As you work with agricultural equipment, your main concern is likely that your equipment operates day in and day out. This includes the tires on which your machinery rests upon. However, have you ever stopped to take a look at your tires?
Located on every tire sidewall is a series of labels that help owners know a number of things from what the proper air inflation pressure is, what speeds you can safely travel, and even what amount of weight you can load. For ag tires, understanding this information is essential for ensuring not only that you are using the best tire for your particular application, but are safely operating your equipment while maximizing the lifespan of your tires. Learning how to read ag tire sidewalls isn’t hard – and can end up saving you time and money.
Read below to learn how to read the five most important pieces of information on an ag tire sidewall.
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1.) Tire Size
On the tire sidewall will be a large set of numbers and letters. This is known as the tire size label.
A tire size label is usually broken down into four pieces of data:
• First Numeric Code: The first set of numbers will give you the tire’s nominal section width. This is measured in inches or millimeters (mm becoming more common in recent years), and is the distance between sidewalls of the tire. This number could also be preceded by letters such as IF, VF, CFO/CHO which designates extra load capacity at the same air pressures or same load carrying capacity at lower air pressures.
• Second Numeric Code: The second set of numbers is the aspect ratio. The aspect ratio tells you the sidewall height of the tire compared to the width. For example a ’70’ means the sidewall is seventy percent of the width of the tire.
• Letter: If a letter – such as “R” – is present in the label, this indicates that the tire features radial construction in its manufacturing and design.
• Third Numeric Code: The final numeric value refers to the rim diameter in inches. This informs you about the size of rim that the tire would fit properly.
You can use a variety of different tire sizes (with the correct wheels, clearance, and tire class [to maintain proper gear ratios]) on most modern day ag equipment. The tire size should be carefully chosen when outfitting your machinery assist with your particular application and machine. Soil types, row crop spacing, soil compaction, wheel slippage, carrying capacity, highway travel, etc… All play a major role when deciding the best tire size.
2.) Speed Rating & Load Index Number
The largest amount of data on your ag tire is a listing of the speed rating and load index number for that particular tire. This information can be confusing to see, but once you know what the two measurements are you can understand your tire even better.
Load Index Number – You will find the load index number listed as a three digit code. This index number tells you carry capacity for that particular tire at it’s proper pressurization and speed. Typically ranging between 118-201 for most modern-day machinery. Dawson Tire and Wheel’s Tire Chart has most common load index markings, and their equivalency in both pounds and kilograms.