Maintenance and Inspection Tips for OTR Skid Steer Tires

Anyone who needs off the road (OTR) skid steer tires for industrial, agricultural or construction skid steer equipment will know that they don’t come cheap. Made to provide good traction while carrying very heavy loads, they must be correctly inspected and maintained to ensure that they last as long as possible.

The good news is that it really doesn’t take much to do regular inspections and ensure that a maintenance routine is followed.

Here are some valuable tips for owners of OTR skid steer tires:

  • skid-steer-tire-maintenanceClean the tires regularly Be sure to hose your tires down routinely because this will make them easier to inspect. When you do the inspection, look out for bumps, bubbles, cracks and bumps, and anything that might have become lodged in the rubber that could make the tire unstable or puncture it.
  • Check the tread often It doesn’t take much time to do a quick visual check of tire treads, and if there is uneven wear, you can often pick it up in time to swap the tires around before damage gets so bad you have to replace the tires completely. It’s quite common with skid steers for one set of tires to wear faster (either rear or front) and for this reason it’s a good idea to rotate the tires whenever there is evidence of uneven wear and tear. Ultimately this will have the effect of extending the life of all your tires.
  • Make sure all four tires are engaged when the equipment is operated Correct operation of equipment is paramount and could save you a lot of money on tires. When the skid steer is operated so that all the tires are engaged on the ground, you will find that there is less wear on the tires. The reason for this is that if the bucket is too far below a load, the front tires often lift of the ground slightly, and this tends to place stress on the back tires. Proper training of drivers is therefore essential.
  • Watch out for destructive debris It is a fact of life that skid steers generally work in areas where debris is present, and that this can be destructive to tires. Of course it depends on the nature of the debris, but this kind of environment invites punctures and other damage. Drivers of equipment using skid steer tires must be careful and they should be advised to avoid any form of litter. Remember that foam-filled OTR skid steer tires can leak if they are punctured and pneumatic tires very often go flat. Avoidance is best!
  • Protect the rims of skid steer tires It’s not expensive to replace the rims of OTR skim steer tires, but there is usually quite expensive “downtime” when they have to be replaced. What happens when rims “catch” any sort of object, the retaining rims pop off. For this reason it’s a very good idea to use tires that have rim protectors incorporated in their design.
  • Monitor tire pressure The first thing to do is read the manual; this will give you the information you need in terms of acceptable tire pressure. Generally, with pneumatic tires, if it’s too low you are going to waste fuel, and if it’s too high, you are more like to get flat tires. Either way, wear and tear is likely to be uneven. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to buy a reliable tire gauge and to use it to check the pressure of tires at least once a week (though the ideal would be to test daily if the skid steer is in regular use.)
  • Store skid steer tires correctly If tires are exposed to sunlight constantly, or even just often, they are more likely to expand and crack. For this reason skid steer tires should always be stored in a place that is cool and dry, whether they are spares or fitted to equipment.
  • Buy tire brands that are consistent There is a real danger when it comes to using mismatched tires LINK TO MISMATCHED TIRES ARTICLE with OTR vehicles and equipment, and it is vital to avoid installing different models or brands of tires. Because every brand and model within each brand has its own distinctive design, if tires are mismatched (in other words not consistent) this can cause uneven wear and tear, not only on the tires, but also on the skid steer. So be very careful!