A single damaged truck tyre may cost a sizable amount of money to replace, so vehicle owners will often want to find out if there is a cheaper repair option available. The good news is that repairs are possible on various types of damaged tyre, but it's important to know when anything other than replacement will put you and other road users at risk. Learn when replacement is your only option for your truck tyres for the following three scenarios.
In Australia, the Legal Requirements of Vehicle Tread listed in the RTA Road Users Handbook specifies the standards that must apply for roadworthy tyres. In all cases, every tyre on a truck must have tread of at least 1.5mm across the tread surface. If there's any area where the tread is less than this, you could face a legal penalty, irrespective of the size of the affected part of the tyre.
If you find areas of worn tread on one of your truck's tyres, you cannot repair the damage, and a replacement is necessary. Bear in mind that this rule applies to the spare tyre, as you must always have a roadworthy spare available. Legal penalties may apply if a police officer discovers that a spare tyre does not meet the tread requirements.
It's possible to regroove some brands of truck tyre. Regrooving re-cuts a tread pattern in a tyre to improve handling, but this process is only possible where there is still a reasonable amount of tread available over the legal limit. If the tread wears down to the legal limit, regrooving is not possible.
For low mileage drivers, truck tyres will often last many years. Even if the tread is still within legal limits, and there are no signs of damage, you may still need to replace older tyres. This is particularly important when considering spare tyres. Some spare tyres may only experience limited mileage, which limits the risk of damage or wear. Nonetheless, past a certain point, these tyres are still not roadworthy.
Heat, sunlight and various other factors can all lead to rubber deterioration. In turn, this deterioration can lead to dangerous tyre failures. Industry experts recommend that you replace any tyre that is more than five years old. You can find the tyre's production date moulded in the sidewall.
There are several ways to damage a truck tyre. These include:
- Driving at high speeds
- Potholes and other types of road surface damage
- Debris and sharp objects
- Over or under-inflated tyres
In all cases, the extent of the damage can vary significantly. For example, the severity of a puncture depends entirely on the depth of penetration.
It's generally better to ask an expert to evaluate tyre damage. A trained technician can help you understand if it's really possible to repair the damage or not. What's more, there are various Australian standards that apply.
Many technicians and service centres can repair minor damages, but there are various constraints. You cannot repair any penetration damage that affects the shoulder, sidewall or bead areas of the tyre, even if the damage is minor. You can only repair light truck tyres up to 185mm if the minor damage does not exceed 6mm. For light truck tyres (over 185mm) the minor repair limit increases to 8mm. You can't repair any minor damage to a truck tyre with damage in excess of 10mm. You can have multiple minor repairs on one tyre, but they cannot overlap.
Major damage rules apply where the damage falls outside these minor repair limits. In these cases, only a specialist major tyre repair service can deal with the damage. Major repairs are not always cost-effective, so if the damage is not minor, you may need to consider a full replacement.
It's not always necessary to replace damaged truck tyres, but it's important to understand when repairs are not possible. Talk to a truck parts supplier, such as Moore Truck Parts, for more information and advice.