Lock Ring Safety
You’ve heard of the Big Bang, but how about this… there is enough explosive energy in a 40.00R57 tire/wheel assembly, inflated to 120 psi, to propel a 200 lb. person 5,247 ft. into the air! Hence… the importance of lock rings!
A tire is essentially a flexible pressure vessel that contains enough gas to support a load.
Lock rings are the final piece of the assembly, holding everything together. When the tire is inflated, the bead seat band and flanges are forced outwards. The back flange is supported by the lip of the back section, while the gutter side flange and bead seat band are held in place by the lock ring. To work properly, the lock ring requires proper mating parts, so you must always ensure that the correct gutter section and bead seat band are used.
Most tire safety incidents occur during inflation, due to over-inflation, improper procedure, or improperly seated, mismatched or damaged tire/wheel components. During tire changes, the lock ring should be visually inspected for wear, corrosion, flat spots, circularity, warping, fatigue cracks or damage. No damage or corrosion of the lock ring is acceptable., and lock rings with any signs of damage should be scrapped. Lock rings are available in one- and two-piece designs, in a wide range of sizes.
One-piece Lock Rings
One-piece lock rings are manufactured with a minimum 2” overlap (the exact amount will vary slightly by size and type). Over time, lock rings lose their ‘spring’ and the amount of overlap will reduce. Regular visual inspections of the lock rings need to be performed to ensure they haven’t stretched beyond the recommended guidelines.
Two-piece Lock Rings
Every 500 hours, the fasteners and lock ring halves should be checked to ensure they still fit securely. All components must be inspected for wear or damage before assembly, and the lock ring groove must be clear of dirt and debris. The ends of a mounted two-piece lock ring must not touch – there should be a minimum 3/16” gap. All bolts should be hand-tightened and then re-tightened after tire inflation.