Choosing Tractor Tires

Originally Posted on September 11, 2018 by Everglades Equipment Group

Tractor tires are an important component but can often be expensive, and with a big selection it can be hard to figure out exactly what to budget for. That means it’s important to know what you need so you don’t get a set of tires that aren’t right for your operation. Fortunately all those options means there’s likely something specific that you should be going for, and unfortunately that means research and consideration.There are several different basic classes of tires used on tractors. Each has specialized size, treads, and other design aspects that makes them more suited for one type of terrain or another.

Tire Types

  • R-1 or agricultural tires. These are your go-to option for the vast majority of dryland farming operations. Their traction-grabbing lugs run at deep angles to perfectly grip dry ground.
  • R-2 tires usually boast deeper treads, which are helpful for wet and mucky ground found in rice paddies and other wet-ground operations. These aren’t commonly used, but knowing they exist is important if you happen to be one of the few who would make good use of them!
  • R-3 are known as turf tires and are great for both general use and on looser terrain like gravel or sand. They won’t impact the ground as much as other tire types, so they’re good when your operating on turf that doesn’t like too much disruption.
  • R-4 tires are most commonly applied to industrial or construction work. They offer much more traction through interwoven tread and lug design yet also reduce impact for heavy-duty rigs.

Most agricultural operations will find the best options are R-1 and R-3 tires, but if you’ve got wet land or are operating on hard ground, look for R-2 and R-4 tires respectively. Any of these can be used for the back tires depending on your specific needs. Front tires can also come in these types and styles, but usually it’s best to go with front tires specifically ribbed for extra grip. Single-rib tires (F-1) are great at penetrating deep into soil for extra steering control. Three-ribbed or F-2 tires also for control but offer minimized lateral side-slip from the raised center rib. F-2M have four ribs and are best for heavy loads on hard surfaces.

Bias Ply vs. Radial

This distinction might have been solved long ago in the automotive market, but tractor can still make use of the differences between these two types of tire designs. When operating at lower speeds, bias ply tires tend to be less expensive to maintain, repair, and replace, with more durable sidewalls that aren’t as prone to damage from obstacles and debris.

Radial tires are more expensive, but they allow for smoother operating and have longer tread life on harder ground. Radial tires also tend to have less of an impact on turf, so they’re a good option for those operating around more sensitive terrain. They run at lower air pressure as well, making them a clear choice for fuel economy and increased operational efficiency on harder ground.

Load Rating

Without a high enough load rating, your tractor tires won’t be operating efficiently. Load ratings come in the form of stars that designate the maximum tire pressure measured in PSI. These stars generally show up after the width and diameter ratings. The ratings are as follows: 1-star have a maximum of 18 psi, 2-star have a 24 psi maximum, and 3-star have 30 psi maximums. Those psi numbers combined with tire size determine total capacity.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed when there are a lot of choices for a specific component on your tractor, but with some of these tips you should be well on your way to finding the right type of tractor tires for your needs. If you’re after more tractor tips, or you’re just interested in checking out our stock of new and used equipment, head into Everglades Equipment Group. We have locations throughout Florida, including West Palm Beach and Clearwater. Come in today and speak with our team of courteous experts ready to answer all your questions and help you find what you’re looking for.

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