Best Practices for Maintaining Solid Tires in Waste and Recycling Applications
Solid tires play an important role in keeping equipment like wheel loaders and skid steers productive and efficient in waste management applications. Learning how to identify the common culprits of sub-par solid tire performance and adopting some simple best practices can pay off significantly, both for your tires and your operation.
How Long do Solid Tires Last in Waste Applications?
Solid tires are a popular choice for machines working in waste applications thanks to their puncture-proof performance and extended service life—solid tires can last three to five times longer than their pneumatic and foam-filled counterparts. That said, a number of factors contribute to just how long a tire will last in waste management applications, including the surface they’re used on, the duty cycle, the maintenance program, the person operating the equipment, the hazards they face, and tire selection.
Although some factors, like surface and duty cycle, are difficult to control, a number of the aspects that affect tire life are manageable.
Solid Tire Maintenance Best Practices
Extending tire life is like putting money in the bank. Tires represent a considerable amount of the overall cost of operating equipment such as wheel loaders and skid steers. Ensuring longer-lasting tires not only maximizes your investment in them but also avoids costly changeovers.
Solid Tire Inspection
One of the big benefits of solid tires is that they require less maintenance than pneumatics—you don’t need to monitor inflation pressure or worry about flats. However, less maintenance doesn’t equate to no maintenance. You’ll still want to check tires regularly to clear debris from the tread and wipe off any oil, grease, or chemicals that have come in contact with the tire.
It’s also essential to routinely check your tires for wear. Prioritize the replacement of tires worn to the 60-J line, also known as the safety line, a marker found on the sidewall of solid tires that indicates when they’re ready for replacement. Operating solids below the 60-J line is a safety hazard and can lead to downtime. It’s recommended to replace press-on solids—like the Galaxy YM SDS Press-On (traction, smooth, lug)—when the overall rubber depth reaches 2/3 of the original rubber depth. Another issue to keep an eye out for is uneven wear, which brings us to tire rotation.
Solid Tire Rotation
Unevenly worn solid tires can make equipment unstable and increase the risk of an accident. It’s common for either front tires or rear tires to wear faster than their counterparts—depending on application—and incorporating tire rotation into the maintenance schedule of a wheel loader or skid steer is a proven strategy for ensuring all four tires wear evenly. The frequency of rotation will vary due to factors like application and duty cycles—however, a good rule of thumb is to rotate tires at the first sign of uneven wear.
Operators play a major role in the life of solid tires—burning rubber is also burning tire life. Everything from skidding to sharp turns to abrupt braking takes a toll on tires and speeds up wear. Investing time in training, encouraging conservative driving practices, and recruiting and retaining skilled operators can all pay off in longer tire life.
Select Application-Specific Tires
Solid tires are well-suited to many waste management applications, but tire construction is just one characteristic to consider when selecting an application-specific tire. Tread is another feature to focus on when choosing an application-specific solid tire.
Smooth-tread designs, like our Galaxy Super Smooth SDS, are a popular choice for many waste applications. Smooth tires have fewer voids for debris to become lodged in, provide more contact with the ground, deliver excellent longevity, and are ideal for work on improved surfaces. Equipment in need of more grip on wet or loose surfaces—such as those working in unimproved scrapyards—often opt for solid tires with tread patterns, such as R-4 industrial tires like the Beefy Baby SDS (with aperture/without aperture) or the large block tread found on the Hulk SDS.
Apertures are another feature of solid tires that waste operations will want to examine, especially those in busy and non-stop operations. Apertures are a series of openings engineered into the design of a solid tire to help it provide a more comfortable ride and dissipate heat (the number one enemy of tire life) more efficiently. Many popular solid tires are available with or without apertures.
Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America
Benefits like reduced downtime, longer wear, less maintenance, and better total cost of ownership have helped make solids the first choice for many skid steers and wheel loaders working in waste management operations. Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America’s (YOHTA) Galaxy brand offers an application-specific solid tire to meet the particular needs of equipment operating in waste management—whether it’s recycling paper on a smooth asphalt floor or moving scrap metal in a dirt yard.