Because every truck driver wants to be as comfortable as they can be when driving a truck, one of the top complaints truck drivers have is that they want their ride to be smoother. This can be done by checking the balance of the tires, as well as checking the tire/wheel assembly run-out, which really should be done on a regular basis. It’s essential to understand that just because commercial tires began to show some regular wear and tear, doesn’t necessarily mean that the tires need to be replaced. Instead, it could be a matter of making sure that the tire and wheel assembly are completely balanced.
When it comes to correctly balancing the tire and wheel assembly, there are two external ways that this can be done – statically or dynamically. When the assembly is statically unbalanced, it means that the rotating tire requires some wheel weights to be added to the tire in order to put it back in its correct balance and remove the ‘bounce’. When the assembly is dynamically unbalanced, it means that the rotating tire is going to ‘wobble’, which also requires adjusting in order to restore the correct balance.
A third alternative requires inserting a special material into the tire that will help to lessen the impact of the vibrations felt when driving on the road. A fourth choice includes using balance rings that also contain special materials that are specifically made to help reduce any hard impacts that can lead to the tire becoming out of balance.
When it comes to checking the run-out, there are two different types – radial and lateral. Radial run-out refers to the tires ability to go up and go down while the truck is on the road, which can lead to irregular wear due to the fact that the wheel is not rolling completely ’round’ as it should be. Lateral run-out is a term that’s used when the tire is wobbling, which is one of the top reasons for a driver experiencing rough vibrations.
Checking the run-out on a trucks tire within 10 to 15 minutes of the truck being parked is suggested in order to get the best results. Using a tire gauge to check both the radial and the lateral run-out should then be done. The results will then need to be checked against the run-out limits.
If the radial run-out exceeds the limits set for that particular tire, then the tire will need to be deflated, the beats unseated, the rim lubricated and the tire rotated 180° before reinflating the tire and checking the run-out numbers again. If the lateral run-out exceeds the limits, the wheel needs to be removed so that the mating surfaces can be cleaned. Once this is done, the wheel can be reinstalled and the numbers checked again.
Regularly checking the balance and run-out on truck tires will help keep everything running smoothly, ensuring that truck drivers are comfortable when driving.