Knowing your truck is essential to a truck driver and with tires being the only contact with the road surface it is vitally important that you care for them and give them regular checkups.
Some sound advice from us would be to check them before every journey.
If your trip seems a little rough, pull into a safe place as early as possible and have a quick look around.
The following should ease your mind and answer all your questions.
Here’s a quick answer to How Old can Semi Truck Tires be:
Semi truck tires are considered old when it’s worn out with bad treads and tread depth or has surpassed its expiry date. The expiry time for semi truck tires is generally three to six years and varies with manufacturer. The DOT date code is the birth date of the tire and is marked on the tire wall.
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Keeping a record of your tires by way of monitoring their age is a fairly simple process and will help save you money on fuel and repairs.
This is a guideline and if proper care for your tires is not being carried out they could expire much earlier.
How old can Semi Truck tires be and can they Expire?
Believe it or not, tires do have expiry dates marked.
On each tire, you will find the start date, meaning the day the tire was manufactured at the plant and not when you purchased or installed the tire.
The expiry time is generally between 3 to 6 years from its birth date.
This code can appear raised and be entered into a computer along with your contact details and your dealer and tire information.
It is recommended to replace tires in sets rather than just the one as the uneven treads can cause a rough ride (but this is obviously to your discretion and Not the law).
With semi-truck tires coming in at around $300 – $500 each, this could put a dent in your piggy bank.
This is not to say that your finances are more important than your and other’s lives but as you’ve made it this far we’re pretty sure you know what you are doing.
Whether you purchase a used truck or used/reconditioned tires be sure to check the DOT date codes on each tire as this could save you money in the long run.
If you are unsure of any of the above don’t be afraid to take someone with you who knows their stuff.
How to know if your Semi Truck Tire is Expired?
The DOT date code on the wall of your tire stands for (Department of Transportation) – this is how you and the government can track each tires manufactured date.
The last four digits of the code will give you the week of the year and the year it was manufactured, for example, 2700 (27) would be the 27th week out of the 52 week year, and (00) would be the year 2000.
Remember this is the date the tire was made and not the date of expiry you will find some articles online about tires that were manufactured before the millennium but this would not apply today considering their lifespan.
It is safe to say a tire will expire from old age way before it wears out which may sound unfair but it really is all in the name of safety.
Why do Semi Truck Tires Expire and how Does it Affect its Performance?
Unbelievably Semi Truck Tires expire mainly due to Oxygen and when the rubber rapidly ages as it is exposed to a combination of the elements (heat and oxygen).
The rubber components in the tire begin to harden and eventually break down causing the tire to become unstable and therefore dangerous.
Combined with the wear and tear of the roads and heavy hauling trucks have to endure it’s a wonder that they last as long as they do.
A tire that has been sitting on a shelf and never been used would still be exposed to the elements and as a result, will still break down its components leaving the unsuspecting consumer with a shorter tire lifespan.
Some sound advice when buying an off-the-shelf tire would be to check the date and don’t be scared to ask for the latest tire they have in after all this is your life we’re talking about and the safety of others around you.
When a tire tread separates, it then becomes even more exposed to the elements and will deteriorate a lot faster.
This could happen from the inner wall of the tire and go unnoticed for some time.
Performance would be affected as little as burning unnecessary fuel but can quickly become much more server with a lack of control over the steering, or worse a blowout.
The stats on truck tire blowouts are astronomical and quite scary at around 11,000 accidents a year in America resulting in 200 deaths.
I hope that this alarming stat should be enough to make you check and recheck those tire dates along with any other issues your tires may have.
Can you Drive your Semi Truck with Expired Tires?
It is not advisable and highly frowned upon with tires becoming dangerous due to cracking, deforming, or even exploding
Even if the law stated you could use them past expiration dates which it doesn’t, you have a moral obligation as a driver who’s practically living more on the road than in a dwelling, to use your own integrity.
The honest and moral way to look at a question of this magnitude is to ask yourself; how you would feel driving along the interstate with your family next to a semi-truck with expired tires that just exploded?
Now imagine that you are that truck driver and you knew your tires were expired but ignored it and are now losing control of your truck due to a blowout next to an innocent family in the car next to you.
You may find better advice on the internet but nothing will compare to you using your own common sense, not even the great advice I give here.
The bottom line is whether you can or you can’t drive on expired tires is ultimately up to you and only you can make that call.
It really just isn’t worth ignoring safety, so get your tires changed and checked regularly to keep everyone safe.
Which Semi Truck Tires have a Longest Shelf Life?
The subject of the longer shelf life is rather controversial as it really does depend on the components of the tire to how long shelf life would be and of course where it has been stored.
Let’s take two tires or materials, one of high quality and the other of low quality for argument’s sake, and place one in Alaska in storage and the other in storage in Florida.
They could both degrade at the same pace.
Now let’s do the same with two tires of the same material same birth date and the same brand and you may find they could degrade at different rates.
So without taking 6 to 10 years out of your life to find this out it is our suggestion that you ask around, as many people have different opinions on which tires last the longest.
Ask 50 or 100 truckers and take the highest percentage as the answer. There are online top ranking tires but you will find that these refer to tires to tarmac and not actually sitting on a shelf.
So to give you the most accurate answer we would have to get scientific, which rubber degrades the slowest in hot and cold environments.
Measurement of the molecular weight of synthetic rubber (tires) has shown a lower value of degrading strains, which means the tire’s exposure to bacteria from its natural environment plays a huge role in its deterioration over time.
Graphene may be the answer and manufacturers may one day look to this material to produce tires with a possible infinite shelf life, of course when it becomes much much cheaper.
How Long do Semi Truck Tires Last when Used?
The life of your tire really does depend on how well you look after it if you take care of them and stick to good safe driving.
There is no reason why they couldn’t last you up to 150,000 miles on your steering tires.
Drive tires can last twice that distance but again depends on the quality of care they’ve been given.
Trailer tires last around 10,000 to 15,000 miles range mainly down to the weight they endure but that also depends again on the care.
General care of a tire for safety and getting more miles to the gallon include correct air pressure, check regularly for any cracks or bubbles which occur when clipping curbs.
Also, check the truck and trailer for level inconsistency. If they lean it may be from an underinflated tire which may have suffered a slow puncture.
How do you Measure Wear on Semi-Truck Tires?
The minimum tread depth in some states is 4/32 inch and others are 2/32 inch, so probably best to stick to the 4/32 inch or more.
A quick penny check can help you tell if they’re too low…
In the United States tire tread is measured in 32nds of an inch a new tire would typically start out at 10/32 or 11/32 tread depths.
Place the penny with Lincoln’s face upside down between the treads. If you can not see his full face then it is recommended that the tire has insufficient depth.
Be sure to test this across three quarters from the center of each tire or invest in a depth gauge a measuring device for tires.
If the wear is uneven it is probably a good idea to visit a tire shop and/or mechanic to have it checked out as this could be a sign of a more serious and costly issue.
When Should Semi-Truck Tires be Replaced?
Replacing a truck tire is simple enough when you know what to look for.
They should be replaced when damaged or when they reach their DOT dates or are worn from the excess mileage they take on.
Find a reputable or recommended tire shop and make an appointment.
Which Semi-Truck Tires Last the Longest?
In no particular order, here are our Top Nine Longest lasting Semi-Truck tires:
- Yokohama Commercial Tires.
- Goodyear Commercial Tires.
- Continental Truck Tires.
- Pirelli Commercial.
- Cooper Roadmaster Tires.
- Bridgestone Commercial Tires.
- Michelin Commercial.
- BFGoodrich Truck Tires.
- Hankook Truck Tires.
Now any of these tires can outlast each other with the right care so take care of your truck and your truck will take care of you.