Why is Maintaining Proper Pressure Important for Fuel Costs?

August 24, 2022

The Rolling Rig

Keep a worry-free truck with these maintenance tips!

Maintaining proper tire pressure is one of the simplest ways to save on fuel costs and comply with emissions regulations. While it may sound minor, semi-truck tire pressure definitely isn’t something you should let slip! Company drivers and owner-operators alike are feeling the heat of rising fuel costs, and a North American Council for Freight Efficiency study found that underinflation of just 10 psi in all four tires increases fuel consumption by as much as 1%—a difference that compounds quickly as you rack up the miles.

Whether you’re adapting to this new landscape or thinking about starting a career as a driver, we’ve covered what you need to know about measuring and maintaining commercial truck tire pressure.

Measuring Semi-Truck Tire Pressure

You can’t get a proper tire pressure reading unless you wait for the tires to cool down after a day of driving. You’ll get the most accurate results after 3 or 4 hours when the tires are cold. We recommend measuring and logging tire pressure before you hit the road in the morning. You’ll also need to make sure that your tires are equipped with metal valve caps, which are designed to keep debris from getting into the stem and possibly causing a leak.

Challenges for Smaller Fleets

How can you be sure that commercial truck tire pressure is causing reduced fuel economy? Larger and more sophisticated fleets have an easier time measuring the impact of tire pressure on fuel economy because they have access to more data points and more tools to aggregate them. On the other hand, many smaller fleets don’t have the resources to thoroughly investigate the causes of reduced fuel economy. 

That’s why it’s important for small fleets to take advantage of automated pressure systems. New technology has helped fleets of all sizes get eyes on their pressure readings and manage tire pressure issues accordingly, although there’s still a lot of progress to be made in this area. 

The Impact of Load & Tire Casing On Proper Tire Pressure

There’s industry-wide consensus that low commercial truck tire pressure negatively impacts fuel economy. That said, keep in mind that proper tire pressure varies depending on the load, tire type, and temperature. For example, say you measure your tire pressure and the result is 10 psi lower than the fleet manager’s standard pressure set point. Instead, you’ll want to base your assessment on the required pressure for the load carried.

Questions About Semi-Truck Tire Pressure?

Our team is standing by to assist with all of your semi-truck tech questions and concerns. Check out our guides to battery maintenance, LED vs. halogen lights, and more—or simply stop by a International Used Truck Center location near you today!

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