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Time to buy tires? Do your homework

Jeff Caldwell 12/14/2012 @ 1:47pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

South-central Nebraska farmer Randy Uhrmacher recently did a quick tally of all the tires on his farm.

"I've been servicing center pivots the last 2 days. While pumping up tires I got to thinking, 'how many tires are on our pivots? This is taking a long time.' Doing a little simple math, I soon figured around 260. What? 260 tires on our pivots? That got me to thinking, 'how many tires does it take for us to farm?'" he says. "Let's see: 20 on one semi, 18 on two others, three more trailers at 8 a piece, 8 on a couple of tractors, 6 on a couple more, 8 on the planter not counting the 48 that don’t hold air, 6 on combine plus I’m guessing well over a 100 more I don’t want to bore you with. I’m going to say I could come up with a tire count over 500 very easy."

With more than 500 tires on a farm like Uhrmacher's, it's easy to see how much of an impact to your farm's bottom line finding the right tires at the right prices can have.

So, how do you know what's the right tire for you? Experts say it's best to start with something that's available locally so you can count on local service after you make the purchase.

"Purchase from a reputable retail dealership that stands back of its product and offers a quality guarantee on replacement," says Utah State University Extension ag engineer Von Jarrett. He also recommends the following when buying new tires, whether for on the road or off:

  • When replacing a tire, never choose a smaller size than those which came from the vehicle manufacturer or approved options as recommended by the vehicle or tire manufacturer.

  • New tires put on a truck, car or tractor will probably feel different when driving, so drive carefully until you are familiar with the performance and handling.

  • Tires of the same size, construction, and tread depth should be used in pairs on the same axle. By following this rule it is possible to mix present tires with other size designations or construction.

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