Selecting Tires for Medium-Duty Trucks

tires for medium-duty trucks

Selecting tires for medium-duty trucks directly impacts the fuel economy, performance, and tire replacement cycles for that vehicle. Mismatches between the tire specifications and how the vehicle is used is an issue. This may lead to increased chances of vehicle’s downtime and higher overall operating costs.

The challenge in selecting tires for medium-duty trucks is the number of number of variables needs to factor into the overall decision. Medium-duty tire manufacturers have different kinds of treads, designed for what that vehicle operating weight, specific tire position, or axle. For example, some tire are designed for free rolling, known as steering axle. While others are designed for drive axle vehicles. Use all-position tires on either steering or drive axle. Specially designed  tires assist the vehicles for their unique driving environments, such as on or off-road or long haul.

What to Consider when selecting Tires for Medium Duty Trucks

There are two very important things to consider when selecting tires for a vehicle. This would be the application of the vehicle and weight considerations. Vehicles that make deliveries in urban or suburban areas will have different needs compared to a dump truck that will be going off road and covering tough terrain. Take in to consider these factors:

  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) compatibility
  • Ride height requirement
  • Vver the road versus off road performance and durability
  • Climate
  • Traction

Having the wrong kind of tires on a vehicle can cause many different problems, including diminished tread life, higher overall operating costs, and the possibility of a driver left stranded with a vehicle needing repair.

Losing traction can cause extreme damage to a vehicle’s driveline and suspension; it can also cost a business a small fortune to cover the costs of just fixing that problem. Should a truck spend most of its life in an off-road environment, choose an aggressive tread for additional traction in dirt, mud, and snow.


The weight of the vehicle, the anticipated driving terrain, and the vehicle’s application will all contribute to what a fleet manager should think about when purchasing new tires. Differences in those variables change the kind of tires areconsidered.

For example, if the tires required for your business operates within the Snowbelt states or in mountains, the tires selected need to accommodate the weather conditions. However, if the fleet manager is looking to purchase tires that can operate in an urban environment, the smoother tread will allow for less rolling resistance and increased fuel economy. There are some manufacturers that have met EPA’s SmartWay Technology program. Some tires reduces emissions and fuel consumption by at least 3%.

In some cases, fleet managers will overestimate the kind of tires needed for a vehicle. For example, thinking the more aggressive the tread is on a tire, the better it will be on over-the-road applications. This is incorrect, the tread life is actually compromised and the total cost will be higher in the end. Instead of preparing for the worst, focus on what the primary work the fleet does instead.


Selecting tires for medium-duty trucks can be a tedious task. However, being able to save fuel economy and expand the life of a tire should be important to all fleet managers.

For help or questions regarding any of your light and medium duty transportation needs, contact our professional staff members at 405-912-5800.

Author Truck-N-Trailer

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