How to ensure your tires pass roadside DOT inspection

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If you missed CCJ's AMA with CVSA Inspection Specialist Jeremy Disbrow, click below to receive a recorded version. We received almost 300 questions and this 60 minutes could be a powerful tool in getting and keeping your trucks compliant. 

CCJ, in partnership with Bestpass, hosted an one-hour webinar Wednesday, featuring Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA) Roadside Inspection Specialist Jeremy Disbrow. Much of Disbrow's 25 years of experience is focused on commercial motor vehicle safety, enforcement, outreach and training, and over the course of Wednesday's 60 minute webinar Disbrow fielded nearly 300 questions submitted by members of the trucking community, providing an instructional how-to on passing a commercial vehicle roadside inspection. 

If you missed the webinar but still want the information, you can click here to sign up and have a recording of the event sent to you.

CVSA's North American Roadcheck inspection spree is May 14-16. The focus of this year's campaign are tractor protection controls in the air system and alcohol and controlled substance possession, but inspectors will also be on the top lookout of common violations like brake and tire wear issues, and hours of service, among many others and history suggests that tire issues will park plenty of rigs. 

"The most common is obvious, probably, but it's tread depth," Disbrow said. "So, on the steer axle, it has to be at least four-thirty-seconds. That's the minimum. And on all other axles, it has to be at least two-thirty-seconds, and that's where we tend to find most of the violations. I'll tell you from an enforcement standpoint, when I was a Trooper, I spent half the summer dragging tire tread out of the road because recaps start coming off and peeling off. So that's another one that we see a lot, is that tread peeling off on a retread. And quite frankly, it's not fun for a Trooper having to play leapfrog in the road to get it, and it causes a lot of damage and a lot of collisions, that's for sure. So keep an eye on those, but that's really the big ones that I see with tires."

How to pass a roadside inspection: CVSA answers your Roadcheck 2024 questions

When do tires become out-of-service for rock drilling?

That's not an out-of-service violation. So the only debris, or rocks, or anything that would cause it to be put out-of-service are if they're wedged in between a set of duals. So if you have a rock that's wedged in between the dual set, that is an out-of-service defect; it has been for quite a few years. But just rocks that are jammed down into the tread, that is not... in fact, I'll take it a step further, even if you have a nail jammed down into the tread, as long as it's not leaking air, it's not a violation or an out-of-service violation. So that's a new one to me. But I can tell you it's not out-of-service, based on what you just described (rocks in the tread that do not cause a leak). 

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What feedback have you had on the new tire inspection guidelines regarding automatic tire inflation systems?

I don't really have any feedback to report, but I can tell you that the out-of-service criteria supports the use of automatic tire inflation systems, or what we refer to as ATIS. So if there's an audible air leak in a tire and it doesn't have ATIS, it's automatically going to be placed out-of-service, because that becomes an imminent hazard and it's likely to cause a collision. So it's in the out-of-service criteria. But for tires that are equipped with ATIS, and that ATIS system can maintain the tire pressure during the inspection, it would only be considered a violation, they wouldn't be placed out-of-service. So while a leak is always going to be a violation, ATIS can make a world of difference between being shut down on the side of the road, versus being able to continue to a nearby shop and get the tire repaired.

Are all CVSA officers trained aware of the new April 2024 out-of-service criteria in regard to tire inflation and air balance systems?

I hope so. We've done a heck of a job trying to get that word out. We've done live webinars, we've done recorded webinars, we've asked every inspector to do it, and every state that I know of has covered that in their in-service training. So the word is definitely out there. I can't guarantee it's reached every single person, but we've done a heck of a job trying to get the word out.

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected].