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The Difference Between Truck Tires and Passenger Car Tires

Truck tires and passenger car tires are different in construction, and these differences are designed for their intended use and performance.

The first and most obvious difference is that truck tires are simply larger and wider than passenger car tires. Beyond this obvious difference a key distinguishing factor is that passenger car tires (and light truck tires placed on SUVs) typically have two steel belts. Medium truck and bus tires have four steel belts. The doubling of the steel belts in truck tires makes the truck tires more robust and durable.

A truck tire may have 20/32nds of tread or more. When such a truck tire is halfway worn down to 10/32 of tread it still has an amount of tread available which is similar to what many passenger car tires have when they are new.

Truck tires commonly have under-tread or sub-tread between the tread itself and the top steel belt. Many truck tires are marked as “REGROOVABLE.” This means that when the tread wears down to a level which is below the legal limit deeper grooves can be carved into the remaining tread rubber to allow for continued use of the tire.

When a tire is marked “REGROOVABLE” it also means that it is capable of receiving another layer of tread after the original tread wears out. This is a process different from regrooving.  When a tire is RE-TREADED the original layer of tread is cut off the tire and a new layer of tread is sewn onto the tire allowing for the body or carcass of the tire to continue to be used for additional mileage.

The inner-liner of a truck tire is thicker than the inner-liner of a passenger car tire or light truck tire and typically has a higher halobutyl content to ensure that pressurized oxygen from the inner chamber of the tire does not permeate into the body of the tire and cause degradation of the tire components.

Because of these significant differences tire manufacturers do not make any service life recommendations with regard to truck tires and consider that they may be used for an unlimited number of years provided there is sufficient tread available, and that they have otherwise not been damaged or abused.

Most tire manufacturers provide service life recommendations with regard to passenger car and light truck tires indicating that even tires in spare wheel positions which have never been used be taken out of service after 10 years. We have been unable to locate any such service life recommendations for truck tires by any manufacturer.

Because of the differences in the way truck tires are made tire manufacturers do not issue warnings or recommendations about the chronological age of a truck tire.

Our firm has expertise in cases involving accidents due to the failure of a tire.  The experienced personal injury attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert will protect your rights and be an advocate in your corner.  If you or a loved one was injured as a result of a tire failure, please contact Halpern, Santos & Pinkert.