Scaling Cleaner Freight Movement

Wide-Base Tires

There is a higher adoption of tire pressure systems by fleets that use wide-base tires.

Wide-base tires intended for the over-the-road line-haul market will save significant amounts of fuel when compared to tires that are not designed for low rolling resistance. Wide-base tires generally display lower rolling resistance when compared to equivalent dual tires.

The benefits of wide-base tires compared to duals include up to a 1% reduction in overall vehicle weight, an equivalent upfront purchase price, and the potential for reduced maintenance.

Benefits

Reduced Fuel Consumption

  • Lower rolling resistance leads to less fuel consumption.
  • There is a large range of rolling resistance in commercially available tires today, so the fuel efficiency will vary widely.
  • Because of improvements to LRR duals, the benefit of wide-base tires over duals is only 1% to 2%.

Weight Reduction
Savings can range from 627 to 1,284 lbs.

Initial Purchase Price
There is a negligible price differential between wide-base and dual tires when spec’d with new equipment.

Reduced Maintenance
No need to match tires as in a dual setup, and fewer tires to service reduces time to check pressure and tire condition.

Challenges

Irregular/Premature Tread Wear

  • Anecdotal evidence that suggests some wide-base tires are less tolerant of certain maintenance shortcomings, such as bearing adjustment and inflation pressure.
  • Tire wear concerns can be more a matter of perception than reality.

Availability

  • Product availability was a concern in the early days of wide-base tires.
  • Non-users of wide-base tires still cite this as a concern; but more than 90% of tire dealers now stock at least the more popular models of wide-base tires.

Increased Cost of On-road Breakdown

  • Labor and service charges connected to a tire failure road call are roughly the same for wide-base or dual tires, so the increased cost of on-road breakdown is more connected to the increased likelihood of wheel damage.
  • If a wide-base tire is operated underinflated or flat, wheel damage may be more likely, as there is no companion tire to hold the wheel off the pavement.

Residual/Resale Value

  • In some regions wide-base tires are seen as a negative during trade-in.
  • Several truck dealerships that the study team spoke with indicated that they preferred trade-ins to have dual tires as they seemed to sell better.
  • Used truck dealers with both duals and wide-base tires find the duals are preferred and often replace wide-base singles with duals to make the trucks more marketable.

Ability to Retread

  • In the past, wide-base tires have been limited to one retread. However, improvements in casing and the retreading process are allowing additional retreads.
  • The brand of tire to seems to be a significant factor in the ability to retread it.

Driver Acceptance
There are perceived concerns over traction and stability.

To learn more, download the Low Rolling Resistance Tires Confidence Report.

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