Ten ways to prepare your tires for harvest.

As harvest season approaches, we wanted to remind you to give your tires and wheels a good onceover before you head out to the fields. Today’s equipment is built for capacity, but that capacity can really affect your tires — even on equipment that’s only a few years old.

Think of it this way: a fully-loaded newer combine can weigh more than 50,000 pounds. A newer grain cart loaded with soybeans can put up to 70,000 pounds of pressure on the axle and tires. Even if you’re running a dual-tire setup, those loads might be greater than the tires can bear. So make sure your tires and wheels are holding up before you head out for your harvest. Here’s how:

  1. Check the air pressure. Tires lose pressure when stored over time. Fill them to maximum pressure to safely carry the required loads.

  2. Check the condition. Are the sidewalls damaged or cracked? If so, high loads and higher speeds could cause failure.

  3. Check the age. Aging tires often fail, even if wear and tear isn’t visible. If your tires are more than ten years old, keep a close eye on them or replace them.

  4. Measure the tread depth. Tires that slip waste fuel and that wastes money.

  5. Know load capacity. It’s typically listed on a tire’s sidewall. We suggest weighing fully-loaded equipment before going into the field, so you know if you’ll reach the max.

  6. Consider IF or VF tires. They carry heavier loads at the same air pressure. A dual-tire configuration could also be beneficial.

  7. Check wheels and rims. If you see cracks, replace them. If they “crack out” under extreme loads, you’ll lose precious harvest time. 

  8. Check bolt tightness for correct torque. Over-tightened and under-tightened bolts or nuts can damage equipment and cause downtime or injuries. 

  9. Check torque every 50 hours of use. You don’t want bolts or nuts to come loose and cause damage or downtime.

  10. Clean the mounting surface when re-installing. Even small pieces of rust and dirt can cause wheels to become loose and damage drivelines, hubs and final drives.

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