This year's inspection will focus on tires, so, in addition to a full Level 1 inspection, drivers should be prepared for a thorough look at their tires. Top tire related violations include:
- Worn Tires
- Leaking Tires
- Tires with insufficient tread
- Under inflated tire
- Tire load limit exceeded
Each of these violations can be an out-of-service, which means you have to pay someone to fix the problem before you can leave the scales!
How do you avoid these violations?
Worn and Leaking Tires
Make certain that your tires are in good shape and properly inflated. If there are any audible leaks caused by holes, bent rims, or lost beads, these must be fixed before driving! Its a simple matter of safety.
Insufficient Tread DepthFederal rules indicate minimum tread depths that must be present on both your steer (front) axle tires and your rear (drive) axle tires. If your tread is not thick enough to meet these requirements, you can count on an out of service until you fix the problem (and I imagine ordering tires delivered to the weigh station isn't exactly cheap). Let's be clear; minimum tread depth isn't always enough for road conditions, but you can easily measure your tires using a tire depth gauge or 26¢.
Under Inflated Tires
Tires can lose up to 3% of their air pressure every month! Make it a habit to regularly and often check your air pressure to ensure it is within operable limits. Properly inflated tires save you money by saving fuel, tread life, and tickets.
Tire Weight Rating
Tires all have a load range (the most common for a light truck tire is "Load Range E"), but when the DOT determines whether or not you are overloaded, load range is nearly useless. They actually compare the loaded weight the axles to the actual weight ratings of the tires. While the load range is often easy to spot, actual load ratings can be very difficult to find. Be certain you are operating your truck on tires that properly support the weight of the truck and the load.
Just because they will be looking at tires doesn't mean that they won't be looking at log books, med certs., and everything else. Remember that the best way to pass an inspection is to be prepared and polite whenever dealing with law enforcement.