Agricultural tyres maintenance: 6 tips on how to do it right
Maintenance of agricultural tyres can take two forms: preventive or corrective. It is certain that when the farmer anticipates possible problems, the costs of the operation are much lower — and so is the damage caused to the crop. In fact, some precautions are very simple and require only a few minutes of attention.
This article is dedicated to six indispensable tips to extend the useful life of farm tyres, actions that will also generate positive results for other components of the machine. Check it out!
1. Calibrate your tyres according to the manufacturer’s instructions
It is essential that you calibrate the tyre according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This is important so that the agricultural vehicles put less pressure on the soil in order not to compact it.
If the pressure is lower than indicated, the tyre will be deformed, out of its footprint. The treads will wear out quickly and unevenly, losing part of their traction capacity. In addition, it may cause the so-called rim-slip (when the tyre runs on the rim).
The result is that the rubber becomes more stretched, increasing its temperature and damaging its compositional elements.
On the other hand, if the pressure is too high, there is also the problem of the footprint. However, in this case, the tyre will become oval, highlighting the centre of the tread. As there will be less contact with the ground, the traction force will be reduced. This means that the tyre will wear faster and more irregularly from its central line.
The correct inflation pressure, on the other hand, will guarantee a better performance of the agricultural tractor, prolong its useful life, provide adequate traction, and distribute the load better.
2. Monitor the tyres’ internal pressure
After the initial calibration, it is necessary to control the pressure weekly. Using a pressure gauge, this procedure becomes easy for the farmer. If possible, always check before starting field operations. This will contribute to the machine’s best performance.
3. Calculate the tyre slip index
Tyre slip is important for reducing axle stress, making operation easier on components and increasing durability of materials. The problem with excess slippage, however, is that it takes away the traction force of the machine, contributes to increased fuel consumption, reduces performance, and wears out tyres and other mechanical components. It can be related to both uneven weight distribution and poor tyre calibration.
To assess whether the tyre slip index is correct, it is usual to monitor the tyre marks on the ground:
- undefined marks: indicate a high rate of slippage, making it necessary to increase the ballasting;
- clearly defined marks: indicate low slippage, requiring a reduction in the weight of the load.
To find out the correct index, a practical test is needed. The procedure is simple:
- make a mark on the side of one of the rear tyres, just to serve as a reference point for measuring the number of complete rounds;
- mark with a stake the initial point and, with the implement lifted (or without the implement), move the vehicle until the tyre reaches 10 complete turns, marking with another stake the end point where the reference marked on the tyre ended;
- Now, with the equipment lowered, make the same trajectory between the stakes, counting the number of spins of the tyre (consider the fraction of the tyre when stopping above the final mark).
For example, if the tyre has made 13 and a half turns to complete the stretch, it is enough to apply the rule of 3. So, the calculation would be like this:
- 13,5 – 10 = 3,5;
- 3,5 x 100 / 10 = 35%.
In this case, the slip rate would be 35%, a very excessive percentage — the ideal is to stay below 13%. It is then worth considering the ballasting of the vehicle and adjusting the tyre’s internal pressure. You can check in the tractor manufacturer’s manual the acceptable levels of slippage according to each type of soil.
4. Evaluate if it is time for a change
Regardless of the frequency and type of preventive maintenance carried out, you will eventually need to change the tyre because it has a limited lifespan. Factors such as the type of crop, the size of the machine and the region also affect the durability of these parts.
There are two ways to find out when it’s time to change your tyres:
- visual evaluation: observe if the traction bars are worn (a reduction greater than ¼ in relation to a new tyre can already show the need for replacement);
- vehicle behaviour: reduction in traction capacity may be an indication that the tyre has already reached its limit.
5. Take care of the storage area
Caring about storage is also part of farm tyre maintenance. It is not good if they are stored already installed. But if this is necessary due to some specific needs of the property, it is important to follow some recommendations:
- do not leave the tyre in contact with water, grease or oils;
- do not leave it near electric motors (they release ozone, a gas which is harmful to the tyre material).
6. Rely on experts for mounting, dismounting and repairing services
The mechanical procedure for changing agricultural tyres is similar to that of passenger vehicles. In the manual form, however, large equipment is needed for the operation. It is a dangerous procedure, so only skilled workers should perform the service.
This will ensure that the tyres are installed in the correct way, as well as ensuring the protection of all involved, since it is necessary to use PPE for the operation, such as safety glasses.
In general, tyres have the same composition. They are formed by a circular rubber tube and meshes of steel fibres and cotton, among other materials. The thing is that farm tractor tyres have a harder job than those of vehicles that run on roads. After all, they face all the stages of production and support all the weight of the machine.
It is expected that the tyres can also contribute to giving the tractor greater traction force, as well as reducing fuel consumption. Therefore, the maintenance of agricultural tyres is also fundamental to guarantee the quality of the operation, ensure soil preservation, and avoid any damages.
Do you have any doubts? Then, contact us! We will be pleased to give you more information!