Factors That Affect Solid Skid Steer Tire Life
Having to frequently purchase new tires for your skid steer doesn’t just make a dent in your budget - it can also lead to inconvenient and costly downtime. As such, it’s important to take measures to ensure that the tires on your skid steer will last as long as possible. Below, we will address some of the most notable factors that affect solid skid steer tire life.
The Application Environment
The factor that will have the largest impact on a solid skid steer tire’s lifespan is the application environment that the tire is used in. Typically, soil surfaces will result in the least amount of wear as long as there aren’t any rocks. However, hard surfaces such as asphalt or concrete, as well as rugged surfaces such as those in scrap yards that may have a lot of sharp steel objects on them, will likely cause solid skid steer tires to wear down more quickly. In addition, surfaces that have oils or chemicals on them will also accelerate tire wear by degrading the rubber compound. Thus, the environment that the tire is used in plays a major role in its lifespan.
The Way in Which the Skid Steer Is Operated
The way in which the skid steer is operated will also have a considerable impact on the lifespan of its solid tires. Ultimately, the rougher or more aggressively you drive your machine, the more quickly your tires will wear down.
For example, if the operator makes very sharp, aggressive turns, the tire will wear much more quickly. As such, the operator should make an effort to take it easy on turns when aggressive cornering isn’t required.
In many ways, skid steer tires wear similarly to car tires. If you were to drive in a circle that had a diameter of around 25 feet and you drove around at five miles per hour, you likely wouldn’t hear your tires squeal or screech. However, if you were to drive that same circle at around 10 or 15 miles per hour, you would likely hear your vehicle’s tires screeching as the rubber gets skinned on the ground. In other words, operators should strive to drive as slowly as they can in order to minimize tire wear.
The Chemical Compound Used to Make the Tire
One of the most notable factors that affect solid skid steer tire life is the chemical compounds used to make the tire. In most solid rubber tires, there are three main compounds that have the most significant impact on the tire’s ultimate lifespan. Such compounds are known as the base rubber compound, the cushioning compound, and the tread compound.
Base Rubber Compound: The base rubber compound in a solid skid steer tire is the rubber that makes contact with the wheel. In order to form a good lock with the tire and prevent the wheel from slipping inside the tire, this compound must be firm, tear-resistant, hard, and have an ample amount of grip. If wheel slip occurs even once, the seal of the tire will break, and the operator will have to press it off, repress it, and reseal it. In some cases, wheel slip may result in irreparable damage, and the tire will need to be replaced.
Cushioning Compound: The cushioning compound is used to create aperture holes in a solid skid steer tire. This compound will have a large impact on the suspension and shock absorption that the tire offers. To ensure the tire has the longest lifespan possible, the cushioning compound should have elongation, tear resistance, and flexibility, which will allow it to flex without prematurely cracking or tearing.
Tread Compound: Tread compound can also significantly affect solid skid steer tire life. If the tread compound is not high-quality, the tire will likely chunk out, crack, or experience premature wear that will shorten its usable lifespan.
The Pattern of the Tire
No matter what tread pattern your solid skid steer tires have, they will experience wear. However, you can offset the amount of wear they experience by choosing tires that have patterns specifically designed for the application and environment in which you plan on using them in.
For example, if you knew that you were going to use your solid skid steer tires on a variety of different terrains, you would want to choose an off-road tread pattern that is suitable for dirt, sand, mud, and snow. If you needed to use your solid skid steer tires on hard, abrasive surfaces such as concrete or asphalt, McLaren’s AT tread pattern would prove ideal. Ultimately, choosing a set of solid skid steer tires that are specifically designed for your application environment won’t just improve your skid steer’s performance - it will also maximize the lifespan of your tires.
The Amount of Cushioning the Tire Has
Another factor that can impact the lifespan of a solid skid steer tire—especially tires that are used in rocky or rough conditions—is the amount of cushioning that the tire provides. If the tire was designed to provide better cushioning, it will be able to absorb around rocks or sharp objects without cracking, tearing, or chunking. Thus, the tire will be able to have a longer lifespan.
The Shape of the Tire
The shape of the solid skid steer tire can also impact its lifespan. If the radius on the tire is too small, premature cracking may ensue. If the tire does not have a crown or the crown is designed poorly, the edges of the tire may tear, break off, or wear down more quickly. Ultimately, every detail regarding the tire’s design - from every radius to every contour - will impact how long it will last.
McLaren is a leading provider of exceptional quality skid steer tires that have been expertly designed to last as long as possible. Over 20 years, we have continuously implemented upgrades to our rubber compound formulations and tire designs to ensure they are optimized for peak performance and durability. To learn more about our solid skid steer tires, call (800) -836-0040 or contact us today.