The brand and style of drive tire you buy for your tractor trailer can make a big impact on the profitability of any Owner Operator or Fleet. Besides fuel, tires are the single biggest operating cost. Drive tires need to last, be fuel efficient and provide traction appropriate to the conditions where you haul. With transcontinental hauling 365 days a year, you may need a drive tire that works in all weather. You don’t have to pay premium dollar to get good quality, reliable, cheap drive tires for line haul trucking. Tires-easy.com specializes in selection and this includes carrying lesser known brands that deliver exceptional value. A cheap drive tire that can deliver 75% of the mileage of a premium brand with comparable levels of traction may be the smart choice for your situation. Here is our top picks for cheap drive tires for long haul trucking.
Cheap Drive Tires with Open or Closed Shoulder Treads
The shoulder of a tire refers to the outer edge of the tread. A tread that has a solid circumferential rib, or mostly solid circumferential rib, is a closed shoulder tire. Like on a steer tire or trailer tire, a closed shoulder is the most effective tread at resisting irregular wear. The performance trade-off is traction on wet roads, snow covered roads and on all-terrain. With an open shoulder tread, the debris has a way to escape from between the treads, as well as more biting edges across the tread for grip on slippery surfaces.If you travel on routes during winter months where you encounter significant snow, slush, or heavy rains, you should consider an open shoulder tread design. The blocks on the edge of the tire will provide much more traction than a solid rib. A good example of an open shoulder cheap drive tire is the Goodride CM986 tire shown on the left. This is one of our favorite drive tires because it gives plenty of grip on snow, as well as traction in muddy lots or on gravel roads, at a great price. The Goodride CM986, and other open shoulder tread patterns are common on logging trucks and tanker trucks running mostly on gravel, but also for long-haul trucking operations that traverse the passes of the Rockies, or in the winter storms of the Northeast. Closed shoulder drive tires are the right choice for most long haul applications where winter weather traction is rarely needed or easily avoided. The Americus Tire brand has a long lasting and fuel efficient drive tire called the Americus MS4000 tire. The closed shoulder and special rubber compound ensures long mileage, while the center of the tread has interlocking blocks to provide sufficient grip when needed in adverse weather and dirt lots.
Feedback from commercial drivers about Americus Commercial Truck Tires is very positive. The tires balance easily, and provide good grip and a smooth ride. For the money paid, the mileage is excellent. Even fleet drivers and owner operators that have switched to these cheap drive tires from more premium branded tires have not noticed any difference in overall performance. You can easily expect 75% of the mileage of tires that are twice as expensive, without a noticeable difference in fuel economy or overall traction and grip on dry or wet highways.
The Importance of Air Pressure!
No matter what type of drive tire you run, it is extremely important to maintain the correct tire pressure. The best run fleets and most cost-conscious drivers know the importance of checking every tire on every trip. The few minutes it takes to check each tire with a tire pressure gauge (including the inside duel tire!) will eventually save you a blowout, and hundreds of dollars. 97 percent of truck tire failures and breakdowns are caused by tire under-inflation, so check those tires before every trip!
Regular pressure checks will also save you money at the pumps. According to Continental Tire, “Every truck tire that drops 10 psi costs you $44 in fuel, $9 in tire wear and $35 in downtime.” Because of this, more and more trucks are coming equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems and even inflation systems driven off the air brakes. A study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration showed that a TPMS system on trucks can improve fuel economy by 1.4 percent.