Preventative Tire Maintenance to reduce downtime
Over the years, I have seen many methods producers have used to either prolong the life of their tires or prevent the effects of winter storage on the following season. The truth is, there are only a couple of simple actions a machine owner should take to help maximize the life of their tires and ensure optimum performance the following season. Let's take a look at the steps you should be taking once harvest season has come to an end.
Tire Tips by David Graden
Over the years, I have seen many methods producers have used to either prolong the life of their tires or prevent the effects of winter storage on the following season. These would include parking their machine (tires) on wood or concrete blocks, taking weight off of the tires by raising the machine off the ground, covering tires with a sheet or tarp, increasing the air pressure to maximum psi, etc. The reality is, there are only a couple of simple actions a machine owner should take to help maximize the life of their tires and ensure optimum performance the following season.
After harvest season has come to an end, your machinery has been washed and you are ready to button up things for winter, I recommend parking your machine in a cool dry place. Washing your machine thoroughly will show evidence of any fluid leaking throughout the storage period. Additionally, make sure your tires aren’t sitting in chemicals, hydraulic fluid, fuel or oil. Petroleum based fluids will eat rubber and cause your tires to crack at the contact area.
Next, raise the air pressure of your tires to the maximum air pressure recommended on the sidewall of the tire. As the ambient temperature falls, so does the psi in your tires in addition to the natural loss of air pressure over time. When you return to use your machine, and pull out of storage for the season, reset your air pressures to the recommended psi. Your tire manufacturer representative should be able to assist you with this. As I have stated before, all Michelin Ag reps have the capability of weighing machines and recommending exact air pressures to help your machine perform exceptionally well.
Determining when a Michelin Ag tire is worn out is a great discussion with any end user. If you were to ask a producer to tell you when their tractor tires are worn out, they would probably give you a confused look and a response of, “When the tread is gone!”
Michelin Ag tires are standard R-1W with very specific rubber compounds and lugs designed to wear slower and more consistent than R-1 competition, as shown below. By design, when a Michelin Ag tire is deemed by many to be worn out, there is still plenty of tread with sharp biting edges with a consistent void ratio.
Rubber has a shelf life much like the bread in your pantry. Now that aromatic oils are no longer used in tire rubber, it begins to dry out as that tire ages.
For example, let’s say a typical tractor tire will last about 12 years, although the sidewalls are beginning to show significant age and reaching the end of their life- in many applications our tire will continue to complete the job efficiently with minimal slip due to design. Further, many folks would add a tube and use as much of the remaining tread as possible.
If you wanted to keep an eye on your tread and track my thoughts here, Michelin recommends taking tread measurements at the center of the tire, at the lug nose. If your tire pressures are set to recommended psi for the weight carried, your tires should wear nice and evenly across the face of each lug. If your tires are not wearing this way, you could have a mis-mounted tire or have a mechanical issue causing that tire to wear unevenly. Consult your manufacturer’s rep for recommendations or diagnostic.
For more preventative tire maintenance tips, check out https://agtiretalk.com/preventative-tire-maintenance-to-reduce-downtime/ where you can find more content from David and many other Ag Experts.