Make These Common Farm Tire Mistakes a Thing of the Past
It’s not just common for people to make the same mistake over and over again, it’s science. The human brain isn’t wired to learn from errors. Rather than admitting to making a mistake, it searches for anything but itself to incriminate, then reinforces the bad behavior. This explains why we see so many farmers repeatedly making the same tire mistakes. Fortunately, it’s possible to break the cycle by looking to the future instead of dwelling on the past.
Five Common Farm Tire Mistakes
Stop making these five common farm tire mistakes.
1. Not Regularly Checking Inflation Pressure
Whether your equipment is working on soil in the field or concrete in the yard, inflation pressure matters. Operating tires at the proper inflation pressure can provide a host of benefits, including improved performance and fuel efficiency, reduced soil compaction, longer service life, and less downtime.
To get the most out of your tires, know the correct pressure at which they should operate, get in the habit of regularly checking their pressure, and make adjustments accordingly. In a perfect world, farmers would check inflation pressure daily, but even getting in the habit of performing weekly or bi-weekly inflation pressure checks can pay big dividends. The best time to check tire inflation pressure is first thing in the morning before a machine has been run. Watch out for sudden cold snaps, a tire can lose a lot of pressure overnight.
2. Using the Wrong Tire
There is a tendency among farmers to replace old tires with the same brand and model that originally came on their equipment. The downside of this approach is that it fails to account for the unique challenges facing equipment. Application-specific ag tires can unlock the full potential of farm equipment and are purpose-built to address real-world issues facing farmers. When it comes time to replace your tires, ask yourself the following questions:
- What task(s) will the machine perform?
- What tires are appropriate for how the machine is being used?
- What terrain will the tires operate in?
- What loads will the tires carry?
- What speeds will the tires travel?
- What distances will the tires travel?
The more you understand the demands placed on a tire, the better you can match your tires to their intended application. You might benefit from a different tread pattern, width, or compound than your machine was originally fitted with. Having the right tire for the job can result in better productivity, improved longevity, reduced fuel costs, and less downtime, ultimately delivering better overall results.
3. Undervaluing Beneficial Features
The farm tires of today don’t look all that different from those of yesteryear—they’re black, round, and in many cases feature a bar lug tread pattern. That said, many of today’s tires feature advancements that help bolster machine performance, protect valuable soil, and make farmers more profitable.
- Radial tires are an increasingly common sight on farms as they offer major advantages in a number of applications over bias-ply tires. The benefits of radial tires include improved traction, reduced soil compaction, longest service life, more comfortable ride, better fuel efficiency, and lower total cost of ownership.
- VF tires take the advantages offered by radial tires and supercharge them. VF tires can carry the same load as a traditional radial at up to 40% less inflation pressure, or carry 40% more load at the same inflation pressure as a standard radial. The ability of VF tires to operate at low pressures and carry heavy loads enables them to improve traction, lower fuel use, lessen soil compaction, and improve productivity.
It’s not just in the construction of tires where innovation is occurring. New tread patterns—like the hybrid block lug found on the Alliance AgriFlex+ 363 and the multi-angle two-layer lug featured on the Alliance Agri Star II—are pushing farm tire performance to new levels, while new compounds are improving resistance to in-field hazards like crop stubble.
4. Waiting Too Long to Replace Tires
It’s tempting to want to squeeze every last hour out of a set of tires, however, this practice can cost you considerably more than you save. A tire near the end of its lifespan doesn’t perform as well as it did when new—resulting in inefficient work and greater expenses. Old tires also deform more than newer tires, negatively affecting their ability to evenly distribute the load they’re carrying, increasing soil compaction, and, in the end, hurting yields.
Operating tires near the end of their life is also tempting a tire failure—they’re simply more susceptible to damage. This is especially important to consider during busy, time-sensitive operations, such as during planting or harvest, when downtime due to a tire can cost you getting your crop in or out of the ground in time.
5. Not Working with Their Local Tire Dealer
Local tire dealers are an excellent resource—they’re the experts. Your local dealer can help you find a tire to meet your needs, at a price you’re comfortable with, and find the proper pressure to operate it at. Tire dealers can even introduce you to brands you might not be familiar with. For example, it’s easy to opt for a tire from one of the same brands you’ve always bought, but there might be numerous high-tech and feature-rich tires—like those from our Alliance and Galaxy brands—better suited to your application flying under your radar.
It’s beneficial for a dealer to ensure you’re satisfied with your tires—repeat business and good word of mouth are essential for success in small tight-knit farm communities—so work with your local dealer to find the best tire solution for you.
Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America
Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America’s (YOHTA) Alliance and Galaxy brands have a tire solution for every application on the farm and offer everything from high-tech VF tires to bias-ply workhorses. Don’t make the same mistakes you made in the past—work with your YOHTA dealer or rep to ensure you get the right tire, at the right time, and operate it at the right pressure.