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Why is lifetime of my tractor tyres shorter than I expected?

Tue, 22 Nov 2022 | PRODUCTS


Selecting and purchasing new tractor tyres can be a long process, and requires considerable investment, so extending as long as possible those intervals between internet searches for ‘tractor tyres for sale’ or ‘tractor tyres near me’ means maximising your tractor tyres’ life – and minimising cost per tractor hour. Before you next start scanning tractor tyres price lists, consider this advice to identify why your last set of tractor tyres may not have worn as well as you hoped.

Wrong pressures

A significant cause of premature tractor tyre wear is incorrect tractor pressures. The most common issue is underinflated tractor tyres, either because they have gradually lost pressure – perhaps due to a small puncture or a damaged valve – or have been incorrectly inflated upon installation. Either way, insufficiently-regular checking – and, if necessary, adjustment – of your tractor tyre pressures may be a significant cause of shortened life, as under-inflation will result in excessive loading of the sidewalls, compromising their structure.

Over-inflation of tractor tyres – perhaps accidental when inflating them, or deliberate in the mistaken belief that it offers an advantage – will also shorten tractor tyre life. In this instance, the sidewalls come under excessive pressure, potentially causing sidewall cracking, while the tread will also wear faster on hard surfaces. Under- and over-inflation will both cause the tread to wear unevenly, with the former causing more wear on the outer edges, and the latter on the centre of the tread.

On-road driving technique

On-road driving technique can have a considerable impact on the speed of tractor tyre wear. If your road travel is extensive and involves a lot of slowing and stopping for junctions and roundabouts, the lifetime of your tractor tyres can be compromised if you brake late for these. Try to make as much use as possible of the transmission to slow the tractor ahead of a junction, and to do so smoothly and progressively in plenty of time. Tractor tyre integrity can also be compromised if the tread or sidewalls strike hard objects at speed. To avoid such impacts shortening tractor tyre life, try wherever possible to avoid on-road hazards such as potholes and kerb stones which can damage the tractor tyre carcase if struck at speed. And on concrete surfaces such as cattle yards, try to avoid hard turns that scrub and abrade the tractor tyre tread against the concrete, increasing its wear rate.

In-field operating technique

How you operate your tractor in the field can also have a significant impact on tractor tyre life, particularly if your tractor is required to perform primary tillage tasks on heavy and/or abrasive soils. The key issue here is wheel slip, caused by the tractor’s suitability for the task in hand and the way it has been set up to match that task. For example, if pulling a subsoiler or other deep-working cultivator, a tractor should be suitably weighted (at the front, and with rear wheel weights if required) to match the task. To provide sufficient traction and minimise slip, you should also ensure  the tractor’s four-wheel drive is engaged and its wheel-slip monitor, if fitted, is accurately set. All these factors will minimise slip and therefore also minimise tractor tyre abrasion and damage.

If you find the lifespan of your tractor tyres has been shorter than you expected, it is highly likely to be for one of the above reasons. Pay them a little more attention, and you will hold off for as long as possible the next time you need to search the internet for ‘tractor tyres for sale’ and ‘tractor tyres near me’, or pick through tractor tyres price lists.