Tire Selection Strategy for Compact Machine Owners

Regardless of machine type, application and manufacturer, preventative maintenance is the best strategy in avoiding downtime and reducing overall costs. However, if machine owners and operators dive in a little deeper, they’ll find that the parts and component selection process can also be used to achieve optimum machine performance and extended lifecycles.

In ranking parts and components by expense, tires are likely to be found at the top of the list time and time again as they can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Putting more thought into tire selection at the start can help avoid expensive replacement costs down the road.

Pneumatic vs. Airless Tires
Tires are critical for movement across any work space, so it is important to analyze jobsite requirements to determine which type of tire is the best option for each environment. Pneumatic tires are generally made with reinforced rubber materials and filled with compressed air to provide ground traction. The flexible support provided by pneumatic tires is great for general construction, landscaping, concrete and agriculture jobs, but harsh work environments may require something stronger.

While pneumatic tires absorb shock and vibration for a smoother ride, they can also go flat and require inflation pressure maintenance to ensure machine stability. Airless tires are designed to work in harsh applications where the risk for tire puncture is high, and they excel on rough terrain where pneumatic tire failure is likely to require costly foam-filled additives or cause unscheduled downtime. Additionally, an airless tire footprint is larger and firmer than pneumatic models providing improved machine stability. All in all, airless tires are best suited for rough applications that tend to cut or puncture the tire, or accelerate tire wear, which increases operating costs.

Tire Selection Strategy
Choosing the right tire for specific applications and job tasks can help extend maintenance intervals, prevent major repairs, ensure machine uptime and improve efficiency. Looking ahead, you can anticipate tire needs based on harshness of work environment, traction requirements, travel distance for job tasks and types of applications. The following list includes jobsite applications that are hardest on tires.

  • Demolition
  • Garbage and refuse disposal
  • Scrap handling
  • Recycled material handling
  • Landfill
  • Waste processing
  • Transfer stations and sorting

Machine owners and operators can get more from their tires by implementing regular rotations, load limit adherence and work area maintenance. Before fleet monitoring even becomes a priority, it’s important to implement a strong tire selection strategy, because the right tire can mean the difference between extended component lifecycles and increased costs.