How to Select an Optimal Rental Equipment Tire
Rental fleet managers must strike a delicate balance when selecting tires for their equipment. They need to meet their customers’ expectations for performance and uptime while satisfying their own need for tires that deliver low total cost of ownership, ensure profitability, and keep customers returning to rent equipment. What makes selecting tires for rental equipment so challenging is that fleet managers do not always know exactly what applications, conditions, or even attachments renters will subject their equipment to.
Ultimately, equipping a machine with the right set of tires can help rental houses thread the needle between happy customers and healthy bottom lines.
Tires and Rental Equipment
Reliance on rental equipment is growing—it plays an essential role in the day-to-day operations of many construction businesses and was key in helping businesses in a variety of industries survive the low inventory levels resulting from the pandemic. According to Construction Business Owner, more than 50% of equipment on a job site is rented. Tires are among the most expensive consumable items on in-demand rental machines like skid steers and telehandlers, and as the hours pile up on these popular pieces of equipment, so does the influence tires have on both the bottom line of the rental fleet owner and their customers' business.
The Challenges Facing Rental Equipment Tires
Rental fleets are made up of a wide variety of equipment that differs in everything from size to capacity to usage; however, the requirements of their tires are fairly universal. Rental equipment tires must deliver needed traction, resist punctures, and provide long service life—often across a wide range of jobs with both skilled and novice operators.
While there is no one-size-fits-all rental tire solution, pairing an understanding of how customers are using equipment with a knowledge of how elements of a tire affect performance can help rental fleet managers home in on a tire that will best serve their needs as well as the needs of their customers. Two of the most prominent contributors to rental tire performance are tire construction and tread pattern.
Tires for rental equipment are available in a variety of different styles of construction, with some better suited to particular applications than others.
- Pneumatic bias tires are available in a multitude of sizes and tread patterns, along with their affordable up-front cost. This makes them well suited to a broad spectrum of applications and a common sight on rental equipment.
- Pneumatic radial tires are an increasingly popular option on rental equipment thanks to their increased puncture resistance in the tread area, improved traction, and superb ride quality. Radial tires also offer superior heat dissipation—heat is the number one enemy of tires—making them an optimal solution for rental equipment traveling long distances, moving at high speeds, roading, or working long duty cycles.
- Solid tires deliver puncture-proof performance, require minimal maintenance, and ensure maximum equipment uptime, which makes them a great option for rental equipment. Solid tires do have a higher up-front cost than other types of tires, but they can last three to five times longer than pneumatics. Consequently, solids deliver a lower total cost of ownership than other types of tires.
- Foam-filled pneumatics try to bridge the gap between traditional air-filled pneumatic tires and solids. Foam-filled tires offer improved puncture resistance over pneumatics and a lower acquisition cost than solids. That said, because pneumatics are engineered to operate with air, foam-filling can lower their ride quality and shorten their service life. Foam-filled pneumatics will also fail to match the performance and total cost of ownership of solids in extreme applications.
The more fleet managers know about the applications their equipment is employed in, the more informed decisions they can make about what type of tire construction will be best for their equipment.
Tread Patterns for Rental Equipment
Today’s pneumatic and solid tires come equipped with a broad selection of tread patterns, each with its own unique advantages.
- Bar-lug patterns, like the Galaxy Beefy Baby III and Beefy Baby SDS, are a favorite of both OEMs and rental houses. They’re an apt choice for rental equipment working on soft surfaces like dirt and mud thanks to the excellent traction they provide and their self-cleaning design.
- Block patterns, such as the Galaxy Hulk, Hulk SDS, and AT Grip Steel are a smart choice for equipment working on hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete. Tires with block patterns feature high lug-to-void ratios which place more rubber on the ground and resist abrasion.
- Hybrid patterns, for instance, the Alliance MultiUse 550, blend the best characteristics of both bar-lug and block treads to provide excellent traction on soft and slick surfaces while resisting premature wear on hard surfaces—ideal for machinery that may be used to dig out a foundation one day and work on a paving project the next.
Rental fleet managers will find a number of tires with versatile tread patterns that work well for a variety of applications and terrain—for example, our Galaxy Mighty Trac ND was designed to specifically meet the needs of skid steers and backhoes working in the rental industry. That said, the better rental fleet managers understand the demands placed on their tires, the more informed decisions they can make.
Other Considerations When Choosing Tires for Rental Equipment
Matching tires to the specific application rental equipment will operate in is one of the best ways rental fleet managers can optimize their tire spend. However, there are some other factors they should consider, the most notable of which is the age of the equipment they’re buying tires for. For example, the long service life and low total cost of ownership offered by a solid tire is a good investment for a newer machine that will be part of a rental fleet for the foreseeable future. Conversely, the low upfront cost of a bias pneumatic might make more sense for a machine that’s close to retirement.
Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America
Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America’s Alliance and Galaxy brands offer a wide variety of tire solutions for the rental industry. Our diverse portfolio contains an array of tire constructions, tread patterns, and sizes—all of which are ready to help rental managers improve machine performance, impress customers, reduce costs, and improve profits. Contact your local Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America dealer or rep to learn more about our tires and how your rental company can benefit from them.