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  • Writer's pictureamonahan

Tire Maintenance for CDL-A Truck Drivers: Avoid Blowouts and Citations



Truck tire blowouts are messy, inconvenient and can cause significant delays for you and your customers. But the most costly problems of all are the many safety issues that can occur as a result of blowouts.


This is one reason the DOT conducts roadside tire inspections regularly.


You can do your part to protect yourself and those around you, as well as avoid citations, by understanding the finer details of tire maintenance and FMCSA standards. But drivers can protect themselves and those around them, as well as avoid citations, by following several important tire maintenance tips.


Know Your Tires

1. TREAD DEPTH - measure tread depth to make sure it meets FMCSA and CVSA regulations*. If tread depth is low, this effects traction and increases your stopping distance.

2. TIRE WEAR - look closely for cracks, bulges, foreign objects (like rocks or glass shards) as well as damage and uneven wear. Pay attention to exposed belt or ply materials because they will trigger a CSA inspection and penalty. If you notice any of these problems, let your mechanic know as soon as possible.

3. INFLATION - gauge the inflation pressure before you drive while the wheels are cold. Overinflated tires will wear excessively on the center tire treads. An underinflated tire will wear on the outside tire treads and can lead to internal structural damage.


If You Fail A Tire Inspection

It’s important to remember that failing an inspection and being put “out of service” are not the same thing. A tire can fail the FMCSA standards while still meeting the CVSA requirements. In that case, you will likely get a violation on your record, but the vehicle won’t be put out of service.

When a driver is given a CSA violation, they are given penalty points that range from 3 to 10 points, depending on the severity of the violation. Tire violations are either 3 or 8 points.


8-point tire violations include:

• Flat tire or exposed fabric

• Ply or belt material exposed

• Tread or sidewall separation

• Tread depth

• Audible air leak

• Cut exposing ply or belt material


3-point tire violations include:

• Using regrooved tires (on front of truck/truck-tractor)

• Underinflated tires

• Tire load weight rating


To learn all of the FMCSA tire guidelines and regulations go to: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/393.75


*FMCSA regulations - the minimum tread depth for a steer tire is 4/32 of an inch on every major tread groove. According to CVSA, if the tread depth on a steer tire is less than 2/32 of an inch in two adjacent grooves, then the vehicle is placed out of service until the tire is replaced. CSA definition of a flat tire is essentially 50% of what’s written on the tire’s sidewall.


At Carleton Transport, our goal is to create calm in the chaos of the trucking industry while maintaining driver safety. If you’re interested in hearing more about our current driving opportunities, call 402-332-0260 to speak with our recruiter. Or, visit our website at carletontransport.com/driving-jobs today.

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