load capacity and the maximum performance tires will deliver under differing conditions. Picking the right tires will give you the safe and smooth drive you’re looking for.
Ply Rating & Load Range
TBR tires have a ply rating, also known as load range. The ply rating doesn’t indicate the number of ply layers inside the tire and corresponds to the comparable strength of early bias ply tires. A higher ply rating or load range signifies a higher strength and more load-carrying capabilities. By adding reinforced steel layers to increase the ply rating, manufacturers can offer greater tire strength and capacity without adding extra nylon layers to the tire.
Opt for Re-treading
Opt for a re-tread when tires are showing minor wear and the overall casing is satisfactory. Re-treading options are available for most modern tires and can save you money. Structural integrity can be restored with re-treading; hire a professional to ensure the re-treading is done safely with optimum effectiveness.
Warranties and Protection Against Defects
When buying tires, take time to choose a good coverage which will protect you from imperfections and defects. Most manufacturers provide coverage, but be careful to specifically check for a treadwear warranty. Most manufacturers offer at least three years of warranty and multiple re-treads. Be aware that tires created for off-roading will usually not be covered.
Check for Certifications
Conformation to international quality standards is a must when buying any tire. Along with safety considerations, these quality standards come with legal implications for your fleet. In the case of an accident, the use of non-certified substandard tires can cause serious issues for you as the fleet manager.
Pilot Tyres meets ISO and TS certifications for manufacturing and quality standards at our manufacturing plant, along with legal Middle Eastern standards. The Gulf Standard Organization (GSO) serves as the governing body for uniform grading of tires based on fuel economy and wet grip index. All Pilot Tyres sold in Middle Eastern regions have a GSO certification.