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Tyre Care Tips

Tire Care Tips

Tire Maintenance

Tractors are not what they used to be. Yet, no matter how big, powerful and safe the vehicle is, tires are still its only part in direct contact with the ground. So, whenever you are inspecting your vehicle, don't forget the tires. They play a crucial role in the performance and productivity of your machine.

Regardless of the type of the tractor or the tires, proper maintenance always prolongs their service life, performance and fuel efficiency. The first thing is to conduct regular inspections, recommended every 25–50 working hours. Any signs of premature wear can relate to problems that can be easily tackled but when ignored, can cause more severe – and expensive – problems. In addition to inspecting for possible damage, take a look at the overall performance of the tires at service. Key areas include ride quality and traction. 

See more: Read your tire

After inspecting the problems, it is easy to make adjustments. If you want to improve traction, ballasting and weight distribution are good key operations that can also affect ride quality. Consulting with the vehicle manufacturer helps to determine the optimum weight for the implement in question. Maintaining proper inflation pressure based on load is the best way to improve ride quality, performance and the service life of tires.

Rim Maintenance

Excessively corroded or cracked rims can be dangerous. Regularly inspect the wheel bearings for signs of wear and tear. Watch for rust or corrosion build-up, cracks, bent flanges resulting from road obstructions, and loose, missing or damaged nuts or clamps. Tighten wheel lugs according to your owner's manual.

When removing damaged rims or wheels from vehicle, always deflate tires prior to the removal!

 

Vehicle Maintenance

Good maintenance is the key for getting the best service out of your vehicle – and for long. The main source of information for suggested maintenance and schedules is the owner's manual or your tractor dealer but there are also some useful websites and forums online where to find support and best practices.

The most important maintenance activity is taking a good look. Inspect your vehicle regularly; check it every time before climbing into the driver's seat and again after work. Take time for a closer look after each season. 
 

Tractor:

  • Keep your tractor clean: remove dirt and grass clippings that can damage your tractor and contribute to rust and early wear. Water and mild soap works fine compared to mud, acids and other chemicals, but remember to leave time between washings to let the tractor dry out.
  • Replace worn clamps, bolts and screws and tighten loose connections.
  • Inspect the connection of loaders or other attachments. Make sure that there are no leaks in hoses or rot in the belts. Be alert to any signs of abnormal wear.

 

Oils, fluids and water

  • Check the oils, transmission fluids and water regularly, preferably daily, depending on hours of use. 
  • Replace the oil filter every time you change the oil - as a rule of thumb after the first 50 hours of using your tractor, then every 100 hours. Air filters need to be changed if they get clogged. Depending on usage, they may get clogged up in less than ten hours or after 200 hours of work, so regular checking is important.
  • If your tractor is equipped with hydraulics, check the pressure regularly and change the hydraulic fluid and oil after the first 50 hours of use, then every 200 hours (filter) and 400 hours (oil).

 

Batteries

  • Keep your batteries clean and make sure their connections are tight. Check the fluid level in each cell and test the battery with a voltage meter.
Tire Care Tips

Tire transport

Transporting heavy tires contains only few but serious risks that need special attention. First, a wheel should always be transported flat, on its side. If the upright position is required, it is important to carefully prevent the wheel from shifting with strong straps, for example. Second, never underestimate the possibility of a tire to explode during transportation. It is rare but causes severe damage when happens. It is important to lower the inflation before shipment.

Tire Use

Respect the load capacity relative to the tire’s load index - do not exceed it. If the tires are loaded beyond their maximum capacity, they can build up excessive heat, which may result in sudden and severe tire destruction. 

Maximum speed is what it says: maximum. Always adapt your speed and driving style to the load, weather conditions and road surface. Avoid overload – it can be harmful for the tires and shorten their planned service life. At greater speeds, tires have a greater chance to get damaged by road hazards.

Managing soil compaction

Soil compaction is the reduction of soil volume. It is caused by external factors and it leads to decreased soil productivity and environmental quality. During the past years, the threat of soil compaction has rapidly grown due to the dramatic increase in the size of farm vehicles. Consequently, farmers have become more aware of soil compaction and of the ways how to reduce the threat with the help of right tire selection, inflation pressure management and trafficking. 
First, the aspect ratio of the tire, that is, the height of its sidewall in relation to its width, is a relatively good indicator of performance. In general, lower profile tires (70-series, 65-series) provide a wider tread than an 85-series tire without increasing the rolling circumference. However, major improvements in carcass structure design and material development have resulted in performance gains and differences between same size tires. Flotation tires are good for carrying a load at lower inflations pressures.

Third, only wet soil gets compacted. Fields should not be trafficked if they are wet. A good rule of thumb is that if it is easy to make a ball of a handful of soil by kneading it, conditions are suboptimal for field traffic

Tires Love Running!

However, there is little point in sheltering your tires too much. They were specifically designed and built for rolling on the roads or on the fields – and they love it. A rarely used tire tends to age and cracks earlier.

Tire Care Tips

A safe mounting of heavy tires requires great care and has a strong effect on the driving qualities and the service life of the tires. At worst, an incorrect mounting of the tire onto the rim may cause the tire to burst, leading to a risk of serious injury. Therefore it is important that an agricultural tire is always mounted and demounted by a qualified professional, who knows the procedure from inside out and has all the appropriate tools for it.

Before mounting

1. Make sure that the rim, the tire (and the tube) are compatible, and that the tire is suitable for your machine. Use only rims recommended or permitted by the tire manufacturer.

  • Check that the tire can be fitted onto the rim (table).
  • Check the correspondence of rim diameter (DW16L x 30) and tire diameter (19.4 R30).

Note: No rounding up or down. There are rims in the market with seat diameters 16.5" and 16.1" – never fit 16" tires to these rims.

2. Mounting used tires/rims or tubeless tires

  • When mounting onto a used rim, check that the rim is clean and intact with no visible damage. Never mount a tire to a damaged or deformed rim.
  • When mounting a used tire, examine it carefully to see if there are any damages that must and can be fixed before mounting onto a rim.
  • When mounting a tubeless tire onto a rim, make sure to insert a new tubeless valve each time.

Note: When changing tire sizes or types, always check the relationship between the rolling circumferences and make sure that the combination is within the limits given by the tire manufacturer.

Preparing for mounting

Lubricate the rim seats and tire beads so that the lubricant is applied up to 2 inches higher than the rim edge on the outside of the beads. Also lubricate the inside of the bead in order to prevent damage. Make sure that the lubricant is suitable for this particular use. Never use silicone, antifreeze or hydrocarbon-based products.

Mounting the tire onto the wheel

To mount the tire on the wheel:

  1. Position the valve/valve hole at the bottom.
  2. Position the bead-breaker "window" away from the valve to avoid damaging the bead.
  3. Lift the tire into the rim so that the first tire bead is on the rim edge. Consider the rotation direction (arrow on the side of the tire).
  4. Turn the first bead over the rim edge and push it into the deepest rim well. Lightly tighten the valve nut. When fitting an inner tube, position it slightly inflated inside the tire.
  5. Bring the second bead over the rim edge and push it into the deepest rim well.
  6. Finish tightening at the valve.
  7. Center the tire by slightly lowering the jack to approach the center of the tire on the rim.
  8. Remove the valve core and inflate slowly to ensure that the beads are in the right position. When using inner tubes, make sure that the beads are not pinching it.
  9. Inflate to 1,0 bar* to ensure that the beads are in right positions. Do not exceed the pressure.

Note: *1,5 bar for tires with tire diameter <15"

Inflating and positioning the beads

SAFETY FIRST

Inflating entails the most remarkable safety risk in the tire industry, yet one that can be minimised by carefully observing all safety instructions.

Top 7 Safety instructions for inflating

  • Check that the tire is correctly mounted and the beads are in right positions
  • Use a safety cage
  • Use safety goggles, safety shoes and safety earmuffs
  • Use inflation guns with a long extension tube (min. 5 m)
  • Never stand in front of the wheel
  • See the inflation pressure recommendations in your tire manufacturer's manual
  • If you notice anything abnormal, deflate the tire and start over by checking the rim and mounting first.

Preparing for inflating

Check that the beads are in right positions, centered to the rim edges. Inflate up to 1 bar to ensure this. If not, deflate and lubricate again. Inflate to 1 bar and check again. Repeat this until the beads are correctly positioned.

Inflating

Always use an intact inflation gun with a calibrated pressure gauge, connected to the valve with an air extension tube (min 5 meters) and a clip system on the valve side. Never stand directly in front of the wheel.

Steps to inflate a tire are as follows:

  1. Remove the valve core.
  2. Tighten the valve nut by hand.
  3. Inflate to the target pressure (fitting pressure, operating pressure or storage/shipment pressure determined by the tire manufacturer).
  4. Screw on the valve cap.

After tire mounting, regularly check that the nuts are still tight, at first after approximately three hours of use.

Removing the rim

Never remove the tire when it is inflated. Also, use appropriate tools only in order to avoid damage.

  1. Ensure that the tire is completely deflated. Remove the rim nut and push the valve through the valve hole (when using inner tubes).
  2. Unseat the beads beginning from the removal notches (if applicable). When using a hydraulic unseating tool, place it between the tire bead and rim flange to force the bead off the seat.
  3. Carefully lubricate the rim flange and tire beads.
  4. Push the outside bead at the bottom into the well. Insert the tire lever under the bead at the top and pry the bead over the rim flange.
  5. Hold that part over the rim flange with one tire lever and pry the next bead section over the flange with another one.
  6. Holding the tire lever under the inside bead at the side of the tire, pry the rest of the inside bead over the flange.Holding the tire lever under the inside bead at the side of the tire, pry the rest of the inside bead over the flange.
Tire Care Tips

An appropriate storage of agricultural tires plays an important part in ensuring safe riding and achieving the tire's anticipated service time. If stored in unsuitable conditions, tires and tubes may suffer premature wear.

If you're planning to store the tires for a shorter or longer period, always clean them first. Tires easily accumulate dirt, dust and road grime. If all that sits on your tires for long, it will damage them permanently.

TOP 4 points to pay attention to:
 

Light

  • Keep the tires away from direct sunlight. UV rays have a damaging effect so protect the tires from sunlight. Also electric lights should be turned off.

Temperature

  • Keep the tires away from heat and heated surfaces. An ideal storage temperature is 5-15 'C (40-60' F).

Harmful liquids

  • Avoid any contact with liquids that may deteriorate the rubber, e.g. grease and petrol.

Vertical/horizontal storage

  • Upright storage is the best solution for tires. Standing upright means less stress on the tires. However, if the tires are stored mounted on rims, they should be stored stacked – but do not try to make too high towers!

In horizontal storage:

  • Reduce inflation pressure if the tires are stored mounted on rims.
  • Position the tires lug against lug.
  • Turn the stock over regularly.
  • Check for any moisture inside the tires.

Horizontal storage is not recommended for tubeless tires, exclusive small sizes that can be stored flat for max 6 months.

NOTE! Also ozone is harmful to the tires. Keep your tires away from electric motors, central vacuums or any machinery that can generate ozone.

Tire Care Tips

Liquid ballasting

Liquid ballasting is commonly used for agricultural tires to increase vehicle stability. The tire can be liquid filled in order to increase tractive power by extra weight and simultaneously lower the centre of gravity. In water ballasting, 75 % (max) of the tire volume is filled with water. In order to lower the freezing point of the liquid, salt (or ethylene glycol) can be added to the water in areas with a risk of freezing.

Liquid ballasting requires special equipment and water permeable valves, so it is recommended to always let tire professionals carry out the ballasting procedure. Tubes are needed to prevent rims from rusting during the process.
 

Adding liquid

To add the liquid:

  1. Jack the wheel up and position the valve at the highest point.
  2. Remove the valve core and connect an air-water fill and draining valve to the chunk. Air can be removed through the valve at the same time when the water is entering.
  3. Introduce the liquid into the tire until liquid starts to issue from the valve. No overfilling!
  4. Replace the valve body and inflate the tire to the recommended operating pressure. 
  5. After anti-freeze ballasting, clean all metal parts in order to avoid corrosion.

Important:

  • Always use pumps with rust resistant pressure gauges.
  • Always use safety glasses and protective workwear.
  • In water-salt ballasting, pour the calcium chloride into the water (never vice versa!)
  • When using another liquid than water (e.g. polyurethane), the warranties for the tire do not apply.
  • After liquid ballasting, the tire has only 25 % air of its original volume, so regular inflations pressure measurements are recommended.
Tire Care Tips

Recommended inflation pressure varies according to the load, the type of work being done, and the work surface. Particular machine-specific recommendations are based on the most demanding use conditions and on the maximum power and traction capacity of the machine. The goal is to ensure that the tire functions normally even when the load is unevenly distributed between the tires on steep slopes. In addition, tire manufacturers can offer recommendations based on their experience.

Running at wrong pressures can has a direct effect on tire wear and soil compaction but also on the vehicle performance. Wrong pressures can result in remarkable (20-40 %) waste of engine power due to tire slipping or increased rolling resistance. Consequently, incorrect tire pressures also have a severe financial impact, which could have been avoided. 

Complying with the recommended pressure ensures that the tire achieves its planned service life. Similarly, good inflation pressure maintenance is the only way to ensure the tire's reliability in all conditions. A visual check is easy to make every day or whenever working with the machine. On the market, there are also specific led-based pressure indicators, which give a warning when the tire pressure is below the recommended level. Tire pressure should always be checked in association with other vehicle services, such as oil change, even though the visual check or tire performance indicated no drop in pressure. After all, a slowly starting leak can cause sidewall damage or initiate tube damages even before the pressure change is reflected in the driving properties. 

A regular pressure check is the key of ensuring the achievement of optimum performance both for the tires and the tractor.

What if the tire pressure is too low?

Low tire pressure can lead to sidewall damage and chafing against the rim. There is also a danger that the tire rotates on the rim or damages the tube, especially during heavy draft work. Low tire pressure leads to loss of power through flexing and having too much of the tire in contact with the ground, and, consequently, to an increase in fuel consumption. It also causes heat to build up in the rubber, which makes the tire wear faster. If you are working in cold weather conditions (frost), keep in mind that the air inside the tire shrinks down when it freezes, which lowers the tire pressure. When using the tires in cold winter conditions, it is possible to inflate the tires to a slightly higher pressure. When transporting tires, it is recommended to reduce the inflation pressure due to safety reasons.

What if the tire pressure is too high?

Although the most immediate effect of over-inflation is poor use comfort, running tires at too high pressures can also cause a number of other problems. Excessively high pressure weakens the tire's puncture resistance and deteriorates the tire's ability to rolling over cleats or obstacles. When driving on rough roads with obstacles, the tire does not give in, which increases the vibration and shaking experienced by the machine operator. Grip is also reduced, because the contact area with the ground gets smaller giving less traction. Additionally, a too high tire pressure lengthens the time that the tire needs to reach its operative temperature, thus shortening the tire's service life. Compared to overpressure in a hydraulic system, excessive pressure causes a similar burden to the tire. Most importantly, excessively high tire pressure is a clear safety risk. The maximum pressure, defined by the manufacturer, may only be slightly exceeded when it is necessary to adjust to cold weather conditions.

Tire Care Tips

What should I pay attention to, when checking the tires?

In order to keep your tires safe and durable, regularly check the following:

  • Tread: are there cuts or other signs of abnormal wear, foreign substances or deformities?
  • Sidewalls: are there cuts, cracks, other damage or deformities?
  • Bread/Rim flange: are there signs of mis- fitment of chafing?
  • Valve cap: is it on and intact? Albeit mundane, the valve cap with its rubber seal plays an important role in preventing air loss.

 

What should I do if a tire is damaged?

The first thing is to prevent the damage from spreading when possible. At simplest, this can be done by lightening the load. Try to find out the cause of the damage. For example, a puncture does not always leave a clear mark on the tread but the tube can be damaged. Therefore, a tire with a puncture must always be removed from the wheel for careful checking.

If the damage can be fixed, let it repaired as soon as possible in order to achieve the tire's planned service life. Acting quickly can save a lot of money and time, as most damages can be repaired if caught early but will blow your budgetif left unnoticed.Always avoid driving on flat tires. After repair, check that there are no uneven spots inside the tire or on the rim, because such spots make the tube vulnerable for new damage.
 

What should I do if the tire pressure suddenly drops?

Try to find out the cause of the pressure drop. If the tube is leaking slowly, have the tire immediately fixed in order to avoid more damage.

 

How can I make sure that the tire achieves its planned service time?

Cuts, cracks, punctures or other damages certainly have their effects on the tire's service time, but the most common causes for premature tire wear are more mundane - and avoidable. These are: running them at the wrong pressures, operating in poor conditions, and having incorrect wheel alignment.

What if the vehicle is seldom used?

IIf the vehicle is not used for a long time, the rubber of its tires may crack more quickly than if they were frequently run. Make sure that there is no extra load on the tires and keep them away from direct sunlight. Cracking of the sidewall rubber indicates aging and must be checked by tire professionals.

 

My tractor is pulling to one side of the road. I checked the inflation pressure, and it was correct, but I noticed irregular tire wear. What could be the problem?

It is possible that your wheel alignment is out. This can start gradually from everyday use, but also originate from incidents, such as after hitting an obstacle. In addition to making steering worse and vibrating, incorrect wheel alignment also remarkably increases tire wear and fuel consumption.

Wheel alignment is fairly simple to carry out, and the procedure introduced below applies to the majority of modern tractors. However, it is useful to check your owner's manual first.

In principle, the wheels should be parallel, but a slight toe-out is preferable to a slight toe-in because of the toe-in pressure under load, such as in braking.
 

  1. Measure the distance between the wheel rims at hub height at the front and rear of the wheels. If the distance is greater at the front, you have toe-out; if at the rear, toe-in.
  2. If adjustment is needed, loosen the locking nut on the track control rod.
  3. Remove and discard the self-locking nut, usually located on the end of the track control rod. 
  4. Extract the track rod end.
  5. Screw the track rod end into or out of the track rod to shorten or lengthen the assembly as necessary.
  6. Reposition the wheel as appropriate and reinsert the track rod end; when the wheels are parallel secure with a new self-locking nut. Do not try to re-use the old one!
  7. Retighten the lock nut on the track control rod.