What are truck tyres made of?
Updated: Jul 10
We might not give too much thought to what’s actually in a truck tyre. Such is the safety-critical nature of the only contact points between a vehicle and the road, maybe we should.
What truck tyres are made of clearly matters. The 2020 National Truck Accident Research Centre report concluded tyre failures were responsible for nearly 60% of fatal truck accidents. The vast majority of these relate to the steering tyres. The structure of today’s commercial truck tyres is the result of decades of mechanical and technological advances, countless hours of testing and rigorous regulation. What are truck tyres made of? Truck tyres are a composite of materials. In essence, they retain the same principle structure as the very first pneumatic tyre, invented in 1912. Prior to this, being a truck driver was a pretty unpleasant job given the bumpy, uncomfortable journeys on rough roads with solid rubber tyres. Truck tyres still retain a significant proportion of natural rubber. Technology has yet to devise a compound that performs quite as well for heavy weight-bearing. As well as natural rubber, truck tyres contain a number of other optimised synthetic rubber compounds. These are combined with high strength steel and textile reinforcements for additional strength. The overall composition ensures each tyre operates to its optimal balanced performance. Different truck tyre manufacturers and different tyre brands within their portfolio will have different proportions of materials within the overall blend, but typically a truck tyre will consist of: 30% natural rubber 15% synthetic rubber 25% carbon black 15% steel 15% other - including fibre, fillers, accelerators and antiozonants Each element of a truck tyre is included for specific performance reasons. By way of further explanation: Carbon black is a pigment and strengthening additive that also acts as an insulating agent and protects the tyre against damage from UV light. Truck tyres contain a number of different fibres to provide dimensional stability and additional load-bearing strength. Fibres in truck tyres include polyester, nylon, rayon and cotton. Fillers in a truck tyre include silica that acts to reinforce the rubber. Silica reduces rolling resistance which improves fuel consumption and enhances wear performance. Accelerators are additives that are used in the vulcanization process of rubber that gives it tensile strength, resistance to abrasion and elasticity. Antiozonants are chemical compounds that form a protective layer on rubber. Pay attention to your fleet’s tyres While a significant proportion of truck accidents are the result of tyre failure, the structure of the tyre as it is manufactured is unlikely to be the cause. The main reasons are excessive wear, low tread, mismatched tyres and failures to inspect, inflate properly and replace when necessary. Don’t take unnecessary risks with a 40-ton, 12 or 18-wheel rig. Check those tyres regularly and if they need replacing, Double-D stock all the leading brand truck tyres at competitive prices. Get in touch for information or advice or to book your truck(s) in for truck tyre fitting in Melbourne.