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How to Choose and Maintain the Right Tires for Your Truck

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2018 Ford F-150 pickup truck overview specs details family travel featuresFor many truck owners, their truck is more than a vehicle: it’s an identity. It means independence, exploration, and no limits. Every scratch or ding on a truck is a story from the owner’s life and is viewed as a battle scar. To the aficionado, the truck is a temple.

To that end, one of the most important aspects in maintaining that temple is ensuring the tires are always up to snuff. Since knowing which type and size of tires are appropriate for your vehicle is essential, owners must understand which tires are best-suited for their truck and how to take care of them.

Here’s an inside look about how to select and maintain the right tires for your truck.

What to consider about sizing

For some truck owners, bigger is better, but you can’t just go slapping a set of 54-inch tires on your pickup. Instead, you’ve got to do your research; after all, the make and model of your truck can ultimately determine the appropriate brand and size of your tires.

However, selecting the right type of tire for your rugged vehicle can be tricky because tire widths vary from one tire manufacturer to another — and ultimately it’s the width that will determine whether the tire is a proper fit. Still, proper tire fit shouldn’t be the only option on the table.

Clearance, which is influenced by the type of terrain in which you’ll be driving, must also be considered. For example, a truck driven primarily on city streets and highways won’t utilize articulated suspension, meaning it won’t cause any rubbing. But using the same type of tire while off-road driving will cause rub when a 4×4 flexes on uneven terrain.

Now, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with factory model tires, but referring to the manufacturer’s recommendations is always sound advice. Ultimately, when you’re fitting a truck for tires, it’s best to check the tire manufacturer’s recommendation for the precise tire dimensions.

Proper tire care for your truck

The most relevant determinate in the lifespan and performance of a tire is proper inflation. To properly care for your tires, make sure to regularly check their inflation pressure. Why is that so important? Experts say motorists should be taught the dangers of re-inflating a tire that’s been driven on and is 20 percent or more underinflated.

If you discover your tire pressure is low and decide to drive your truck anyway — with the goal of re-inflating your tires later in the day — then your tires you run the risk of a zipper rupture. A zipper rupture occurs when the metal of the sidewall fatigues due to the flexing that occurs while driving under load, which can lead to a major blowout. In short, topping off the air pressure in your tires when it’s 20 percent or more under pressure is a recipe for casing degradation.

In addition to incurring a zipper rupture, under-inflated tires are also more susceptible to leaking and tread punctures, which eventually lead to tire failure. The reason? When a tire is under-inflated, it becomes more susceptible to punctures because the rubber becomes hotter and softer. To that end, hitting curbs and running over debris can cause sidewall damage, so performing a regular visual inspection of your tires is crucial when it comes to proper tire maintenance.

Choose wisely

All in all, owning a truck is not only a privilege, but also an extension of one’s self. The degree to which you care for your truck reflects the degree to which you care for yourself. Tires are an important and essential component of your truck’s image and performance, so choose wisely — and take pride in maintaining this symbol of freedom and self. Safe travels.

This is a collaborative article.