The NTI is warning truckies to make sure their ensure tyres are correctly inflated.
The NTI is warning truckies to make sure their ensure tyres are correctly inflated. Contributed

Make sure your tyres are correctly inflated warns NTI

DRIVERS are being reminded to ensure tyres are correctly inflated after data from Australia's largest transport and logistics insurer found blown out steer tyres were the predominant cause of major mechanical failure crashes, which rose 80 per cent (%) in two years.

According to the 2019 NTARC Major Accident Investigation Report from National Transport Insurance (NTI), 1 in 20 large losses involving trucks was the result of mechanical failure.

Report author Adam Gibson said steer tyre failure accounted for 55% of mechanical failure incidents and anecdotal evidence suggested these were the result of inadequate tyre inflation.

"With less air pressure, the tyre flexes more, so the rubber heats up in the carcass of the tyre to the point where the tyre loses its structural integrity and literally explodes," Mr Gibson said.

"When steer tyres fail, they tend to fail catastrophically."

NTI found that all of these tyre failure incidents happened in the highest speed zones, 90km/h and faster. Mr Gibson also found the results were most horrific when a tyre failed on a sharp corner.

"All of a sudden, rather than continuing on a curve, the vehicle shoots off in a straight line and leaves the roadway," Mr Gibson said.

Mr Gibson said it was paramount for drivers to be aware of tyre inflation levels for their own safety, but ultimately, transport companies were responsible for introducing systems to ensure tyre pressure was regularly checked.

"NTI strongly encourages operators to have a pre-start check that includes steer tyre pressure and include this in weekly workshop inspections. There is also a strong case for government to remove restrictions on the use of twin-steer prime movers as part of the current review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law."

Steer tyre tips:

  • Check tyre pressure when tyres are cold and don't bleed air from hot tyres
  • Replace the valve dust caps after checking tyre pressure
  • Increase tyre pressure if carrying an increased load or driving at high-speed
  • If a pressure drop is noted, especially in one tyre, check for a puncture or defective valve
  • Complete fortnightly pressure checks with your own tyre gauge.
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