Hot Wheels: The dangers of overheated trailer tires and how to prevent them

Hot Wheels: The dangers of overheated trailer tires and how to prevent them

Hot wheels are great for racing, but for your fleets operations? Not so much. Prevent overheating with these tire-saving tips.

As a tire loses pressure, the sidewalls begin to flex more, and heat builds up within the tire. If the overheating gets severe, a section of the tire’s rubber can separate from its carcass. While that’s a worst case scenario, there are plenty of other reasons why low tire pressure is your fleet’s worst nightmare. Increased rubber-to-ground contact means more wear and tear- that means higher repair costs and maintenance-related downtime. 

Fleets are constantly striving for maximum efficiency so the demand for products to help improve operations is on the rise in the heavy-duty space. That’s why tire solution providers are committed to the production of technology that keeps your wheels rolling in the right direction

Let’s have Craig Smith, vice president of marketing and communications, Pressure Systems International (P.S.I.), join the conversation to explain how ATIS technology on trailer tires help keep wheel-end temps at bay.

“So, automatic tire inflation or ATIS, as we all call it, keeps tires from running under-inflated by continuously filling a tire that’s developed a leak. So, the one thing we find when a tire runs under-inflated, it can begin to generate increasing temps, which can really impact the wheel, tire, and wheel end area. The tire effectively can become like an oven that bakes that area and that wheel end on which it’s mounted. And this can include the bearings as well. One of the benefits of proper tire inflation is tire life extension, up to 10%. We found it also protects the tire casing, and that’s important for the integrity of the casing for retreading. Fleets can also expect a fuel increase up to 1.4%, we found on the average. And that’s great for fuel economy.” 

This is great in it being that tires and fuel makes up two of the highest costs in the industry, but this type of technology also mitigates the potential for much more severe outcomes such as breakdowns, accidents, roadside calls, and, of course, the costly hit to profit that come from repair fines and downtime. 

Should the indicator go off and air starts pumping into your tire, you can choose to sideline the truck there depending on the severity of the leak or continue onto the next convenient stop and allow the system to do its thing. 

Companies like P.S.I. and other tire management solution providers additionally understand the importance of not just staying alert regarding tire leaks and punctures, but also actively monitoring the state of each wheel-end. P.S.I. recently introduced Digital Thermalert, a system streaming real-time temperature readings for each wheel end directly to a TPMS portal, even while the vehicle is in motion. 

“Fleet equipment runs at different temperatures based on the load, the roads, the drivers, break-in periods for different kinds of equipment. For example, disc brake systems, we’ve found, seem to break in at a higher temperature than traditional drum brake systems. These types of break-ins and high heat situations can be closely observed and noted. This allows the fleet to find their normal operating temperature, so we’re not getting false alerts and things like that.” 

A great way to establish the status quo for operating conditions, but say the system does go off and you’re wheel end temp is climbing: 

“It activates when the wheel end temperature reaches an extreme temperature, typically about 100 degrees above normal operating temperature. So, what happens is our system indicator light that I mentioned, will turn on. And if it stays on, you need to pull over to a safe place and do a visual inspection. Typically, what happens is you’ll hear an audible noise of air escaping a wheel end. The way our system works is a little eutectic screw melts and allows air pressure to bleed out of the axle wheel end that is giving you the trouble, that is overheated.”

Identifying wheel end failures promptly and keeping a close eye on the state of each tire is crucial to reduce the risk of a wheel off situation or worse. Keeping those tires in top shape will help ensure your trucks will stay on the road.

You May Also Like

Inside Accelera by Cummins, the Freightliner eM2 truck, International’s EV ecosystem and Peterbilt’s hydrogen fuel cell plan

All of that and more on the first episode of FE From the Floor: ACT Expo 2023.


Decarbonization in trucking is happening, but there's no magic bullet to lowering emissions. That's what makes ACT Expo so exciting--the truck equipment and technology of tomorrow is on display. Cleaner diesel, natural gas, hydrogen ICE, battery electric, hydrogen fuel cells--it's all here. We decided to bring it all to you in our FE From the Floor video series that talks to the biggest names in the industry and kicks the sustainability tires of trucking's latest environmentally-minded solutions that aim to bring real ROI to fleet operations. Watch the first episode of FE From the Floor: ACT Expo 2023 above and stay tuned tomorrow and Friday for more episodes.

The impact of A.I. on truck driver safety

A.I. product offerings are gaining popularity in the market and are being implemented by fleets of all sizes.

Identifying your fleet’s truck tipping point

As a truck ages, the costs of maintenance may start to outweigh the benefits of continued use.

Closing the electrification gap: Is your fleet EV ready?

Electric vehicles are definitely a step forward when it comes to sustainability, but it’s not an easy one to make.

Supporting truck shop software and technology integration

Your shop software will do you no good if it is outdated.


Other Posts

Daimler Truck CEO on decarbonization developments, infrastructure investment and the reason for Rizon

With sustainable trucking options on the road, more challenges are ahead … as well as opportunity.

How to get the most from electric truck charging incentives right now

These programs can help lower the overall costs of charging stations to make the transition to EVs more feasible and equitable.

Optimizing your electrical system spring maintenance schedule 

The seven-way connection is the most prone area to the onset of corrosion.