It’s Not Easy Being Single - Tire Review Magazine

It’s Not Easy Being Single

I sometimes wonder how our industry ever managed the leap of faith it took to convert from gasoline to diesel engines or from tube-type to tubeless tires.

Having lived through much of the latter example, I remember several key observations.

The performance and cost-savings advantages of tubeless tires were obvious early on, especially to tire and OEM engineers. Still, the conversion went slowly. Granted, some time and convincing took place before these “potential” benefits were fully realized and appreciated.

In our industry, changes in major components are viewed with considerable skepticism until they are field proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In this age of extremely competitive business, where success or failure is often no longer between the good and bad players, but between the better and best, all promising competitive advantages should be explored to improve operating efficiency. Current industry developments in single-wide tire technology might provide a good example.

Consider that dual tires came about more than eight decades ago but only by default. Materials and technology to support growing axle loads with a single tire simply did not exist in the industry at that time. Special deep offset wheels had to be designed for the rear dual fitments. Front steer axles then had to be widened to allow use of a common wheel on those positions.

Interestingly, the new generation of wide singles or super wides would ideally be fitted to zero-offset wheels, and axles would be widened by approximately four inches to allow a wider track, resulting in lower bearing loads, improved handling and stability compared to the setup currently being used. This hasn’t happened to date, since many users aren’t yet comfortable with the option of retrofitting duals disappearing.

Consider, also, that imprecise vehicle alignment and frailties of tire designs in early radials that made them susceptible to irregular wear made the option of tire rotation to different wheel positions attractive as a means to extend take-off mileages. For the most part, we’re beyond that now. Axle-specific tires are widely adopted for most line-haul fleets, and the time, trouble and expense of frequent tire rotations have nearly eliminated this practice in over-the-road service.

Operators with low tire costs tend to purchase high-quality products matched to the fleet’s equipment and service conditions and simply leave them on the wheel end until damage or wearout requires their removal, preferably for retreading.

This begs one more question: What do you do with worn steer tires if the drives and trails are converted to singles? One option would be to cycle them through city service or local delivery trucks. Another would be to sell them to the container chassis industry, where the issues of damage, maintenance challenges and theft will tend to discourage the use of singles for some time. Replacing the tube-type, bias-ply tires in many of these applications would upgrade the reliability, fuel efficiency and safety of this trucking segment.

Another issue with earlier attempts to use wide singles in place of duals was highway pavement loading. Some states had loosely worded, confusing and restrictive regulations that were interpreted inconsistently. Most, if not all, of those issues have now been addressed, and operators need not fear their rigs being shut down when crossing state lines. Also, driver acceptance of the new singles has been almost universally positive. This should be viewed as a positive factor, given the well publicized challenges of driver retention.

One question asked is what happens when a single tire loses inflation pressure and the resulting lack of “limp home” capability? Arguably, this should also be the case with duals, since loss of one tire will likely result in overloading its mate. However, this situation should become less of a concern with the availability of reliable, cost-effective pressure-monitoring devices and real-time communication of inflation issues.

Overall, modern singles should result in many over-the-road operators considering tires as more of a quality asset to be actively managed using life-cycle cost analysis, compared to commodity-purchasing thinking. As with most changes, timing is key.

Be aware that lots of questions about single-wide tires are currently being answered. Gathering high-quality information and regularly updating it are reliable ways to make sure you aren’t left behind.

You May Also Like

Training and Technology Will Lead the Way in OTR Tires

When we look at how OTR tires keep up with innovations in equipment, it’s all about maximizing productivity.

Yokohama-construction-tires-OTR

After two years of probably the strangest logistics we've lived through—and a roller coaster ride of an economy—the OTR tire market is surprisingly robust. The construction industry has slowed down slightly, and there's a lot of talk about a recession, but so far, we haven't seen a lot of publicly or privately funded projects pull back, and quarries and mines are running hard. All that activity is good for the tire industry.

Last-Mile Delivery Tires Set to Outpace Long-Haul Tire Volumes

Prior to the pandemic, the last-mile delivery (LMD) market was booming. So, when COVID-19 hit, and newly-homebound consumers placed even more online orders — retailers like Amazon shortened delivery times to two days, one day, or even same-day services — and the segment exploded. Related Articles – Maxam Tire Completes Core Size Range for Agrixtra

Ford-E-Transit
Global Tire Manufacturer Ralson Enters US TBR Market

Global tire manufacturer Ralson is entering the U.S. commercial tire market with a new medium/heavy truck tire manufacturing facility and a team of veteran American sales and marketing tire professionals. Ralson debuted its products for the US with its American team at the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Related Articles – Hankook Tire Launches

Michelin Releases Agilis HD Z as New Urban and Regional Tire

Michelin North America has released the Michelin Agilis HD Z 19.5 in two sizes to offer fleets with light and medium-duty vehicles durable, long-lasting tires optimized for the stresses of urban and regional environments. The Agilis HD Z 19.5-in. tires will replace the Michelin XZE in two current sizes (225/70R19.5 LRG and 245/70R19.5 LRH) in

Michelin-Agilis-HD-Z-Tire
Yokohama Tire Launches the 716U UWB Regional Drive Tire

Yokohama Tire’s newest commercial tire – the 716U ultra wide-base – is a weight-savings drive tire that carries more profitability for fleets, the company says. It is available now in the US in size 455/55R225. Related Articles – Vredestein Launches New Pinza H/T in US – Goodyear Adds Wrangler HT Tire to Light Truck Lineup

Yokohama-Tire-716U-UWB-Sidewall

Other Posts

Continental Debuts Enthusiast-Driven ExtremeContact Sport 02

From timed autocross laps to drifting on a skid pad and mastering knee-jerk braking and turns on a raceway, dealers, influencers and members of the media were treated to a crash course in performance racing while testing out Continental’s newest UHP summer tire, the ExtremeContact Sport 02. Related Articles – BKT Tires Launches Agrimaxfactor Tire

Conti-extremecontact-02-closeup
BKT Tires Launches Agrimaxfactor Tire For Tractors

BKT has launched the Agrimaxfactor, a new tire series for tractors for transport and soil tillage operations. Related Articles – Continental Tire Launches ExtremeContact Sport02 – BKT Launches EM 933 Super Excavating Tire – Kenda Unveils Vezda Touring 4S, its First ‘Four-Season’ Offering The company says it developed the series in response to the request

BKT_AGRIMAXFACTOR_Field
Michelin’s Enviro System Unveils Tire with 58% Sustainable Materials

Michelin says its subsidiary Scandinavian Enviro Systems is the first tire manufacturer in the world to unveil tires with a high proportion of environmentally sustainable materials that have been approved for use on ordinary road vehicles. These include tires for buses and cars containing recovered carbon black from Enviro, among other materials. Related Articles –

Michelin-Enviro-Tire
Cooper Unveils Largest Tire in its Discoverer Rugged Trek Line

At the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company unveiled the biggest tires yet in its Cooper Discoverer Rugged Trek tire line. Designed for lifted pickup trucks, these all-new, large-sized tires feature signature Cooper Knife-Edge and Mountain Pass customizable sidewall designs and will be available to consumers in early 2023.