Please enjoy this guest blog post from our friends over at TrackYourTruck.com!
Tire leaks and blowouts happen, and there’s plenty to be concerned about when they do — safety, efficiency and future maintenance, for starters. Whether it’s you or one of your drivers who needs this info, mark it down. Knowing how to change a tire is invaluable on the road. Here are five tips to help.
1. Know Truck Stop Locations
If you blow a tire on the road, chances are you’ll be able to keep driving. But if you need to make a decision as to whether you can keep going or not, knowledge of the location of truck stops is a good thing to have. Typically, you can find truck stops every 30 to 60 miles on highways in the continental U.S., but don’t be afraid to do some research ahead of time.
2. Notify Dispatch
If you blow a tire, you’re either going to be replacing it yourself or stopping for service, so you’d better notify dispatch. Let them know of the problem, how you plan to fix it, and what kind of effect that has on your schedule.
3. Keep the Right Tools
An incorrectly mounted tire can cause more blowouts, which are dangerous, so make sure you have the proper tools on hand. For example, you should keep a tire changer in the event of a blown tire. A tire changer will allow you to break the bead seal on a ruined truck tire without having to lift the rig, and is typically the tool used at a truck service center to replace blown tires. If you’re stuck on the road and can’t keep rolling, you’ll need to change the tire. You may want to keep some rust penetrant on hand, just in case there is rust around the bead. It may also help to keep a tire gauge or a portable air tank, if the tire is not blown and only needs air.
4. Replacement Tires
When you’re replacing blown tires, be sure to use the exact same kind of tire. Consistency in PSI and tire size all help to minimize the risk of a future blowout. You should also have a professional balance your tires, to ensure even wear and further prevent a future accident. If you can’t professionally balance your tires, you should change all of the tires on an axle that had the original tire. Changing only some of your tires can lead to inconsistencies in size and wear, leading to blowouts.
5. Preventative Maintenance
Just as you check all the working parts in the engine and in the cab, you should check your tires on a regular basis. Keeping up on basic maintenance to your tires and the rest of your rig can prevent future blowouts, and ignoring a tire that needs maintenance (even if it’s just a slow leak) can lead to an issue that may leave you stranded.
These tips should complement this all-important advice: be safe. Get to the safest place possible if you need to change a tire, and remember that improperly mounted tires can blow out and put everyone nearby in danger. With these tips, you should be able to quickly fix your flat and be back on the road in no time.
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leading provider of vehicle GPS tracking systems and software for small and midsized companies.