Medium-duty tires log fewer miles than their linehaul counterparts, but they still face some unique challenges
Concrete jungles can be unkind to the tires on a medium-duty truck. Treads are scrubbed away with every stop and turn. Sidewalls are slashed and scuffed with each kiss of the curb. Road debris tears into any rubber it can find.
The right features can mean the difference between a tire that lasts – and one that takes a premature trip to the scrap pile.
A key line of defense on many medium-duty designs is provided by an extra layer of material on the sidewall. As these protective layers begin to wear away, the tires can be rotated to other positions, exposing the untouched layer on the wheel’s other side.
The extra layer of rubber may not include the wear indicators found on bus tire sidewalls, but a quick look will identify when it is disappearing.
But some tire features should be avoided altogether. Greg McDonald, Bridgestone’s engineering manager, national accounts – commercial products, cautions against designs that include the “defense grooves” that promise to reduce shoulder wear. These channels that are cut around the tire’s circumference will tear apart quickly in an urban application.
“They are going to want to have a solid-shoulder tire,” says McDonald, who also recommends products with a limited number of sipes. The tiny cuts may help increase traction in some applications, but they also present natural spots where the rubber can begin to tear.
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