Before you visit your commercial truck tire shop in Ocala, FL, you need to have a general idea of what to seek. Buying winter tires for semi trucks is not the same as buying them for your passenger vehicle, and this is a major investment that needs to work for your drives. If you need winter tires for long-haul trucking, here are five tips to help you make the best choice:
- Know the ratings: Tire ratings indicate the conditions where the tire has the best traction. The Alpine symbol, represented as 3PMSF, passes the minimum requirements to grip on snow. Another symbol is M-S, which indicates that the tire performs well in mud and snow, meaning moderate winter conditions. These ratings also show up on all-season tires, although those will never perform as well as true winter tires. If you are looking at driving through heavy winter conditions, limit your search to winter tires—not all-season tires that might or might not handle winter conditions.
- Understand the pros and cons of studs: Studded tires contain lightweight pins that are embedded into the tread of winter tires. They work like chains by digging into snow and increasing traction. If you expect to work in severe weather conditions, studs offer helpful reassurance, especially on ice. However, states regulate when they can be used, and you risk a ticket if you do not remove them on time. They are also noisy and can damage roads. If you are not sure whether studs will be useful, buy tires that can be studded if needed.
- Stay true to size: Use the same size of winter tire as the OEM. Getting larger or smaller tires will not improve your traction and can cause new problems for alignment and brakes. Stick to recommended sizes for your semi, and avoid being creative—that will likely only cause new problems.
- Buy four at a time: It is often tempting to buy tires in pairs or replace them one at a time to save money, but uneven tread reduces traction and makes it difficult to assess tire condition to know when to replace them. Even if it is expensive, buying tires in fours will save you money on repairs and improve your traction through these rough winter drives.
- Know the right tire pressure: Once you choose your winter tires, monitor the air pressure so you maintain the needed traction. Tires lose 1 psi for every drop of 10 degrees in temperature. The tire pressure recommended for your regular tires is the same for winter tires. Know that number, and top off with air when needed as you travel this winter.
There are many options for winter tires, including performance, studded and studdable versions. A knowledgeable shop that understands semi truck tires can help you find the right option as you face snow, sleet and ice this winter.
J & M Trailer Repair is a commercial truck tire shop in Ocala, FL. Visit us today and see the competitively-priced options we offer for your semi!