Semi truck driving with grey skys

A Quick Guide to Semi Truck Tire Pressure

The tires of your truck are extremely important.

Semi trucks are heavy machinery. There’s no doubt about that, and with all of the weight behind you on a loaded trailer, it pays to be careful about how much air is in your tires. Over the years many truckers have found their own ways of checking things out. Thumping the tires is probably the most common. Instead of doing that, however, you should be spending the time to make sure your pressures are just right. Read on and we’ll give you the numbers for semi truck tire pressure that you’ll need to maximize your truck’s efficiency and reduce wear.

Why the Numbers Matter

You’d be surprised at just how small of a variation can have big effects on your tires. Semi trucks have been well studied by logistics experts over the years. After all, they keep large segments of the economy running smoothly. What’s that mean?

It means that there are hard statistics which trump general know-how when it comes to real performance.

For instance, a difference of only 10% between dualies can cause uneven wear on the tires and cause a ton of “fun” for your fleet maintenance crew as time goes on. Big pressure differentials are up there with improper tire alignment as a leading cause of premature tire wear. Underinflation also causes a drop in fuel efficiency; which is quantifiable although relatively small since it runs about 1% for each 10% of underinflation. A trained ear might be able to make sure that the tire pressure on a trailer or the truck itself are all even, but you’re taking a big chance. For the best efficiency and the least amount of wear, it’s important to ensure that you’ve got the exact numbers.

So, What’s the Right Semi Truck Tire Pressure?

Tire pressure changes with temperature. This means that truckers on long hauls through multiple climate zones may need to check their pressures regularly. Most crews actually overinflate tires. It makes sense to do so for the most part. Air can only leak out, not in, and you’ll be able to avoid running into the issues with underinflated tires most of the time. Semi-trucks are complicated. You shouldn’t run the same pressure all the way around.

Steering tires should be run higher than the trailer and drive tires. 110 pounds of pressure is the sweet spot for most semi trucks. But some will need to go about 10 pounds higher. Drive and trailer tires are most often set lower. 75 pounds of pressure is the bare minimum but can be underinflated depending on the load. Instead, consult an L&I chart for your tires compared to the load to make sure you’re in the sweet spot.

Ask an Expert

While there may not be a “perfect” number that we can point you to for your semi truck tire pressure. If you stay within the described ranges you’ll usually be in good shape. If you’re interested in making sure that you have the right load for any given tire, however, then it may be time to talk to an expert. Contact us today with the load you’re carrying and the type of tires you have and let’s see if we can’t work out the perfect pressure to keep your truck’s tires going for longer.

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