Fix it: 5 expert winter tyre checks
Tyre experts Michelin were in touch this week to advise farmers and contractors about five key winter tips for tyre checks:
1. Check tyres for signs of damage
Accidental damage, no matter how small a cut, bulge or tear may be, will compromise a tyre's efficacy. Check that there is sufficient tread remaining, mindful that, tyre damage is more prevalent in winter due to the wetter conditions. Because water is a lubricant to rubber, sharp objects can penetrate tyre casings more easily than in the dry. Check also the tread area and sidewalls, right down to the wheel rim, to ensure any potential faults are found.
2. Prevent flat spots
Because machinery remains stationary for extended periods in winter, Michelin recommends that tyres are inflated slightly higher than standard operating pressures while being careful not to exceed the manufacturer's maximum inflation pressure. By doing so, tyres will be less likely to develop 'flat spots' so the risk of experiencing vibration on the road is avoided.
3. Consider technical applications
Think about your operations. Consider whether your current tyre is fit-for-purpose. The right tyre changes everything, particularly in certain, very specific applications.
Running the correct fitments at the right pressures is the key to getting the best from both tyre and machinery, while preserving soil structure. Before settling on a tyre, consider the type of soil, how big the machine is, its width or height limitations, the weight of any towed machinery or trailers, and the optimum pressures both in the field and on the road.
4. Watch those wheels
To prolong tyre life, wheels need to be kept in tip-top condition. Kerbing or hitting a pothole can affect a machine's wheel alignment. This can result in rapid and uneven wear on the rubber, and reduce fuel efficiency and performance.
If you suspect your wheels are out of alignment, ask your tyre dealer to carry out a wheel alignment check. Quick and relatively inexpensive, this is a sure-fire way to ensure your fleet will be heading in the right direction come spring.
5. Ask an expert
If in doubt - it is recommended you ask an expert in the person of your local Michelin-accredited dealer or by asking a member of their technical team to visit your farm, offer free, no-obligation advice on the right tyre for the application, calculate optimum pressures, and help you make the most of your fitments. In the words of Michelin's Gordon Brookes: "Preparing in advance is the key to achieving the highest yields in farming. Having a concise, well-thought-out plan for tyre checks and maintenance will help keep your fleet running efficiently and minimize disruption by allowing you handle any major maintenance work in quieter periods."
For more information on the topic, farmers can visit agricultural.michelin.co.uk, or tweet @MichelinAgriUK
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