Every experienced commercial vehicle owner knows the importance of checking tire pressure; optimal tire pressure ensures the highest levels of safety and efficiency. What a lot of people don’t take into consideration, however, is how much your load can affect what the proper tire pressure is.
The tire manufacturer actually defines the ideal tire pressure for loads of various sizes. You can find a chart with this information from the manufacturer, online or by consulting a local shop like J & M Trailer Repair that sells commercial truck tires in Ocala, FL. However, these charts may not cover all possible load situations and don’t necessarily take into consideration that some tires may be carrying more of the weight than others.
Some truck owners prefer a less exact approach to calculating the load and tire pressure to help save time, but taking shortcuts can have serious consequences. To obtain an accurate weight for each tire and determine an ideal tire pressure for your load, you’ll want to use a weigh station. If you don’t have a weigh station on site, you can use one along the freeway, at truck stops or even some scrap yards and recycling centers. Below are five steps you can take for calculating the weight of your load and determining the proper pressure level for each of your tires:
- Step 1. Make sure your full load is on the truck, the gas tank is full, your truck equipment is loaded and that you even have a passenger or two to get the most accurate weight reading.
- Step 2. You’re going to want to get three weight measurements. First, drive only your front tires onto the scale and record the weight, then drive all the way on (all four tires) and record the weight, and finally drive so only your back tires are on the scale and record that weight.
- Step 3. Double check your weight measurements by adding the front weight and the back weight. If the sum of the two weights is about equal to the full weight you recorded for your vehicle, then you did it right.
- Step 4. Divide the front weight by two, and then the back weight by two. This number will tell you how much of the load is being carried by each individual tire.
- Step 5. Finally, consult your tire manufacturer’s weight chart. Round the calculated weight for each tire up to the nearest tire pressure and add 10 percent. This is the optimal tire pressure for each individual tire based on the load it’s carrying.
Determining the proper tire pressure based on the load of your commercial vehicle is essential, not only for better gas mileage and longer tire life, but for the safety of your vehicle, the driver and everyone else on the road. To learn more about optimal tire pressures based on load or to purchase commercial truck tires in Ocala, FL, stop in at J & M Trailer Repair today. We’re always happy to help!