Having to replace tires on heavy equipment in your fleet is inevitable, but it’s still a key area to prevent unnecessary expenses. Neglecting tire inspections and upkeep greatly reduces their lifespan. It also increases the likelihood of machine and crew downtime due to flats and tire replacements, and it reduces safety, efficiency, and productivity at the job site.
Below are some important tips for tire maintenance to help you extend their life as long as possible and to cut down on lost productivity and machine-related safety risks. Also, don’t miss our post on rubber track maintenance to avoid unnecessary associated costs.
Tips for Tire Maintenance on Heavy Equipment
- Include all wheels in every pre- and post-operation inspection of heavy equipment
- Look over each wheel thoroughly for excessive wear, deep cracks, cuts, embedded nails or other material, and any other visible damage
- Don’t operate any heavy equipment that has obvious or possible tire damage; have a trained technician inspect the tire to determine the seriousness of the problem and make any necessary repairs
- Use the manufacturer’s manual to determine the proper tire pressure for each machine and application
- Check tire pressure before operation, before the tires begin to heat up from use; correct the tire pressure as needed
- Never operate heavy equipment with a flat or low tire, an over-inflated tire, a misshapen rim, missing bolts, or other problems with any part of the wheel
- Don’t attempt to repair wheels by welding or otherwise applying heat; tire repairs should be made by the manufacturer or an appropriately trained service technician
- Store unused tires upright on the tread—not stacked—in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight to prevent undue wear or aging
- Lift tires from underneath using flat straps (chains and slings can cause damage); don’t lift them through the center with a hook, as this can damage the critical bead area
- Deflate inner and outer tires of dual fitments prior to taking off any rim fixture from the hub
- Use all the same type of tire on a piece of heavy equipment; different types can mean variances in traction and handling that may cause excessive wear or damage to the tires or machine components