What is the Right Inflation Pressure for Any Tractor Tire?

Determining the right inflation pressure for your farm tractor tires is extremely important for getting the optimal wear and possibly avoiding dreaded downtime.

Inflation pressure for agricultural tires is very simple. Farmers just need to inflate to the most demanding application. The hard part is determining exactly the most demanding application. Inflating tires to their maximum recommended air pressures is one approach, but it’s not the best way to deliver the maximum performance and benefits from your tires.

What is the right inflation pressure? The answer depends on many different factors, but generally speaking:

Inflate to the air pressure that is appropriate for the most demanding application for each tire. This critical information is contained in the tire manufacturer’s data book. The load and inflation tables show the speed range, the inflation range and the load range for each tire. Your tire dealer can also be a valuable resource.

A tractor tire operating outside of the specified range is a problem waiting to happen – probably sooner rather than later. The farmer may have a tire not suited for his or her application, or the farmer may need to adjust the speed or load to ensure the tire is operating within these boundaries. Damage is inflicted on any tire that operates outside of these limits and will eventually lead to failure.

The heaviest load the tire carries may not be the most demanding application. If that tire operates at higher speeds such as during the roading of one’s equipment, the highest speeds are likely the most demanding aspect, and air pressures will need to be set to account for the increased speed.

Check When Cold

Air pressures taken after the tire has been running will be higher than the “cold” air pressures and can be misleading. If you reduce your pressure after taking a warm inflation pressure, you likely will end up in an under-inflation situation. Under inflation of any tire can result in sidewall deflection that extends beyond the deflection parameters of the sidewall, resulting in tire damage.

Overinflation can also be damaging. Maximum “cold” inflation pressures should be adhered to very diligently. The air chamber determines the load each tire can carry. The larger the air chamber, the larger the load it can carry. When you have too small of an air chamber to carry the required load, it is sometimes tempting to over-inflate the tire. Increased air pressures can carry more load but exceeding the manufacturers’ maximum inflation pressure is not endorsed by any manufacturer.

There are some situations where a manufacturer may utilize extended load and inflation tables for certain tires in certain applications in their portfolio. These extended tables are not usually printed in their data books. If you have this information from the manufacturer, it is fine to follow their directions.

All manufacturers have buffer zones for inflation pressures as well as speed ratings. What is comfortable and reasonable for a manufacturer to recommend is up to them. Tire dealers are advised to follow the manufacturer’s specifications.

Farm tractor tires are expensive, down time is critical and tires do not repair themselves. Maintaining proper inflation in your Ag tires will unquestionably save you money and enhance your tire performance.

 

 

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