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About Those Alligators

(March 2017) posted on Fri Mar 17, 2017

Buying crane, bucket and pickup truck tires

By Darek Johnson

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The tire manufacturers don’t make it easy, but each tire sidewall reveals numbers that tell the age of a tire somewhere. After 2000, the DOT required manufacturers to list a four-digit code where the first two numbers represent the week and the second two the year, thus giving you the birthweek and year of the tire. For example, the code 2212 tells you the tire was fabricated in the 22nd week of 2012. Older tires have different codes, but I’ll leave that to the antique car guys to decipher. Such numbers aren’t for consumer education, and are often part of a sequence of numbers. The original intent was to aid the NHTSA in tracking manufacturing dates on tire recalls.

My experience is to find the number on the awkward side of the tire, meaning inside the wheel or, as it was with those I recently checked at a tire dealer, on the wall side of the tire display. Be cautioned, however, that even if you check the manufacturing date, the tires the shop installs may not be the ones you inspected.

More than one crane truck driver has suffered injuries while dealing with truck tire maintenance, thus I always recommend signshop bosses call in truck tire professionals when dealing with crane and bucket truck tire repairs. Large and unwieldy trucks require unique jacks, chocks and stands – and an experienced tire maintenance person who understands large vehicle dynamics.

Jim Park, writing for, said an 11 x 22-in. truck tire inflated at 100 psi has the potential energy to hurl a 16-lb. bowling ball three-quarters of a mile. Such tires are common on crane and bucket trucks. Park said truck tires can become life-threatening devices in untrained or inexperienced hands, noting that OSHA’s regulation 29 CFR 1910.177 requires employers to provide proper tire handling training for all shop personnel who conduct tire maintenance and service. The OSHA regulation also lists equipment and facilities required to do the work safely.


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