Ever stopped to count the number of tires you have on your farm? Now how many tire pressure gauges do you have? How many times do you actually check the pressure on all your tires?
Four tractor tires can cost you about the same as a new engine. That puts things in perspective – you wouldn't run your tractor without ever checking the oil or coolant levels, would you? The same should hold true for checking your tire pressure.
Incorrect tire inflation costs you money. Under-inflation of tires is the number one cause of tire failure according to Bridgestone's tire safety resource. They wear more rapidly and are more susceptible to damage.
Overinflated tires can be just as damaging. It can reduce traction performance, increase fuel costs and contribute to ride problems.
Accurate tire pressure measurement requires the right type of gauge. There are three basic tire pressure gauges commonly used on the farm: pencil, dial and digital readout. The key is to find the best one for your needs and that you will use regularly.
Tips for using tire pressure gauges
The Alberta Farm Machinery Research Center tested several different tire pressure gauges to best evaluate their performance on the farm.
Not all tire pressure gauges are created equal, use the right one for the job at hand and make sure it works properly.
No matter which style of gauge you prefer, the AFMRC concluded that when selecting and using your tire pressure gauge:
• Select gauges that are designed to measure in the desired pressure range.
• Select gauges with scale graduations that are easy to read in the desired pressure range.
• Check that gauges are accurate within the desired pressure measurement range. Gauge accuracy should preferably be checked against a known reference or at least against another gauge.
• Recognize that exposure to liquid ballast can affect the accuracy of any tire gauge whether designed to be used with ballast or not.
• Store tire gauges in a clean, protected and moisture free environment.
• Avoid dropping, jarring and exceeding the maximum pressure on tire gauges. If a gauge is dropped or over-pressured, check the gauge against a reference to see if it still reads correctly.
• Dispose of any gauges found to be damaged or inaccurate.