Spring tire inspection tips

You’re probably getting anxious to hop on the tractor and start spring field work. Before you do, it’s important to identify any tire problems now.  Check tire pressure, valves and stems, nuts and bolts, and integrity of the construction. A bad tire can lose traction in wet soils, waste fuel, and increase downtime.

Brad Harris is a field engineer with Firestone Ag. He says they did a study that found it costs about $969 per hour during the optimal planting season if you’re waiting for someone to come out and fix the tire.

Whether to replace or fix a tire might not always be obvious. Firestone has a seven-step video on their website to help you.

"That helps customers walk through all the different things they need to look at to help them decide is it time that I need to replace this or am I going to be able to get another season or two out of the tires that are on my piece of equipment," says Harris. "So, things like checking for cuts and tears in the sidewalls and in the tread, looking at the skid depth, the actual tread depth of the tires. A good judge to say yeah, it’s time to buy new tires or no, I can keep running."

To do the inspection, bring the tractor into the shop and park it on a concrete pad so you can walk around the machine.

"We don’t have to lift the tire up, just do a physical inspection. Touch it, look over it real good, get a flashlight out, make sure it doesn’t have cuts and snags. We will ask customers to drive forward and backwards to look at the tread area that may have been on the ground. We just have to take our due diligence and walk around it," says Harris. "I usually tell people it takes about 15-20 minutes to inspect a set of tires on a tractor." 

If you notice uneven wear on your tires, it may be a result of improper inflation, or a sign that the tires need to be rotated.