Commercial Tires: Traction for Truckers
Equipping big trucks with winter tires makes the roads safer for all motorists.
Winter tires are as Canadian as hockey and Timbits—and now, commercial vehicles are hopping on the winter tire bandwagon. “It comes down to having the right tire for the job,” says Tim Phillips, Vice President of Marketing and Operations, Double Coin Holdings. “Winter tires have a different compound that’s more pliable, and they have more siping to them. The traction you’re going to get in wet and snowy conditions is going to be greater than with a standard tire.”
The Double Coin RSD1 is considered a premium drive tire for tractors in severe winter conditions. “It has more siping and the blocks themselves have open shoulders and are self cleaning,” Phillips explains.
Another commercial winter tire, the RSD3, is less aggressive. “It also has siping, but not as aggressively as the D1,” Phillips adds. The RSD1 is more popular in eastern Canada, while the RSD3 sells well on the west coast. Both tires have the snowflake symbol on the sidewall.
Seven year casing warranty
Initially, these tires were embraced by the independent owner/ operator with a single tractor. “They understand the benefits of using these types of winter tires in Canada, where the winter conditions can be harsh,” Phillips says.
As far as tire life goes, Phillips says it depends on the operation and road conditions. “Typically, a standard tire will outperform a winter tire in warm and dry conditions, but a winter tire will out-perform a standard tire when there’s slush, ice and snow.”
“You can imagine a tractor trailer going down the highway and trying to stop with standard tires versus winter tires, and it’s definitely a safer choice.”
Tim Phillips, Vice President, Marketing & Operations, Double Coin Holdings
Both winter tire products come with a seven year casing warranty. “We stand behind the workmanship and materials used in Double Coin’s quality casings and guarantee that our customers will be able to receive three retreads during the life of the casing,” Phillips adds.
And as for price, the buyer needs to consider the initial cost, which is slightly higher on a winter tire. “But then you have to look at the safety benefits of the tire,” notes Phillips. “There’s extra engineering and a different compound that goes into the tire to improve the performance for winter traction and braking. You can imagine a tractor trailer going down the highway and trying to stop with standard tires versus winter tires, and it’s definitely a safer choice.”
According to Patrick LaChance, District Sales Manager for Commercial Vehicle Tires in Eastern Canada at Continental, fleets with severe applications, or those located in an area that requires winter tires, are stepping up their winter tire game. “Many fleets are looking for winter tires that can be used as all-season tires, installing them in late fall, running through winter, the following spring and summer, and surviving an additional winter season before being retreaded,” says LaChance.
Improved driver retention
Even where not legally required, the purchase is often driven by a request from the fleet’s drivers. “In severe winter conditions, safety becomes the number one factor, and can even improve driver retention,” notes LaChance.
Winter tires often feature lots of biting edges for traction, along with an increased number of voids in the tread pattern, and possibly an open shoulder, both to improve snow evacuation. “The ContiTread HDW2 tires feature 3D sipe technology, which offers stability, along with specialized tread compounds to deliver a good grip even in very cold conditions,” says LaChance.
The newest generation of winter tires delivers significantly better mileage in all-season usage compared to winter tires from previous generations. LaChance points to the HDW2’s wide tread platform of 245 mm and a tread depth of 27/32nds. “A fleet can get very impressive mileage from the HDW2,” he says.