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Kick the tires: How to care for heavy equipment tires

Kick the tires: How to care for heavy equipment tires

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Tires are too often an overlooked issue for heavy equipment operators who work in the construction and agriculture industries. Aside from the well-known costs of labor and fuel, tires are the third-highest operating cost for a wheeled piece of heavy equipment.

And, whenever there are costs, there are also opportunities to save money, which ideally increase profits. Above all else, though, it’s important to monitor the condition of tires in heavy equipment. Otherwise, owners and operators run the risk of not only encountering very costly repairs down the road, but also risking the safety of others nearby and the operators themselves.

So, if you are interested in protecting your bottom line either out in the field or at the construction site, then here is what to keep in mind when working with heavy equipment and keeping tires in good working order.

Have a tire maintenance plan and keep on track

No matter the number of wheeled heavy equipment vehicles in your fleet, a maintenance plan for tires is just about mandatory. This involves looking at tires each and every day in order to better manage their wear and fix small problems before they become serious issues – which can happen in a hurry at the worst of times.

A proper tire management program can be as simple as implementing a tire rotation schedule or a cycle for retreading. It could also be much more advanced, utilizing various technologies to look at data and analyze tire conditions.

No matter what, though, according to Equipment World, the best tire maintenance and management programs come down to three essential steps: tracking tires, finding expert advice from tire vendors and coaching operators.

Tracking tires

Tracking tires is a process that is as straightforward as it sounds. Operators can determine the cost per hour for tires by checking the hour meter on the equipment every time tires are replaced. This way, you can see which types of tires offer the best cost efficiency. Operators can also glean from this data even more info about how certain environments affect tire wear on specific machines.

Additionally, by tracking tires, operators can record how a tire failed and in what conditions to get a better understanding about how to better utilize or protect tires from similar failure in the future.

Ask your tire vendor

When in doubt, ask your tire provider how certain brands hold up under the conditions you are normally working in. A good vendor will be happy to help you look over tires and determine more ways to get the most out of them.

Some vendors may even help you monitor tires for wear. It never hurts to ask.

Train and coach operators

The final part of a tire maintenance program is making sure equipment and wheeled machinery operators know what they are doing and how to extend tire life as much as possible without cutting into performance.

Operators should be trained in knowing how to avoid exceeding limits of the machinery they are controlling. That includes weight capacity, haul length and haul speed. All of these factors affect how long tires last.

Operators should also know how operating equipment in adverse conditions, such as in wet conditions, can speed up tire wear in some cases. High temperatures can also change how a piece of equipment should be driven.

How to care for tires on heavy equipment

Let’s get down to the basics of caring for tires.

First, it’s critical that both owners and operators keep tabs on tires to make sure they are at the correct tire pressures. Train everyone who uses a piece of machinery to use an air gauge. Ideally, this would happen daily or at the very least weekly. According to Equipment World, a tire that is 10% underinflated will lose 10% in tread wear. Further, a tire that is 20% under inflated could lead to outright failure.

Operators should also know how to conduct a visual inspection on tires. Check for signs of wear on all areas of the tire, including in the tread and shoulder. Wheels themselves should also be looked over in order to identify any damages.

Finally, a cleaner tire is going to last long, so don’t skip regular washing.

Keep an eye on tire pressure

So much of a tire’s health comes down to its tire pressure. Proper tire pressure leads to better performance in heavy equipment machinery, which is in turn better for the bottom line of just about any operation, no matter the size of the vehicle fleet.

A tire that is improperly inflated is going to flex too much when in use. This will likely lead to eventual failure.

Be sure to find which tire pressure is suitable for your vehicles based on the manufacturer’s recommendations and loads typically handled out on the job.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to replace

By keeping track of tires and their conditions, you should know when it’s about time for replacements. Never run a tire to its limits, as a blowout can lead to expensive repairs and costly downtime.

As a rule of thumb, if a tire needs to be refilled again and again, then it may be time to get replacements installed.

Better tires mean better fuel economy

By keeping better care of your tires, owners and operators should see better performance in fuel economy. Now, that’s two valuable cost-saving strategies right there for you.

For best results, keep an eye on tread conditions, ensure proper tire width for each piece of machinery and always check to make sure tire pressure is where it should be.

Take the next step in heavy equipment performance

Tire performance is critical, but it’s not the only way to keep heavy construction and farm equipment that runs on diesel engines in the best condition possible.

Operators must also know how to properly clean air filters – and what equipment gets the job done right.

That’s where Filter Blaster can help you machinery. Our product has been proven to help save fuel, save money, extend engine life and increase its performance.

Browse Filter Blaster products today.