Tractor Tips

How Tire Pressure Affects a Tractor’s Performance

How Tire Pressure Affects a Tractor’s Performance

A good tire pressure can help give you the most out of your compact tractor. Likewise, an improper tire pressure can, over time, lead your machine to ruin. It is important, therefore, to understand the negative implications that improper tire pressure levels can have on your overall machine in both the long and short term.

Multiple manufacturers would agree that a tire underinflated by 10 % below the recommended levels can reduce the tire life by 15%. The tire pressure supports the structural integrity of a tire and can therefore degrade the tire if not at the proper inflation levels. Uneven wear and poor traction are other side effects of an underinflated tire. Another consequence of an underinflated tire is bead slip. Bead slip occurs when the bead of the tire slips against the tire's rim creating a tremendous amount of heat that ultimately destroys the tire. 

When tires are overinflated, an operator can experience discomfort while running the machine, and the overall tractor performance can falter. An overinflated tire reduces tire flex which affects the ride quality. Over time over-inflation can increase the wear and tear on the tractor.  Tire and tractor manufacturers agree that as little as a 20% over-inflation can reduce tractor performance by as much as 30%.

Proper tire pressure is something to monitor closely on any vehicle. But in the case of tractors, tire pressures can have a larger effect on pulling power, traction, ride quality and soil compaction than many people realize until they study the issue or receive training. Generally speaking, tractor tires by design use only a few units of pressure compared to tires on most cars and trucks. What you want to do is get those few pounds of tire tractor pressure in just the right spot given the tire and tractor specifications, the peak and minimum loads the tractor is carrying, and the nature and purpose of the tractor application. If you get it just right you will minimize soil compaction, gain traction due to having the maximum ground contact, and reward yourself with the best possible ride quality.

With both today's performance and long-term consequences in mind, bring your tire pressure gauge with you when running regular maintenance on your tractor. A gauge will help ensure the inflation pressure is correct because it takes as little as 2 psi to be 10% off the recommended tire pressure. Without a gauge, you might not be able to detect that difference. Also, know the tire package on your tractor. Various tire types have different tire pressure specifications so you want to make sure you are meeting the pressure requirements for the tire package you have. Your owner's manual will tell you the specifications for your tire package, but you can also call customer support (855-416-7091) if you have any questions.

Keep in mind that tires leak air over time and some tractors are used at irregular intervals, so check tire pressure regularly (the owner's manual recommends checking your tires daily). Also, keep the valve caps on the valve stem as they keep dust and debris from entering the tire. Understanding the signs of incorrect tire pressures help you see when your tires require maintenance. Knowing the tire pressure requirements for your tractor will help you prevent negative outcomes and ensure a long life for your tires and tractor.