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Web bonusTire inflation

Agriculture.com Staff 07/07/2010 @ 9:10am

Follow the links below to learn more about the importance of proper tire inflation.

In the rush of the season, don't forget to take the vital steps needed for good tire maintenance. When inspecting your tires, there are many factors to consider. Firestone Agricultural Tire Division's manager of sales engineering, Len Wagner, recently gave us some tips for harvest-time maintenance of your farm tires.

Agricultural tires are designed to carry a specified load at a certain inflation pressure when mounted on the right rim. When these conditions are met, the deflection of the tires is in the ideal range, and optimum tire performance can be expected. If this combination of factors is altered, tire performance will more than likely be reduced. Taking a few extra minutes of inspection before hitting the field could save you time and money during this harvest season.

Traction in the field is often the key to an efficient day. A loss of traction can occur if the tread is worn abnormally. Isolated bubbles or bulges in the tread or in the sidewall because of separations can cause this abnormal treadwear. Damage can be a result of torn or missing drive lugs and deep abrasions in the tread/sidewall. Cuts or breaks that enter or expose the tire body should be promptly repaired to prevent moisture and foreign material from further deteriorating the tire. Finding these trouble spots early can deter you from having to purchase new tires.

Have you recently changed implements or upgraded to larger machinery? A major change in operating conditions is another reason to examine the performance of your farm tires. Increased implement weights, heavier loads pulled or greater usage on hard surfaces are all reasons to inspect your tires for damage.

Weather plays a major role in farming, and the elements can be especially hard on your tires. Long-term exposure to sunlight, ozone or electrical discharges may eventually cause tires to develop cracks. If those cracks extend down to the cord body, the tire should be replaced. According to Wagner, during road transport at high temperatures under heavy load, tires may get "hot to the touch." If this happens, Wagner recommends that tires undergo a 30-minute "cool-down."

A major culprit of lost time in the field is tire and rim slip. If repeated torque slippage of drive tires on the rim results in bead damage, replace the tire. In tube-type tires, it will create continued valve and tube damage; in tubeless tires, the tire will be prone to losing pressure.

"The three things that are vital to tire performance are inflation, inflation, inflation," said Wagner. Proper inflation for the load being carried is essential for optimum performance. A key to checking inflation pressure is using an accurate gauge. If a tire loses more than 20 percent of its rated pressure without explanation, the tire should be dismounted and the reason for air loss repaired. If the reason for air loss is unrepairable, the tire should be discarded.

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