Quick Guide to Semi-Truck Tire Positions

PayLaterTires will help get you back on the road fast. Check out the differences between each tire position, using our handy quick guide to semi-truck tire positions below.

Steer Tires

For commercial semi-trucks, steer tires are arguably the most important tire on a commercial rig. They’re sometimes referrred to as all-position tires due to the fact that they’re designed for the steer axle, but you'll find that they also perform well on drive and trailer axles. Steer tires shape and guide your handling, and they help to establish a smooth and even ride, and they also take a lot of scraping on curbs. Tires in this position are subject to wearing out faster and are a big consideration when it comes to fuel economy. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to have a good quality steer tire, one that will perform well in all conditions.

Drive Tires

Drive tires are the most important tire when it comes to traction. Our customers often find themselves having a bit of trouble when trying to decide on the best drive tires for their semi-truck because they’re trying to "check off all of the boxes" so to speak. They will try to cover all of their bases. In order to make your life and your work just a little bit easier, we at PayLaterTires recommend that instead, you try and focus on one objective for your commercial truck's drive tires; whether that be arrival time, cost, traction, fuel economy, or what have you. If you’re debating between drive tires and all-position tires and your goal it to focus on fuel economy, you may want to look into deep-tread drive tires as often times they will actually perform similarly when it comes to fuel economy. This is due to the fact that they have a deeper tread with more rubber to wear off, which takes longer. 

Trailer Tires

When it comes to trailer tires, the best are designed for free-rolling, trailer-axle positions at the back of the trailer. These tires are usually stiffer so that they're able to withstand tough terrain, heavy loads, and protect from damage caused by curbing. The 2 most common types of semi-truck trailer tires are Radial Ply and Bias Ply. Radial ply trailer tires have shorter cords which run perpendicular to the direction of travel, which has been shown to provide more flexibility and ground contact, which is good for your tires stability, traction, and tread. Cords on Bias ply trailer tires run at a 32 degree angle (from the direction of travel) and they have stiffer shoulders and sidewalls.