View Full Version : 18 wheeler tire blowout
10-08-2001, 09:04 AM
On the freeway yesterday I noticed large tire pieces flying out from underneath an 18 wheeler ahead of me. I swerved to avoid a couple of larger pieces, and passed the truck - it slowed down a little bit, but kept moving. One of the front right inside tires on the trailer had apparently failed.
How do they change those tires? are there really big jacks? how far can a truck drive on one of the tires being blown out?
10-08-2001, 10:08 AM
I'd have to ask my dad to confirm this or get an answer about how far they can run once they lose the carcass of the tire, but as far as jacks go, well, the trailer is made with jack-type things built into the bottom of it. Metal supports that hold the trailer up and still, used during loading and unloading and whenever the truck is going to be sitting still for a while. I think usually one only puts them down enough to support the weight of the trailer, not lift it up, but you probably use them to lift the trailer up to change the tires.
My father owns the largest four-way wrench I have ever seen, to change tires on his rig.
10-08-2001, 05:54 PM
- - - I am not a truck driver, but one I asked about this said that they are supposed to stop as soon as possible and do whatever it is they do, which in the US is, call a tow truck. At the company he drove for, they didn't carry the equipment to change their own tires, and the company's insurance stated that only tow truck operators or company mechanics were allowed to do it.
- He said that they can feel the trailer wobble a bit when the tire blows, but they don't feel the pieces flying off. How far they can go with a flat depends on how heavy the load is. The other tires can be damaged in as little as ten or fifteen minutes if they don't stop driving. - MC
10-08-2001, 08:36 PM
IAATD, I have never seen a trailer with built in jacks of any sort (except the portable TV studio type you see at sporting events)and I have never seen anyone change a truck tire with anything other than an air wrench.
If a trailer tire 'blows out' you can usually hear it and feel it(If a tractor tire blows out it just about gives you a heart attack), but if the tire just goes down and falls apart you might not notice. If you are not fully loaded you can go quite a distance with one flat, but you should really stop as soon as possible. A truck driver should walk around and kick all his tires at every stop to make sure none of the tires have gone flat. On one occasion I went to kick a tire, but all that was there were two sidewalls, the entire tread and center portion of the tire had come off and I didn't feel any difference in the handling.
The jacks look like a bottle jack or a regular pump jack and are not much bigger than the automotive type, but they are air powered and much stronger.
In some cases when you see pieces of tire come out from underneath a truck, it was already in the road and he just ran it over. It is much safer to run over a piece of tire than try to swerve around it in a truck.
10-08-2001, 08:57 PM
Anachronism, the built-in things are straight supports near each wheel. They retract up into themselves when not in use. And my father's never actually used his Big-Ass Four-Way that I know of (of course, he was driving trucks for a decade before I was even born), but he keeps it just in case he needs to tighten lugnuts or something.
10-08-2001, 08:59 PM
Anachronism, now that i think about it, I'm full of shit. I'm sorry. I just realized what I was talking about. :rolleyes:
10-08-2001, 09:14 PM
And the front steering tires are especially crucial, and should always be in good condition and inspected at every stop. If one goes out everyone in the vicinity is potentially in for a rough afternoon.
10-08-2001, 09:27 PM
He'll probably drive it until he gets to a tire repair shop and then change it. The jack we used was a hydraulic floor jack. Some trailers carry a spare but I don't see many now days.
The lug nuts are removed with an air wrench now a days. Its a lot of work using hand tools to do it.When tightening lug nuts I always felt better if I tested the nuts tightness with a socket and breaker bar with a 3' piece of pipe as an extention.
The outside tire is removed and then the spacer.Then the inside tire or whats left of it.
just reverse the procedure to install.
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