Reducing your agricultural tyre bill may involve buying low-end tyres or an exotic brand, but with the risks and disadvantages of this type of approach, which is only economical at the time of purchase.
Alternatively you can opt for the appropriate preventive maintenance on a regular basis which will allow you to work with a quality brand that costs a little more to start with, but which you can make last twice as long with the daily working efficiency and peace of mind linked to the quality of the tyre.
In this article we look at the minimum maintenance that will help preserve your investment.
1. To reduce the bill, adjust pressure regularly
Pressure settings play an important role in the preservation of an agricultural tyre, and this costs nothing.
Tyre manufacturers recommend a pressure range depending on the load and speed to avoid damaging your tyres prematurely.
That’s why you must adjust pressure depending on whether you are carrying out handling work in the farm courtyard or working in the fields, with or without a load, at low or high speed.
Working at the right inflation pressure helps avoid wear, thus considerably increasing the lifespan of your equipment.
Regular pressure adjustments to preserve agricultural tyres
Avoid underinflation on the road
If you have some distance to cover on the road with your tractor, you must increase the pressure in your tyres to avoid damaging them too rapidly.
Low pressure on the road leads to overheating of the structural elements -the tyre’s rubber components in general and the tread in particular - making them more sensitive to wear.
An underinflated tyre flattens out under the weight of the load, causing abnormal wear to the lugs and shoulders, and placing considerable strain at the level of the connection between the bead and the rim.
Without the right pressure setting, the tyre will wear very quickly and lose around 25% of its useful life.
Avoid overinflation in the fields
When you work in the fields, lower pressure is recommended to protect your soil, reduce rolling resistance or slip, which means that your tractor will use less fuel.
If you keep a high inflation pressure for working in the fields, you will increase slip, especially in wet conditions.
This will cause wear to the tyre lugs and damage your soil.
2. Avoid overloading and driving at speed
Each category of agricultural tyre is designed for a specific use.
Whether it’s a standard tyre or IF/VF model, you must respect its capacities and limits when using it. If it’s overloaded or overused, this accelerates the rate of wear and there is a strong chance the tyre will have to be replaced prematurely.
Different types of strain will reduce the life of your tyres, but you can check them to preserve your equipment. Checking and complying with load and speed limits will cost you nothing, but will really make the difference after several seasons of use.
Respect the maximum load recommended by the manufacturer
Overloading has major consequences on your potential savings and profitability. It is effectively one of the principal factors that cause premature wear to agricultural tyres.
To transport heavy loads with standard tyres you have to increase the inflation pressure to compensate for the crushing of the tyre linked to the load.
- In the fields, overinflated tyres lead to a loss of suppleness, reducing the tyre’s self-cleaning capacity. The earth will accumulate between the lugs, which will cause excessive slip, especially in wet conditions.
- Inversely, if you choose to reduce pressure to limit soil compaction, there will be too much deflection in the sidewalls of your tyre because of the heavy loads, which will damage the internal structure of the tyre if you speed is not adapted accordingly.
If you do not comply with the load index recommended by the manufacturer, you run the risk of damaging your tyre rapidly, which will mean that it has to be replaced quicker than with normal use.
Respect the maximum speed limit indicated on the tyre
Speed also poses a problem and can rapidly alter your agricultural tyre, especially if you travel long distances by road. Tractor tyres by nature are not designed for road surfacing which is highly abrasive.
If you drive at high speed on asphalt with heavy loads, the tyres’ rubber components will heat up, provoking rapid damage to the tyre tread.
To extend the lifespan of your agricultural tyre, you must drive more slowly on the road while respecting the speed index linked to the load, as recommended by the manufacturer.
Speed has a huge impact on tractor tyre wear
3. To reduce the bill, carry out regular mechanical check-ups
A mechanical fault can cause your tyre to deteriorate rapidly When you notice abnormal wear located on one side of the tyre alone, possibly with a right/left symmetry, it is possible that you tractor has parallelism or camber error.
Check parallelism regularly
Misalignment is often a rapid cause of wear to agricultural tyres. Parallelism corresponds to the left/right alignment of the wheels which ideally should be perfectly parallel to the centreline of your tractor, but it doesn’t take much for them to get out of synch: driving over a rut, an impact to the tyre which seems harmless…
Checking tractor tyre parallelism
Beyond these minor incidents, over time and use your 4WD tractor tyres will inevitably end up with too much toe-in linked to mechanical strain.
To limit premature wear to your tyres, it is important to check your tractor’s parallelism regularly. An error of a few millimetres in the settings can effectively have major consequences on your tyres’ lifespan.
Check camber systematically also
Camber is the inward or outward tilt of the tyres corresponding to the angle of the wheels’ vertical alignment perpendicular to the surface.
A camber error is simply an inaccurate vertical alignment of the wheels.
Every time you check parallelism, checking and adjusting camber wont’ take much longer, but can win you hundreds of hours of tyre use.
A regular mechanical inspection helps you
keep your agricultural tyres longer
To extend your tractor tyres’ lifespan, the following points must also be checked regularly: The front differential, wear or play in the steering ball joints.
4. Prevent damages through regular visual check-ups
Most incidents that are likely to damage your tractor tyres prematurely result from problems that amplify over time, or are carried over from one season to another, such as an excess load that has affected the tyre sidewall, a small hernia, a minor cut…. etc.
Nevertheless, getting into the habit of carrying out a rapid visual inspection helps you ward off such incidents and avoid breakdowns mid campaign with the corresponding costs.
Visual inspection of the most important signs of wear
A rapid, regular visual inspection of your tyre will help you detect abnormal wear which could damage your tyre irreversibly.
Among the most important signs of wear, a hernia (bump) at the level of the tyre sidewall, even a small one, can cause the tyre to burst at any moment.
This type of problem can only be repaired if it is caught in the very early stages and this will avoid having to replace the tyre or even an accident on the road with a loaded tractor.
Regular inspection of tractor tyres
Identify the different cuts on the tyre
Your tractor tyre is confronted by several different types of strain and obstacles both on the road and in the fields: potholes, stones, roots, branches, lateral shocks, various objects …
By checking the structure of your tyre visually, you will detect plenty of smaller or larger nicks. Whilst the minor cuts at the lug base or on the tips of the lugs are not a risk, those on the sidewalls or deeper cuts must be taken seriously.
If you notice a very deep cut accompanied by a loss of pressure, even slight, you must demount the tyre to check that the structure of the casing hasn’t been damaged and carry out repairs if necessary to avoid the problem getting worse and to preserve your tyre.
Detecting an anomaly at the level of the bead
Certain parts of the tyre are very sensitive and irreparable, which is the case notably for the bead area. This is the part that connects the tyre to the rim.
If you are in the habit of driving with a heavy load on the road with underinflated tyres, you may find cuts at the level of the bead either at the base of the rim, the ply fold over or the end of the reinforced ply, thus making your tyre unfit for use because no repair is possible.
Visual inspection of the rim
A rim that is distorted due to an impact or rust can damage the bead of your agricultural tyre and cause loss of pressure.
To extend the useful life of your tyre, take time to inspect around the rim carefully to ensure that it is perfectly clean and that there are no traces of impact.
Don’t forgot to check the tyre/rim airtightness also and clean the rim flanges to eliminate any unwanted particles likely to cause friction at the level of the bead.
Regular cleaning makes it easier to inspect the rims
These different check-ups will prevent you from breaking down during operations and avoid the breakdown costs and production delays which could impact your overall profitability.
Tyre related savings cannot be made at the time of purchase, because a good quality tyre will facilitate your daily work and help improve your productivity.
On the other hand, general maintenance, regular adjustments and preventive maintenance are a real way of making your equipment last longer with massive savings in terms of your tyre renewal rate.
To help you clearly define the causes of premature wear on your current tyres, we have developed a complete guide for you to download free of charge "How to detect abnormal wear in my 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.