If you own a truck, one of the biggest dangers that you can face on the road is a peeling tire. If the tread separates off your tire while you're driving, you can roll your vehicle or lose control and swerve into another lane. Or, the peeled tread can flop directly into the path of another driver, causing him or her to have an accident. Learn what you can do to avoid these kinds of accidents and keep yourself out of a lawsuit.
Preventing Tread Separation
Tire separation occurs when the topmost layer of one of your truck tires — the part containing the actual tread — suddenly peels off. There are several causes for this, including:
1. Underinflated tires.
Your tires have a proper inflation level. The information for this is usually in the owner's manual of your truck or on a yellow sticker inside the driver's side doorjamb. If you don't keep your tires inflated within that given range, there will be increased pressure on all of your tire's components. This can cause unnatural friction and a buildup of heat that can lead to the tread peeling off.
Invest in a tire pressure gauge and check the air pressure in your tires at least once a week. You'll catch small leaks that way, and guard yourself against accidents.
2. Old "New" Tires
If you are buying new tires, remember that you can't tell an aging tire by its tread alone. Drivers can end up buying "new" tires that have been sitting around so long that they are past the warranty period!
To keep from getting an old "new" tire, look for a string of letters and numbers on the tire's sidewall. This is a code that indicates where and when a tire was manufactured. The very last string of numbers will be a 4 digit code inside an oblong circle. The first 2 digits represent the week of the year the tire was made, and the second 2 digits represent the year of manufacture.
For example, if the last 4 digits on the tire are 1210, it means that the tire was made in the 12th week of 2010 (and has been sitting around since then). If the last circle only has 3 digits in it, it indicates the tire was made prior to the year 2000!
3.) Aging Tires
Rubber begins to age and get brittle over time, and heat will accelerate this process. If you live in a hot climate, your tires need to be inspected more often, to see if they are experiencing accelerated aging. This includes any spare tires that you have because the rubber will age whether it's being used or not. In fact, spare tires may age faster than the tires you're driving on - depending on where you store them. If they're stored in a trunk or locked shed, for example, they're essentially being stored in a small oven!
Inspect your tires for visible hairline cracks, which are a sure sign that the tires are drying out. However, there may not be visible signs of aging and drying. While there's no industry consensus, some experts recommend replacing your tires every five years, even if there's plenty of tread left.
If you have been involved in an accident due to a tire separation, contact a truck accident attorney right away. It's possible that you aren't at wholly at fault for the accident - particularly if your tire failed without warning.