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Tires are second only to fuel as the greatest operating expense for trucks in the concrete industry. Following the common-sense tips listed here can help lengthen tire life, prevent unexpected tire breakdowns, and lower the high costs of tire maintenance and replacement. During each pretrip inspection, look for signs of cuts, abrasions, uneven wear, and cracks. Check between duals for any rocks or other debris that may have become lodged there. Physical damage to tires often indicates preventable tire abuses, such as misalignment, excessive speed, overloading and underinflation. Also check that valve caps are in place on all wheels. A truck's mechanical condition is an important factor in reducing tire wear. Check for damaged or worn wheel bearings, and loose studs or lug nuts. It is a good idea to retighten lug nuts or studs after 50 to 100 miles of travel. Proper tire storage and handling are frequently ignored by maintenance personnel. To prevent tire damage during handling, do not lift tires by the beads with a crane hook, and when using a forklift, slide the forks under the tread; do not use the forks to lift a tire by the beads. Underinflation is the number one cause of premature tire failure. Proper air pressure is easy to check, but often is the most neglected aspect of tire maintenance. Check cold air pressure at least weekly. In addition, a driver's pretrip checklist should indicate whether air was added and to which tires it was added. Other factors to consider: Tools and equipment; mounting; record keeping; good housekeeping; tire type and size; tire speed; brakes and heat; dual assemblies; and damaged, worn, and scrap tires.