Are you retreading your truck's tires to the right position?

Are you retreading your truck’s tires to the right position?

Let’s say you retread a pair of new, premium steer tire casings. Where on your truck do they go next?

The most common answer is probably the drive position. But what if you equipped them back onto the steer position?

Bridgestone Americas’ Kyle Chen, brand manager of truck and bus radial tires for the U.S. and Canada, says fleets that retread steer tires and put them back onto the steer axle aren’t as uncommon as you might think, adding it is a misconception that this is always an unsafe practice.

“The Department of Transportation (DOT) prohibits the use of retreads in the steer position on buses only,” Chen says. “Many fleets find that utilizing retreads in the steer position is a safe and efficient way to maximize tire asset utilization. In some operations, including the waste, construction and delivery industries, many fleets find efficiency in using retreads starting at the steer position.”

Charles Luther of Triangle Tire USA also says it’s safe to use retreads on the steer position, but adds the fleets that will see the most benefit by doing so are generally those that operate at lower speeds.

“Fleets that use retreads on the steer axle are primarily local fleets such as large city refuse fleets, city delivery vehicles of various sizes, and any equipment used in street maintenance. These fleets operate at lower speeds and are often used in stop and go operations in a tough inner-city environment,” Luther says. “Over-the-highway, long-haul operations will, in almost all cases, run new tires on the steer axle. This is the norm and certainly contributes to driver peace of mind.”

The tried-and-true method of using new tires on the steer position, moving them back to the drive position for the first retread and finally to the trailer position for the next retread works well for long-haul fleets due to application, he says.

“Drive axles tend to be a more demanding environment due to the torque of the drive train; therefore less aged casings or first time retreaded tires are preferred for this demanding position,” Luther says. “Trailer tires, not subject to torque, are certainly a better position for a second cap casing, and these retreads tend to have a shallower tread applied specifically designed to reduce the free rolling wear often seen in trailer tires.”

“Every fleet handles casing progression differently,” adds Yokohama Tire’s Sr. Manager of Field Engineering Pat Keating. “Many fleets will retread a drive tire back into the drive position.”


Tires are expensive and small changes can affect your bottom line in big ways. If you’re thinking of switching up your tire program, take it from Chen and don’t do it alone.

“While retreading is an essential component of any tire program to drive lowest total cost of ownership, fleets should work with a trusted service provider to fully realize the benefits of a comprehensive tire program,” Chen says. “There are many aspects of a tire program, such as casing age specifications, repair specifications, number of times a casing is retreaded, and wheel position placement that can drive real cost savings for fleets. Bridgestone recommends fleets work closely with a trusted dealer partner to develop a custom tire program, inclusive of retreads, to ensure the process is tailored to their business needs.”

You May Also Like

SAF-Holland to build specialty fifth wheel manufacturing plant

After nearly 50 years and 3 million fifth wheels produced, SAF-HOLLAND will move production from Wylie, TX to the new facility, once complete.


SAF-Holland announced plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Rowlett, Texas.

SAF-Holland says that the new facility will include specialty fifth wheel manufacturing, and will replace the company's current Wylie, Texas operation, which will move to the new facility after construction.

Located eight miles from Wylie, SAF-Holland says the new facility will be staffed by its Wylie team in addition to regional offices for advanced manufacturing engineering, product line management, and continuous improvement groups.

Dayton Parts offers new aftermarket products for Freightliner, Mack, Cummins and Hino applications

A new DPF differential pressure sensor, engine oil dipsticks and fuel injector wiring harnesses designed to match OEM spec.

K&M Tire hires new executive vice president

In his new role, Jon Zurcher is expected to work with current leadership to strengthen and build on the company’s strategic plans.

Why fuel filtration science matters

Fleetguard shares the story of filtration science leading to a biodiesel solution with a seven-time increase in performance.

The trucking life of the internal combustion engine going forward

A glimpse into the fossil-free future of truck engines that run on everything from biodiesel to natural gas to hydrogen.


Other Posts

Battling spring’s unwanted guests: keeping mice out of trucks

Mice find hidden areas inside trucks to call home, but these pests can cause untold damage during their stay. How can you keep them out?

Advanced safety technologies: A tool in driver acceptance

As ADAS technology continues to advance, driver education on vehicle safety technologies becomes ever more critical.

Goodbye winter, hello fleet maintenance!

We welcome spring with a breath of warm, allergen-filled air, as we dig into maintenance needs that are easy to overlook as we leave winter.

The potential benefits of parts inventory management software

Let’s take a look at a few common parts inventory mistakes in this episode of On the Road.