Tractor owners face a growing choice with farm tractor tires as tire technology is becomes more refined. Options vary for rear and front tractor tires and choices start with operational requirements like implement farm tires, traction drive tires and narrow row crop tires.
After you are finished with that decision, you will need to make a choice between radials and bias ply tires.
Rear tractor tires are much larger than front tires to give the tractor its traction and pushing capabilities. When shopping for this type of tire you will want to look at things like the tread depth and the design, as well as the radius of the tire.
Front tractor tires come in a range of tread depths and designs, also.
The choice between a radial or conventional bias-ply farm tractor tires is a tough one. Claims are made of 20 percent greater traction and less slippage in the favor of radials.
You may experience more sway with radials as your speed increases, but less bounce that is typical of bias ply. That point may affect handling characteristics and cultivation control.
Radial farm tractor tires may also reduce fuel consumption and increase productivity if the claims are true; after all, it worked on passenger vehicles.
You will find that radials are less forgiving of abuse and cost more. Some people say that by using the radials they offer a new alternative to going to 4-wheel drive or using duals. Less slippage should mean you can pull equipment much faster. This will also mean that your speed should increase and allow you to cover more ground, effectively completing more work.
Radials put down a longer footprint than bias-ply. To users of the old bias ply type, this may look like the radials need some air in the tire, but with more lugs on the ground the radial tires can ’bite in’ more on surfaces. The bigger footprint also stops the tires from sinking in as much, especially in turns.
All the power in the world is no use without it transferring to the ground. Tire type, size, the number of tires and the inflation pressure are extremely important for getting the most out of your tractor’s power.
As far as the type of tire, radial tires will only perform better if inflated correctly. Set a suitable load for the tire and set the proper inflation for that load. Tire size and the number of tires, whether singles, duals, is determined by the manufacturer and the operator.
Do not over-inflate radials because they look different than bias ply. A correctly inflated radial tire will have a significant sidewall bulge, unlike the bias ply. An incorrectly inflated radial will lose its performance advantages.
The tire gauge you use to measure inflation pressure can have a big effect on everything. Always use a good gauge, one that costs money and is easy to read.
Ideally, tire pressures should be measured in the morning or cold. As a tractor is used and the tires warm up, tire pressures will increase.
Remember that tires also lose pressure over time, so it’s a good idea to check inflation pressure every month.
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