Should I Repair or Replace My Farm Tyres?
When it comes to agricultural vehicles and equipment, downtime from damaged farm tyres can be costly. While you can often repair farm tyres, there are instances where you may need a tyre replacement but how do you know what is the best solution for you? Need help with your farm tyres now
Whether you have a fleet of agricultural vehicles or a single tractor, tyre maintenance is vital and knowing the type of farm tyres and signs of damage can help. Let’s take a quick look at the different types of agricultural tyres followed by a few examples of tyre cuts that may be problematic
Types Of Farm TyresFarm tyres are becoming more technologically advanced to meet the specific needs of agricultural activities. Whether you are driving on roads between your fields, transporting your harvest, working in the fields or farmyard, your tyres need to be in good condition regardless of application. There are many different farming tyres for agricultural vehicles and your choice depends on the type of vehicle and its specific role. Farm tyres are typically designed for loose soil work and have an open centre tread design with a higher lug-to-void ratio which provides more traction. It also allows the tyre’s point of contact to expand under the added weight while providing room for water, soil and snow to move through the tread. You also have the option to fit turf and construction tyres to compact tractors if required. Whatever you decide to fit, choose the right tyre for the job to help keep repair costs down and make the job easier.
Examples Of Damage To Farm TyresRegardless of where you drive or how you plough fields, your tyres work extremely hard and take all sorts of punishment. As a result, they are prone to different kinds of cuts and while some are harmless, others could render the tyre unusable. Some farm tyre cuts to look out for include the following:
- Several highly visible cuts on the lugs
- Cuts at the base of the tyre lugs
- Cuts at the back of the structure only
- Cracks in the tyre rubber
- Cut on the tyre casing
- Accidental tear to the tyre sidewall
- Cut on the base of the rim
How Do I Tell If My Tyre Cannot Be Repaired?Even if you take great care of your farm tyres by using the correct tyre pressure for specific activities, there is always going to be a risk of cuts or perforations. While some damage is more serious than others, knowing what to look out for can make all the difference. If you notice any of the following, you will likely need a tyre replacement rather than a repair.
Tyre Splits On SidewallDamage to the sidewall is often superficial and often linked to the normal use of a tractor on various ground surfaces. It may not necessarily be a serious issue but tearing or splitting of the tyre sidewall can lead to immediate loss of pressure. This would force you to stop the task at hand to avoid aggravating the situation. This may be caused by a sharp metal object, roots, sharp branches or any other type of debris. Remember, the tyre sidewall does not have the same level of reinforcement as other parts of the tyre which means it is more vulnerable to sharp or pointy objects. Even if the sidewall has superficial splits, there is no point in attempting a repair as it won’t last long. Any patch would simply peel off due to the repetitive and heavy-duty nature of the work involved. Repairing these zones could weaken the entire tyre structure so we highly recommend replacing the tyre.
Tread PerforationUnlike the sidewall, the tread is the most resistant part of the tyre. High-quality, low-pressure IF and VF tyres tread is specially designed with more layers of overlaid materials. However, even with the added reinforcement, the tyre cannot be repaired if the tread is perforated. There is a greater likelihood of the tyre bursting which could lead to an accident at any time, especially in case of increased pressure or heat when driving on the road. Aside from potential perforation, the tread can also become cracked. If they’re superficial, there is no serious risk as it may be due to ageing rubber, normal wear or prolonged periods of non-use. Sometimes you will even see small superficial holes caused by the impacts of crop residues or stones but these pose no real threat. However, pay close attention to deeper cracks as they are a sign of more serious damage to the tyre casing. A small knock could easily cause the tyre to burst so it is best to replace the tyre before doing any work.
Split At The Rim BaseIt may be best practice to reduce the tyre pressure to avoid compacting your fields but if you often drive on the road with a heavy load on underinflated tyres, there is a higher risk of causing splits at the base of the tyre rim. Frequent use at low pressure will cause excessive wear and abrasion to the plies and the reinforcement along the edge of the rim. This type of split will occur on the casing plies which makes it necessary to replace your farm tyres as they are irreparable. To avoid manually adjusting your tyre pressure when switching from one surface to another, why not fit IF (Increased Flexion) or VF (Very High Flexion) technology tyres. These are specifically designed for use at low pressure with a reinforced radial structure. They tend to be far more resistant to damage and more flexible.
Split In The Tyre CasingA split can also occur in the casing which usually requires a new tyre. The casing consists of several layers of a special woven structure responsible for the tyre’s integrity, durability and elasticity. It can be cut or punctured after a collision or driving over any sharp or pointy object. Once the internal structure of a tyre is damaged, it becomes unusable and irreparable as it won’t be able to cope with any increase in pressure. If you continue driving on this damaged tyre, the weakened structure can result in a tyre blowout at any time, especially if it is overly distorted. You should change the tyre as soon as possible.
Bulge On The Sidewall Of Farm TyresAs you would with normal car tyres, you should never ignore a bulge on the sidewall of farm tyres no matter how small. This bump can appear on the tyre sidewall during inflation and means that the tyre’s structure has been compromised due to a sharp object or a sideways impact. Farm tyres contain internal textile or metal plies that work as a belt to help withstand additional pressure and heavy loads. When inflating the tyre, this structural damage allows air pressure to escape which is only held in place by the rubber. No tyre bulge can be repaired as it puts the tyre at a real risk of bursting any time whether the vehicle is loaded or not. It can also burst regardless of the terrain or your driving speed. Fact is, it can even happen when at a complete standstill or after prolonged exposure to the sun.
The Importance Of Tyre MaintenanceRegularly inspecting your farm tyres will help maintain them while limiting excessive wear and tear. By increasing their lifespan, you could save several thousands of pounds and avoid lengthy downtime. To ensure your farm tyres last as long as possible, make sure you do the following:
- Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the recommended tyre pressure
- Inspect your farm tyres regularly to spot any issues before they become potentially serious
- Look for premature wear as this could indicate a pressure problem or physical damage somewhere on the tyre
- We recommend doing these inspections at least every 25-50 working hours, depending on the vehicle and type of farm tyres
- Make sure you fit the right tyres for the right job. If you use the wrong tyres, their lifespan will be reduced
- Follow the recommended load index and the maximum speed of the tyre
Tips From The Experts At TyreFixRemember, over-inflated farm tyres can cause soil compaction, lead to uneven wear and affect driving comfort. At the same time, under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption, make driving more difficult and possibly cause irreparable damage to the tyre casing. Considering the heavy workload of farm tyres, it’s important to follow best practices and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are still unsure about the right tyre pressure or which farm tyres you need, speak to our team for expert advice. Not sure whether you need a Repair or Replacement? Submit your photos on our mobile app and Tyrefix will be in touch a.s.a.p. or simply give us a call on (01530) 244 444. Sources: