Emergency agricultural tyre breakdown service following a puncture

Emergency agricultural tyre breakdown service, what do you need to know?

Authored by: Tractor tyre expert | 31 July 2023

A breakdown in your hangar, when you find a flat tyre in the early hours of the morning, is not at all the same situation as an emergency breakdown service for an agricultural tyre mid-operations in the field when you have a tight schedule and a full day’s work ahead.
Certain breakdowns are avoidable, such as those linked to excess wear. Others can’t be avoided, but can be anticipated, particularly as far as the urgency is concerned. A good relationship with your tyre dealer is the key to a successful breakdown service.

Here is what you need to know to best manage an unexpected breakdown:

1. Avoidable circumstances that may lead to a breakdown

A breakdown mid-field is a difficult situation which causes a great deal of stress, a considerable loss of time and repair costs that are always unwelcome.

Yet in a good number of cases, certain breakdowns are avoidable or at least can be foreseen and managed calmly in a hangar on the farm.

Anticipating a breakdown is always a good precaution compared with the problems caused by an emergency breakdown service.

What are the early warning signs which can help you avoid a breakdown?

Excess wear

You can try and use your tyres until they are threadbare to avoid replacing them frequently and save money.

Yet this is not always a good idea, because the risk of a puncture or tear is much higher with worn tyres and the consequences could be disastrous.

This type of breakdown can cause an accident on the road, especially when your tractor is loaded and you have a high inflation pressure in worn tyres.

A hernia on the sidewall

When you notice a bump on the sidewall of your tyre, even a tiny one, be careful because the internal structure of the tyre may be damaged.

The causes may be multiple, including: a lateral impact caused by a branch, root or stone.

Demount the tyre and carefully check the inside to detect any break in the casing ply:

  • If there is a slight break at the centre of the sidewall: the tyre may be repaired using an internal patch and hot vulcanisation.
  • If the internal break is too large: no repairs are possible. The tyre must be replaced.
Hernia on the tyre sidewall that is too close to the bead and cannot be repaired
Hernia on the tyre sidewall that is too close
to the bead and cannot be repaired

Deep, visible cuts

Visible cuts on your agricultural tyre are generally due to stubble that is too hard, such as corn or sunflower stubble.

Certain are without any serious risk, whereas others may necessitate replacement of the tyre:

  • Minor cuts generally don’t cause any problem when they are located at the lug base or on the tip of the lugs.
  • However, large, deep cuts on the sidewall or which affect the internal structure of the agricultural tyre may necessitate a replacement, to avoid accidents on the road, above all with a high inflation pressure or at speed.

Which situations are a source of breakdowns?

Punctures on harvesters at the beginning of the season

Most punctures occur at the beginning of the harvest due to minor problems that had already begun to appear at the end of the previous season.

A simple tyre check-up during the winter makes it possible to detect irregularities that may seem insignificant, such as a badly located fissure or an impact mark. These signs may indicate a possible break in the internal structure which could get worse during storage or due to lack of use of the tyres.

Breakdown service for a combine harvester following a puncture
Breakdown service for a combine harvester following a puncture

Working with underinflated tyres

Insufficient inflation pressure can cause separation of the bead, loss of pressure or make the tyre come off the rim, obliging you to replace your tractor tyre immediately.

The tyre may come off the rim at any moment:

  • During work on sloping land: too much load transfer that is not offset by the trailing tyres increases the risk of the tyre coming off the rim.
  • Driving up/downhill: the total weight of the trailer will crush the rear axle of the tractor when you drive uphill, and inversely the rear axle will be totally weightless when your machine is facing down the slope. If the inflation pressure is too low, too much load transfer may lead to the tyre coming off the rim in the first bend.
  • When braking: if your trailer is loaded and your tyres are underinflated, the risk of coming off the rim is very high in the event of emergency braking, because the full load will be transferred to your tyres.
Repairing a tyre that has come off the rim on sloping land
Repairing a tyre that has come off the rim on sloping land

Excess speed without checking pressure beforehand

Adjusting pressure settings is directly related to respecting the speed rating indicated on the sidewall of your agricultural tyre.

If the pressure is too low and the speed too high in proportion, the risk of an accident increases significantly.

  • On the road: when you drive very fast and at a low inflation pressure, the tyre loses its shape on the ground due to the load. If it doesn’t have time to recover its initial shape during the rotation of the wheel as a result of the speed, the deformation is amplified which will lead to the rupture of one of the different tyre components (casing ply, bead, stabilising ply, tread….).
  • In the fields: if you exceed the normal working speed, the risk of coming off the rim will be high at the end of the line, because the load transfer to the opposite wheels when cornering will certainly be too high.

Too much load

Just like the speed rating, the load index is marked on the sidewall of an agricultural tyre.

If you go beyond a certain threshold, you run the risk of damaging your tyre rapidly, especially if you don’t have the right pressure settings.

During the harvest for example, you must manage the load carefully in order to make the best possible use of your tractor’s capacities.

Too much load results in the tyre being crushed and can cause a puncture, because the sidewalls which are less resistant than the tread come into contact with the ground.

Puncture on a loaded tractor
Puncture on a loaded tractor


2. Think ahead and check to avoid an emergency breakdown

The risk of an accident and breakdowns during production can often be avoided, simply by taking a few minutes to check the condition of your agricultural tyres on a regular basis.

Check the tyres when stationary

  • Check the sidewalls, the bead, the rim and the tread: make sure there is no impact mark or foreign body in these different areas.
  • Check the bolts and the wheel valves: look for signs of corrosion, or a loose screw, and make sure that the valve caps are still present to reduce the risk of loss of airtightness.
  • Inspect the state of the lugs: irregular wear to the lugs may be the sign of a problem with parallelism.
  • Check the tyre pressure: tyre pressure must be set in line with manufacturer recommendations based on the type of use (field/road) and the load. A small but regular loss of pressure, even minimal, could be the sign of a slow puncture.

Check the tyres while driving

  • Vibrations inside the cab: this is often the sign of an unsuitable inflation pressure, a mechanical fault or faulty tyre fitting.
  • A problem with steering: this happens when your tyre settings are wrong, or helps identify a problem with parallelism.
  • Abnormal bouncing or swaying movements: this may be the sign of incorrect tyre mounting or underinflation of the tyres. Make sure also that the weight is well balanced. If you have a heavy weight on the rear trailer, balance out the load by adding weight to the front.

If you discover one of these problems while you are driving, it is vital that you contact your tyre dealer rapidly to avoid the problem getting worse and leading to a breakdown.


3. How long does an average breakdown service take?

Ideally you will be able to avoid the breakdown service and manage the problem calmly in the farm courtyard.

For a breakdown service in the fields, the average response time depends on how far away the tyre technician is from your work site.
On average, a competent professional can deal with a puncture within 2 to 4 hours, if you are close to their garage.
If you are far away, on the other hand, you will have to include the travel time.



Tyre technicians are often overly busy at the beginning of the harvest season, for the reasons mentioned above.

If you have a breakdown during this period, you may have to be patient, because certain dealers who cover large agricultural areas will only be able to come out at the end of the day, depending on their work schedule.

For a rapid breakdown service your tyre dealer can come out to your farm with replacement tyres
For a rapid breakdown service your tyre dealer
can come out to your farm with replacement tyres


4. What rapid breakdown solutions are available?

When you contact your agricultural tyre dealer or technician, make sure that you take the time to explain the problem in detail over the phone, to allow them to prepare as well as possible. Tell them the size of the tyre that needs repairing, the accessibility of the machine in the field: sloping land, soft ground…..

With this information, they will be able to come out with a new tyre that is adapted to your situation, if they have your tyre model in stock.

ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION: If your tyre dealer does not have your tyre model in stock, a spare wheel with the same dimensions can be used. You will be able to continue work while your tyre is being repaired or until your new tyre is delivered.

A puncture can be repaired rapidly
An on-site breakdown service can be carried out
very rapidly in the event of a puncture

A puncture can be repaired rapidly

In the event of a puncture, emergency breakdown services are generally very efficient because they do not require a replacement tyre or a new tyre to be ordered, whose size corresponds to your machine.

Your tyre dealer can work rapidly on the vehicle on site without wasting any time loading up a replacement tyre.

BEWARE, on the other hand, that if you want the puncture to be easily repairable, it is totally unadvisable to drive with a flat tyre, whatever the situation. This will just destroy your tyre completely whereas a basic puncture is often quick to repair.


5. What is the real availability of your tyre dealer?

When you buy agricultural tyres, ensure that you maintain a good commercial relationship with your tyre dealer so that you will be able to count on them or their team of technicians for a more rapid breakdown service when necessary.

The advantages of a good relationship with your dealer are numerous:

  • A dealer who knows you well and who is certain of your loyalty will make sure that they are always available when you need them in an emergency.
  • If you are loyal to your dealer, the breakdown service will be rapid but not expensive; availability and emergency response come at a cost that can easily be negotiated if you maintain good relations.
  • If you have a major breakdown, your dealer can fit you with an equivalent tyre model until your new tyre arrives.
  • They can also help you choose the best tyre model for you, with good value for money to avoid breakdowns linked to average or poor quality tyres.
  • They can offer free advice on better management and optimisation of your agricultural tyres.



Good relations with your tyre dealer often condition the rapidity of their response time.

Certain problems such as small cuts on the sidewalls or punctures can be fixed with an emergency breakdown service.

However, in most cases breakdowns can be avoided thanks to regular check-ups and proper use of your tyres in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.

This may take a little time on a regular basis but will avoid you wasting a lot of time at the worst possible moment.


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” 

How to mount and demount tractor tyres

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Topic: Tyres technical advice

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