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The Different Types of Tires (and How to Maintain Them)

By Jim Nelson from J and J Lawn Service

Tires are very often overlooked until something happens! A lot of times these incidents can be avoided.

Tire selection and proper care is a vital part of your maintenance program. By properly maintaining your tires, you instantly lower downtime caused by needed repairs and will extend the life of your tires; therefore saving money in the long run.

We have to concern ourselves with tires on our vehicle(s), trailer(s), and our equipment.

Failure to use and maintain the proper tires can have serious repercussions including accidents that could cause bodily harm, along with damage to our vehicles and equipment.

There are primarily two different classifications of tires available:

  • Radial Ply

  • Bias Ply

A radial trailer tire is constructed with steel belts of the tire running at a 90 degree angle of the tread center line.

A bias ply trailer tire is constructed with nylon belts of the tire running at a 30-45 degree angle of the tread center line.

The advantages of radial tires over bias:

  • Flexible sidewalls

  • Reduced fuel consumption due to less rolling resistance

  • A softer ride due to the layout of the plies, which gives more flex to the sidewalls and more stable contact with the road surface

  • Steel Belted — Results in tougher overall construction

  • Longer Tread Life

  • Wider Footprint

  • Less ground compaction and damage

  • Reduction in tire replacement due to less heat generated by the tire

  • Reduced machine maintenance costs

The advantages of bias tires over radial:

  • Crosshatch construction provides stronger/tougher sidewalls

  • Due to the design of the tire's construction, bias ply tends to roll straight as the trailer itself often does

  • Generally Less Expensive

Factors to consider when purchasing your tire:

  • Proper size

  • Load index on the tire is sufficient for carrying your desired load

  • Speed index supports the speed you typically travel

  • Depending on the application of the tire, they will often need replacing due to dry rot before the tread gets worn out

  • Choose the tire tread that works most favorably in your environment

  • Know your tire! See below pictures / charts in help understanding what all the numbers been on your tire

Maintaining your Tires:

  • Tire pressure - Check at least monthly if not more often, this is one of the biggest factors in the life of your tire

  • Keep tires balanced

  • Check tread depth frequently

  • Visual inspection of tires and rims for embedded objects or damaged / bent rims

  • Rotate your tires according to your manufacturer recommendations

  • Maintain proper wheel alignment on your vehicles

Both classifications of tires have their place, choose the one that works best for your application.

How to read the sidewall of your tire

Load Index and Speed Chart

Jim Nelson
J and J Lawn Service
UAG Member 2019
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What other tips would you share regarding tire maintenance? Join our forum to share your tips or ask other pros for advice.