One of the most fascinating parts of my job here at Truck Tire Depot in Houston Tx is talkin’ with the drivers. I love hearing the crazy stories of things that happen on the road, or seeing the pictures of beautiful scenery, and most of the time a driver walks in knowing what they want. But sometimes just sometimes, in will walk a new driver that has questions and I’m able to help a driver make an educated decision on their purchase.
Let’s face it, tires are an expensive investment and we want to help you get the best value for your needs. To help ensure we fit the driver with the best tire, there is a pretty standard list of questions we like to ask. One being truck or trailer? Once steer position on the truck has been established, I’ll determine local, regional or long haul? This information is asked so I can determine weather or not the driver needs a decoupling groove.
The decoupling groove may also be called shoulder groove, defense groove, shoulder wear protector or pressure distribution groove but no matter what it’s called that little sacrificial rib plays a major role in the life and wear of a long haul tire. I don’t like words like always or never so I’ll simply say primarily a tire with the decoupling groove is placed in a position where free rolling movement happens in other words no torque or power to move these wheels, as in the steer tire or even in some cases a trailer tire if high lateral scrubbing is anticipated.
How might one line 14/32s deep 1/8th inch near the shoulder edge of the tire be beneficial you may ask? Well, the concept is that it helps with heat dissipation at the belt edge therefore minimizing irregular wear and reduces rapid shoulder wear on long trips, you get better wet surface handling performance from the tire provided from water evacuation from the multi-sipe tread design .
And in case you are now wondering if the decoupling groove is so beneficial why wouldn’t all drivers run it up front, simple, if you tend run more local or regional trips that require you to run on rougher roads or make a lot of turns you actually may prefer a wide shoulder all position tire, weather you want American or Chinese up front well that’s another post all together and we will discuss that topic on a later date, but the frequent turns can cause the groove to tear which over time can cause the shoulder side wall to separate. The non-grooved wider edge gives a more durable handling control on rougher surfaces such as rocks and gravel, which is why the decoupling groove may not be best for your needs.
In any case we can only offer our advice based on our experience and knowledge in the tire business, in the end you must find what works best for you. Just know that the staff at Truck Tire Depot is here for you 7 days a week Monday -Friday from 6 am to Midnight and Saturday 7-5 and Sunday 8-4 to help you get the best tire for your needs at the best price.