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.

The Confidence Rating indicates a high confidence in low rolling resistance (LRR) tires, in both dual and wide-base configurations.

Benefits

  • 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.
  • A total cost of ownership calculator is available below.
  • Savings can range from 800 to 1,400 lbs.
  • There is a negligible price differential between wide-base and dual tires when spec’d with new equipment.
  • No need to match tires as in a dual setup, and fewer tires to service reduces time to check pressure and tire condition.

Challenges

  • Anecdotal evidence suggests some wide-base tires are less tolerant of certain maintenance shortcomings.
  • 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.
  • Increased likelihood of wheel damage increases cost of breakdown.
  • Due to the higher level of damage to trailer tires versus tractor tires, this issue is more relevant to trailers.
  • In some regions wide-base tires are seen as a negative during trade in.
  • In the past, wide-base tires have been limited to one retread. However, improvements in casing and the retreading process are allowing additional retreads.
  • There are perceived concerns over traction and stability.

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Common Fleet Strategies

Fleets looking for the lowest rolling resistance tires or seeking benefits from reducing the weight of their vehicle find that wide-base tires can be suitable for their application. Fleets that have switched to wide-base tires usually do so in conjunction with a tire pressure monitoring or tire pressure inflation system to ensure the tires are properly inflated at all times.

Premature tire wear is often the symptom of some other problem on the vehicle whether the tires are standard size or wide base. Simply replacing a prematurely worn tire with a new tire without addressing the underlying problem will result in premature wear of the new tire as well.

In order not to lose the benefit of wide-base tires fleets should:

  • Conduct regular alignment checks
  • Ensure wheels are properly balanced
  • Ensure tires are mounted correctly
  • Keep tires properly inflated

What Others Are Saying

  • A TMC study indicated that wide-base tires outlasted dual tires in most wheel positions.
  • 68% of survey respondents stated they were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with tread life.
  • 66% of respondents said they were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with availability.
  • Only 14.3% of respondents were very satisfied with residual value.
  • 61% of survey respondents indicated their drivers were happy with wide-base tires.

Decision-Making Tools

A Decision Guide summarizes the study findings to assist fleets in making decisions about low rolling resistance and wide-base tires. A Total Cost of Ownership tool calculates life-cycle costs of different tires fleets are considering.