Understanding Tire PSI
PSI stands for Pound Per Square Inch. It’s a way of measuring units of pressure or stress being applied to an area or surface per an area of one square inch.
This is the metric of choice for tires as it’s the most accurate way of knowing how inflated a tire is. It’s also easy to check and adjust, so spending a little time understanding PSI is essential for truck drivers.
How to Measure PSI for Semi-Truck Tires
The easiest and most common way truck drivers check the PSI on their tires is using a tire pressure gauge.
Tire pressure gauges come in various shapes and sizes, but the way you use them is always the same. You simply push the end onto the air valve on a tire, as you open the valve the pressure inside the tire will register on the gauge.
The reason for this is because the temperature of the tire can affect the PSI. More specifically because the air inside the tires contracts in colder temperatures and expands when hotter.
For the most accurate results, you should test the pressure at the same time and under the same conditions as regularly as possible.
What Is the Right PSI for Semi-Truck Tires?
This is a commonly asked question, yet there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The right PSI for a truck’s tires depends on a number of factors, such as:
- Size of the tires
- Whether they are ‘steer’ or ‘drive’ tires
- How much weight the truck is carrying
- The brand of tire
- Temperature and weather conditions
To get an accurate answer to what PSI you should have in your tires, you’ll need to know your driver load and the exact size and model of tire you have on your truck.
You can then look up the recommended PSI from your manufacturer’s handbook or look it up online. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, you can also find the max air pressure on the sidewall of your tires.
It’s important to not guess or assume the right tire pressure. The implications and risks of having the wrong PSI can be costly.
What Is Rubber Compound Failure?
Rubber compounding is the formulation of certain chemicals added to rubber to create the material used to make tires.
The exact ingredients vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, generally speaking, commercial truck tires are made from a mix of:
- Natural rubber
- Synthetic rubber
- Filler materials, and
- Some other properties to achieve the desired elasticity and durability
Compound development goes through a number of processes during manufacturing. The end result is a high-performance, durable tire that’s designed to handle everything the road can throw at it.
On occasion, however, you may notice signs of degradation of one or more of your tires. This is often due to compound failure.
This may be due to an error during the manufacturing process, wear and damage accumulated from use, or a combination of the two.
If you’ve ever looked at a blown tire, you may have seen shredded or splintered ends. This often means compounding failed within the tire, causing the rubber to not bind properly.
This often has an effect on the temperature or pressure the rubber is able to sustain. Which results in a blowout under stress levels a perfectly manufactured tire would be able to handle.
Tires are also designed to be run at the specified PSI. If you consistently run your tires at an incorrect PSI, they’re much more likely to wear quicker, often unevenly, and are more prone to failing.
Proper Tire Pressure Maintenance for Semi-Trucks
To make sure you’re running on the correct PSI so your tires stay in good condition as long as possible, here are some basic tire maintenance tips:
Check your PSI regularly
The more often you check the PSI on your tires, the more accurately you’ll know it’s correct. This is also a good way to spot a sudden drop in pressure before heading out on the road and risking a blowout.
Practice safe driving habits
The safer you drive, the longer your tires will last and the more consistent the PSI will be. Sudden braking and driving on bumps at a high rate of speed can all affect the PSI of a tire.
Rotate the tires regularly
It’s good practice to rotate the tires on your truck every according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
As you can see, the right PSI for semi-truck tires varies depending on a number of factors.
Unfortunately, we can’t tell you the correct PSI for your truck tires without knowing more about your truck. Stop by for semi-truck tire service in Acampo, CA the next time you need to take care of your rig.