Selecting proper wheel loader tires may make a significant difference between under-performing or excelling on jobsites. If the correct tire is chosen for the application, it can save time and money down the road.
A radial tire tends to be more expensive than a bias tire. However, the machine’s total cost of ownership may be lower because the radial provides better traction and flotation, and helps contribute to lower fuel consumption.
Radial tires have better control, especially at higher speeds, because the tires don’t flex as much. Also, a lower rolling resistance allows wheel loader operators to turn easier. The tires also don’t heat up as much when in high-speed applications, extending tire life.
Radial tires typically consist of two parts. The first is the casing, composed of one layer of rubber-coated steel cables that arc from one bead to the other. The second is rubber-coated steel plies — made up of steel belts — which are placed under the tread, helping resist cuts and punctures.
Radial tires are ideal in applications where traction, tread wear and distance are important factors. They are well suited for wheel loaders operated on finished surfaces for loading applications.
Operators looking for tires that do well on gravel, as well as pit and quarry applications where cutting the sidewall is a possibility, should consider bias tires. Bias tires have thicker sidewalls, which gives them a stable and smooth ride. The bias tires perform well because they are more repairable and the distances traveled are normally shorter.
Radial Vs Bias Earthmover Tires
In addition to radial and bias tires, there are solid tires, which are normally reserved for scrapyard and industrial applications, and flotation tires, which are wider, but are ideal in soft and muddy ground conditions.
Multiple Tread Patterns
After determining the best tire type for the application, the next step is to select the tread pattern or tire design. Wheel loader tire treads should be tapered to allow material to exit the tires. In wet or muddy conditions, the excess buildup can fall out of the tire grooves, giving operators more traction on jobsites.
For instance, a tire that is used in rock or quarry applications may have a shorter life span than a tire used in sandy, dirt or concrete applications.
The way an operator handles his machine also plays a part in the tire’s longevity. For instance, operators who spin the tires going into a pile could produce more tire cuts and also cause the tire to wear faster.
Operators should perform daily maintenance checks, including monitoring air pressure, to maximize tire life. Low air pressure may put more pressure on the outside of the tire, creating problems later on. Owners also have to make sure they don’t have too high of air pressure in the tire either. If a tire is under- or over-inflated it may cause the wheel loader to burn more fuel, which isn’t efficient.
Choosing the proper tire for the application can be confusing. However, with tips from product specialists and information from an independent dealer, maximum tire longevity can be achieved.