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Contributed Article

Maintaining Rubber Tires

The broad use of rubber tires on farm tractors and machinery has resulted in a great saving in both time and operating costs since the time of steel wheels. There are, however, certain basic fundamentals in the care of tires that should be followed carefully if the owner is to derive maximum benefit from his or her investment. First and most important is to maintain proper pressure for the work at hand. Your best guide to proper inflation is the operator's manual or instruction book that covers your tractor. Read the manual and check air pressure regularly. Underinflated tires suffer from rim bruises, sidewall snagging, and carcass failure. Over-inflation increases tread wear (on tractors and ground-driven implements) and because of reduced traction, weakens the carcass and hastens weather checking. An air pressure gauge and a good tire pump are essential in maintaining proper inflation. Proper inflation is especially important where fluid weight is used since the air space is greatly reduced. A special air-water gauge should be used for testing tires carrying fluid weight.

Grease and oil are natural enemies of rubber. Protect tires from oil and grease as much as possible. Should tires become spattered with oil or grease, wipe them off with a rag dampened with gasoline - but do this job outside the implement shed to reduce fire hazard. Never allow tires to stand in barnyard acids. If spray chemical gets on the tires, wash it off.

Inspect tires periodically for carcass breaks and cuts and have them repaired immediately. No cut is too small to require attention, for if it is not repaired, further damage will result.

Use tractor wheel weights (according to manufacturer's instructions) to secure maximum traction and minimum slippage.

Avoid high transporting speeds. Implement tires, unless otherwise specified, are not designed for speeds exceeding fifteen miles an hour. Take added precautions as tires age.

Don't overload. Reduce speed and load on rough ground if possible.

Protect the tires of idle implements from sunlight.

When a rubber-tired implement is to be idle for a considerable time, block up the axles to take the weight off the tires, but leave the tires inflated.

Source: "The Operation, Care, and Repair of Farm Machinery", Twenty-Third Edition

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