Decision Time for Regional Fleets: Reduce Tire Scrubbing or Long Tread Life?

Charles Luther, Northeast Sales Manager and TBR expert for Triangle Tire USA, answers key questions:

How does tire design address the tradeoff between efficiency and durability in tires for regional haul applications that are used on a mix of city streets and highways?

The primary purpose for regional application tires is to reduce the effect of scrubbing and rapid erosion of the tread while being used in inner city pick-up and delivery. The constant twisting and turning in tight spots and damage to curbed sidewalls creates the need to engineer regional application tires that will withstand the abuse of inner-city use.

This demands denser rubber compounds in the tread area and scrub resistant shoulder or sidewall rubber compounds. Even denser rubber compounds are needed in the upper sidewall to resist the damage caused by curb scuff. Also, in many cases, regional application tires are manufactured with a more pliant casing designed to ‘envelope’ a shock caused by littered streets, potholes, or even railroad or streetcar tracks still prevalent in many cities and urban areas.

The use of denser rubber compounds and a more pliant sidewall causes more heat build-up which creates more energy loss. In the end, to ensure that a regional tire stands up to the rigors of inner-city delivery application, there’s an unavoidable increase in fuel consumption. This creates the balancing act between durability and energy savings as it applies to regional application tires.

Hitting the Sweet Spot with the TRS02 and TRD01

The tire Industry is continuously tweaking rubber compounding and casing design parameters to offer fuel savings and durability.
There are several ‘regional application’ rib and drive design tires on the market that have received Smartway approval. These offerings should be considered by an LTL carrier that uses the same vehicles to run highway inter terminal deliveries during the day and then perhaps uses these same vehicles to deliver inner-city through the night.

Triangle Tire USA offers the regional application TRS02 rib design and the TRD01 traction design in a wide variety of sizes and ply ratings for effective performance in these demanding environments.

Is there a mileage point where efficiency is a larger consideration than durability?
Any time a fleet uses the same equipment for over the highway and inner-city use, durability of the tire becomes a major consideration. If the tire chosen does not stand up to the rigors of inner-city use, the fuel savings will not add up to the loss of tires due to durability inefficiencies.  This is why the Triangle TRS02 and TRD01 have become so popular with our customers – these SmartWay-verified products deliver fuel efficiency and do a good job of fighting scrubbing and curb damage.

It is important to check cold inflation pressure as frequently as possible because truck tires lose up to two PSI per month. In addition, truck tires change 1 PSI for every 10 degrees F and every 2,000 feet of altitude change.

The air pressure program must include regular checks with a quality gauge and keeping accurate records on tire wear and vehicle maintenance. If you regularly run your tires on their prescribed loads and keep an eye on vehicle maintenance, you will see a substantial return on your time investment.