Authored by: Tractor tyre expert | 28 October 2022
Mounting or demounting tractor tyres is a tricky operation, not due to complexity but because of the need to move large volumes and masses. This type of operation must be well prepared in advance to anticipate problems which could be costly if your new tyre were to be damaged, or if the tractor was not properly stabilised when you demount it. To carry out this type of operation successfully, you need to be well equipped and follow the basic safety rules to safeguard your equipment and avoid unnecessary repairs. In this article we look at the precautions to be taken when mounting and demounting tractor tyres.
Replacing a tractor tyre is often considered to be a simple, banal task, like with a normal car. But this is what leads to a lack of precaution just when there are more risks than we imagine.
1. Why is safety primordial?
The volume of the tyres, the weight of the tractor, a badly positioned bead or incorrect mounting can have major consequences in terms of safety, both in the workshop and during use on the road after mounting. It’s always better to think carefully about whether it would be simpler and more economical for you to carry out the tyre replacement yourself.
If you are not used to doing this task, it’s much safer to entrust the job to a tyre mounting professional (tyre dealer or trader), who has all the equipment and who does this sort of operation all day long.
Risks linked to raising the tractor
Before beginning a tyre replacement job, you must make sure there is a safety area around the tractor and prepare your machine for a zero risk operation.
Here are the steps to follow to ensure that the demounting and mounting of your tyre take place in the best possible conditions.
Define the working area
The intervention must take place in an uncluttered space that is sufficiently wide to work in, preferably on a firm, flat surface. The first precaution to take after applying the parking brake is to position the chocks under the front and rear tyres to ensure that the tractor is perfectly stable and cannot move during the operation.
Before the operation you must always indicate that repairs are in progress using traffic cones or an appropriate visual warning. If you are working as a team, this helps avoid accidents when another person tries to use the tractor without realising that an intervention is in progress.
Use the right tools to raise the tractor
The tare weight of a tractor can easily reach 4 to 6 tonnes, or more, depending on the model, which is why it is necessary to have the right lifting equipment which has been designed for this type of intervention.
Good to know: The jack is not designed to maintain the tractor in its raised position, merely to lift it. Make sure your jack is in good condition, because certain faulty ones can give way during the operation, causing the tractor to fall.
Always use axle stands after lifting
As the tractor has to be held in its raised position, axle stands are essential in case there is any problem with the jack.
Make sure they are perfectly wedged in and positioned at the spots indicated by the manufacturer, to avoid the tractor falling during the mounting or demounting operation.
Health risk when handling heavy equipment
An average tractor tyre weighs around 100 kg, and up to 350 kilos for rear tyres. The difficulties linked to manual handling can cause many injuries, such as back problems, tendinitis, or effort related aches and pains… without mentioning the risk of death caused by a falling tyre, for example.
In all cases, the use of suitable equipment is obligatory:
Handling equipment: lift truck with an extension arm, forklift truck, self-propelled truck…
Wheel lift dolly to position the tyre without risk
Inflation: the risk is largely underestimated
It may seem very simple, but the inflation process is the most dangerous part of the operation and the one that causes the most serious accidents. The tyre may effectively burst at any time, for multiple reasons, due to insufficient lubrication or use of the wrong lubricating grease, due to inattention during inflation, incorrect positioning of the tyre, faulty mounting or excessive inflation, above 2.5 bar.
Before inflating the tyre and positioning the beads, ensure you have a minimum amount of protective equipment, such as a hose to be able to maintain a safe distance during inflation or protective glasses, a headset…
Then during inflation, ensure that the beads are progressively positioned on the rim seats. Interrupt the inflation operation when you reach 0.8 bar and around 1.2 bar to check the beads are properly in place.
Here are the basic safety rules to avoid serious bodily injury in the event of tyre explosion:
Do not stand facing the rim, stand in line with the tread.
Do not move far away from the tyre during inflation or be inattentive.
Always respect the maximum inflation pressure recommended by the manufacturer, written on the tyre sidewall: 2.5 bar in general.
If you reach the maximum recommended pressure when the beads are not properly in place, you must immediately deflate the tyre to avoid a major risk of explosion.
You can then reinflate the tyre, having re-lubricated all the areas in contact with the beads, an operation that must be redone systematically until the beads are correctly positioned.
2. Your investment in a new set of tyres must be protected
A tractor tyre represents a considerable investment. It is fragile as long as it is not mounted and inflated, which is why it must be handled with care during mounting or demounting.
The bead: a fragile area to handle with precaution
A new tyre is fragile, especially in the bead area which must ensure airtightness with the rim once mounted.
Whether for mounting or demounting, you must use suitable levers and progress 10 cm at a time, never putting too much strain on any area of the bead.
Any crushing or even a slight cut to the bead will be irreparable and will obligatorily lead to the replacement of the tyre.
Lubricating the beads is essential for mounting and demounting, but this must not be done with a standard lubricant, mineral oil or soapy water.
All these products could result in problems after mounting, such as the rotation of the tyre on the rim or damage to the rubber caused by hydrocarbons.
Lubricating grease specially designed for tyres must be used at all costs.
How to avoid breaking the bead wire
The bead wire is also a fragile part of the tyre when it is not inflated. The bead wire is designed to connect the bead to the casing and make it more rigid, but you must be careful during handling operations to avoid damaging it.
When your tyres are not mounted, the appropriate lifting equipment should be used to transport them. It is best to use a flat fabric sling or rounded forklift forks to raise the tyre from underneath, over the exterior circumference.
Be careful: never use a rope, a hook or a chain to transport your tyres as this could break the bead wire, obliging you to replace the tyre.
There is special handling equipment designed for this purpose:
Wheel lift dolly
When working as a team, do not entrust the job to an apprentice
If you work at an agricultural contractor’s in the workshop for example, it is essential that all those involved in tyre replacement have completed a training course and are aware of the safety issues.
Do not let apprentices take charge of tyre mounting or demounting operations, because in general they are not qualified for tyre replacement. You need to be properly trained for this specific task, or work under the constant supervision of a trained worker.
Do not neglect this detail, because it is often this situation that leads to problems during tyre mounting, with major financial consequences.
3. Turn to an agricultural tyre expert
If you don’t have the equipment necessary, it tends to be easier to entrust the mounting and demounting of new tractor tyres to a tyre professional.
He will have the expert know-how and skills necessary to ensure that these operations are carried out smoothly.
In addition, as he is used to working on tyres all day, the expert has the right equipment to carry out these operations, in the best possible conditions and in the best possible timeframe.
Turning to a professional is a way of protecting your investment, obtaining a guaranteed replacement in the event of non-compliant mounting and receving advice on complex techniques linked to tyres such as lead ratio, centering, concentricity, geometry or parallelism.
To find out more
We have developed a complete guide for you to download free of charge “Everything you need to know about mounting & demounting tractor tyres”
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This information is intended only to make you aware of the technical and functional aspects of agricultural tires and their use. It does not allow you to make a judgment or a definitive conclusion on a given problem. Only your agricultural tire expert is able to make a technical assessment and take a final decision, case by case.