You have got used to changing your tractor oil, checking oil levels, regularly lubricating the pins and axles, the hydraulic tool accessories…. However, maintenance should not be limited to the mechanical aspects of your agricultural machinery and taking good care of your tyres requires little time and can increase their lifespan by thousands of hours, boost your vehicle’s traction capacity and prevent damages which could bring your operations to a standstill…. The tyre is an essential part of your machinery and good maintenance will increase your productivity and save costs.
Here are the main points to bear in mind for good agricultural tyre maintenance:
1. What are the main problems linked to lack of tyre maintenance
Tyre deterioration tends to be very progressive, which is why we pay so little attention, yet a huge budget is needed for four new tractor tyres and you can easily double their lifespan with a little maintenance and servicing.
Incorrect tyre pressure is the agricultural tyre’s number 1 enemy
We often opt for the easy solution by using the average pressure recommended by the tyre manufacturer and readjusting it from time to time to ensure the pressure stays at the same level. Yet this is the heart of the problem for agricultural tyres, because this average setting will halve the lifespan of your tyres.
Incorrect pressure leads to maximum wear
Pressure, speed and load are the three elements associated with the same issue of durability
Excess speed or load with the wrong pressure accelerates wear, and unfortunately for agricultural vehicles you do not drive on the same ground all the time, like cars.
In the fields, low pressure is preferable to increase traction and reduce soil compaction, but on the road or on hard ground, you need to increase pressure to reduce rolling resistance and wear.
The best solution is to adopt the right pressure and the right speed based on your load.
So, to make your tyres last longer, you must:
- Adopt the pressure that corresponds to your load
- Drive at the speed that corresponds to your load
- Reduce pressure and speed in the fields
- Increase pressure to be able to drive faster on the road
2. What equipment do you need for good agricultural tyre maintenance
Tyre maintenance equipment is not very costly and really does help you save money in the long term:
This is indispensable to calculate the load for each axle. Check the pressure required for a given speed in the load/speed rating chart and stay within this maximum speed on the road to avoid wear.
These allow you to adjust tyre pressure; the compressor and the pressure gauge are essential. To avoid losing time when increasing tyre pressure, you will need a professional high-debit air compressor (250 to 300 l/m minimum).
These are indispensable to be able to rapidly measure the level of tyre wear and identify any overly rapid wear requiring adjustments or bring to light any other problem (excess load, geometry…).
Checking wear with a lug depth gauge
These allow you to take the measurements necessary for correct wheel geometry settings:
- Wheel alignment gauge,
- Camber gauge,
- Wheel rotation control tools to check the deformation of the rims or the wheel rotation balance
Rotation control tool
wheel alignment gauge
3. What are the recommended maintenance periods depending on the activity
Each activity does not require the same resources; low pressure is perfect for traction, tilling the soil and sowing, whereas higher pressure is ideal for carrying loads during harvesting or trips on the road.
Equipment servicing and tyre maintenance before and after each use depending on the work carried out will allow you to maximise the efficiency of your tyres, preserve your soil and avoid premature wear.
Depending on the work to carried out, the optimal period for tyre inspection may vary, but what is crucial is that you follow these different inspection steps.
Here is a table of seasonal tyre maintenance which you can refer to for the maintenance of your equipment.
Four types of inspection must be carried out regularly:
- 1. Identification of loads in order to make the corresponding pressure adjustments
- 2. Checking and adjusting inflation pressure
- 3. Visual inspection of the tyre and rim
- 4. Mechanical inspection (alignment, camber…)
Agricultural tyre maintenance table
|Harvest (wheat, barely, rapeseed, corn, sunflower)|
Identification of loads (weight)
Inflation pressure control
Wheel inspection (metal parts + tyre)
4. Not all tyres require the same maintenance
Your days are already very busy and saving time is vital, so high-tech tyres which limit maintenance time are more suitable for your activity.
If you work mainly in the fields
You should opt for a latest generation tyre, like the VF technology VT-Tractor tyre, which were designed with very supple sidewalls that are highly resistant at the same time. They can be used at low pressure in the fields and on the road without reducing speed, so you save time adapting tyre pressure with no impact on wear.
If you have a mixed use of your tractor
The latest generation tyres are designed to optimise durability and the number of hours of use. The result of improving the materials used, increasing the size of the lugs and the rubber content, optimising the structure of the casing and reinforcing the tread, these tyres have an extended lifespan of 20% more than former tyre models for the same use.
The most noteworthy tyre in terms of maximum resistance to wear is the latest tyre from the Bridgestone range, the VX-Tractor tyre, whose durability is so much better that the tyre manufacturer guarantees a 20% longer lifespan.
To take it a step further and increase the profitability of your farm, here is an ebook, downloadable for free, which explains the essential role of your tyres in the optimisation of your productivity.
Most people who read this article have also read some of the following articles:
- Info to help you know your agricultural tyres better and make savings
- Do you know the rules for storing your farm tyres correctly?
- The 3 best techniques for storing your agricultural tyres
- Do you know how to read all of the indications on your tractor tyres?
- All the secrets of tractor tyres, agricultural tyres or farm tyres
- Understanding the manufacturer’s technical information on agricultural tyres
- How to check the condition of your harvester tyres before the harvest
- Golden rules for managing tyre breakdowns during the harvest
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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.