Tire Maintenance For Spring

Farmers are anxious to hop on the tractor and start spring field work. Before you do, it’s important to identify any tire problems now to prevent critical downtime later.

Brad Harris is the manager of the field engineering group with Firestone Ag. He says the first thing to do is to make sure the tires are inflated to the right pressure. Use load and inflation tables from your tire manufacturer and use a high-quality digital gauge.

After checking the tire pressure, take a good look at the sidewalls.

"Make sure there’s no major cuts or snags or the rubber’s been removed and we see cords. If we see fabric, that’s a good indication that we probably should be replacing that tire," says Harris. "We’re going to do the same thing in the tread area. Stubble damage, cuts, chips in there, if it’s just cosmetic and we don’t see any cords, we can continue to run that tire. It’s safe to use."

Measure the tread depth. If the tires only have 20%-25% skid depth left and it’s a wet spring, it’ll pay to put new tires on the tractor to get more traction.

Also, check the valve stems and hardware.

"If it’s a tubeless tire, just make sure that we’re not getting leaks around the valve stem. Make sure that we put that valve stem cap back on there so that we don’t get dirt in there, opening it, and losing air as we’re going through the field," he says. "And then the last thing is, let’s just check the nuts and the bolts holding that assembly to the tire. Also, the wheel weights. We’ve got 1,000 to 2,000 pound wheel weights inside of the rear tires, let’s make sure all of those bolts are torqued correctly."