Show Your Farm Tires Some TLC

It’s that time of year – hunters continue to haul campers to their land, ice fishermen are moving their shacks to frozen lakes, farmers are preparing equipment for the planting season and many Wisconsinites are carting wood trailers.

Some of the tires on these trailers and equipment haven’t been moved in over a year, and if they’re not maintained, you could be looking at a lot of money in replacing those tires, according to Brad Harris, Manager of Global Agricultural Field Engineering at Firestone.  

Tips to Maintain Performance of Farm Equipment Tires  

maintain Proper Inflation 

When the temperature drops, the inflation pressure in our car, truck and ag tires goes down, Harris says. When the TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) light comes on, it’s not a faulty sensor. Keep your tires aired up with the proper pressure to carry your load through the winter.  

Use a gauge to see the pressure. Tapping your tires with a baseball bat or hammer doesn’t tell you if they’re good enough. 

Proper inflation will also prevent blowing a tire. Low tires build heat and that excess heat breaks down rubber compounds. It happens over time, but when enough structural integrity is lost, it will blow, Harris explains.  

How often should you check tire pressure? 

  • Always check tire pressure before you begin hauling something that hasn’t been moved in a while.  
  • Check your tires daily when you’re hauling heavy loads, especially during temperature swings. 
  • Check other vehicle tires weekly. 

Stay on a smooth Route 

In addition to proper inflation, if you’re on a loader tractor to feed cattle for example, it’s important to stay out of ruts. 

Driving over big clods of frozen mud and dirt is like driving over a boulder. It can cause an impact break in the tire, and then the tire won’t hold air. Plan your route on smooth ground as much as possible year-round.  

Plan Ahead 

For those of you putting equipment away for the winter, such as at grain operations, inspect the tires now so that you don’t have to purchase tires right before planting season. Tires are in high demand in the midst of supply chain disruption. More than likely, it will take a few weeks to get the tire you need. 

Plan early to get the tires you need. Firestone found farmers could lose $681 in yield for every hour delayed during planting, Harris says. 

Maintain Used Tires 

Harris says if we have a dry spring, like-new ag tires will be fine. In wet conditions, used tires will lose traction. 

When it comes to patches, a couple are usually fine but if you need to put 20 patches in a tire or have a sidewall puncture, the cost becomes prohibitive and it’s time for a new tire. 

Protect yourself and your farm with the right farm insurance. Reach out to your local Rural Mutual insurance agent to create a policy that meets your specific needs.