Top Five Things You Should Know Before Purchasing Backhoe Tires

Buying Backhoe Tires

The backhoe is one of the more versatile and useful pieces of equipment—whether on a farm or construction job site. As one might expect, this equipment depends on having the correctly sized tires with good tread level to maintain the traction required for the job at hand.

New laws and stricter regulations being imposed offer an even greater incentive to keep your backhoe tires at an appropriate safe tread level to avoid any potential problems, hidden costs, or dangers.

If you are ready to replace the tires on your backhoe and are interested in knowing how to pick the right tires, then this article is for you.

Monster Tires carries backhoe tires for all makes and models and we want our customers to have the right information before making their purchase decision. Therefore, we have put together a list of the top five things to know before purchasing a new set of backhoe's tires.

What You Should Know Before Replacing Your Backhoe's Tires

When the need to replace your backhoe's tires arises, there are four main pieces of information you should have before you make your purchase.  Most of the information you need can be found on the sidewall of any existing backhoe tires. Listed below are the top five pieces of information you need for making the right tire purchase.

  1. Tire Size/ Rim Diameter
  2. Type of Tire: Radial or Bias
  3. Pneumatic or Solid
  4. Tire Tread
  5. Ply Rating or Load Capacity

#1. Tire Size and Rim Diameter

#1. Tire Size and Rim Diameter

Choosing the right tire size is crucial to ensure that your machine operates safely. The sidewall of the backhoe tire contains two sets of numbers to indicate tire width (sidewall to sidewall) and the rim diameter.

For example, a 16.9 x 24 tire size translates to a tire width of 16.9 inches and a tire that sits on a 24-inch diameter rim. Keep in mind the front tires are going to be smaller than the rear tires.

MonsterTires.com carries the following backhoe tire sizes:

Front Backhoe Tire Sizes

  • 10 x 16.5
  • 12 x 16.5
  • 14 x 17.5

Rear Backhoe Tire Sizes

  • 17.5L x 24
  • 19.5L x 24
  • 21L x 24

#2. Differences Between Pneumatic and Solid Tires

#2. Differences Between Pneumatic and Solid Tires

Another important thing to consider when choosing the right tires for your backhoe is whether or not the tires are going to be pneumatic or solid. This choice is usually determined based on your budget or application.

Pneumatic and solid tires each have there own set of pros and cons. You will find the pros and cons of each tire listed below.

Pros of Pneumatic Tires

  • Less expensive
  • The air inside of the tire cushions the ride.
  • Absorbs shock loads from impact.
  • Performs well in uneven, bumpy, and off-road terrain.
  • Quiet
  • Lighter in weight for easier maneuverability.

Cons of Pneumatic Tires

  • Tires require more force to start in motion.
  • Longer footprint makes the wheels harder to swivel.
  • Increased maintenance with the need to constantly monitor the air pressure.
  • Tires are prone to punctures resulting in a larger amount of flats.

Solid Tires on the other hand never go flat because they lack the air-filled chambers inside. These tires have more of a solid construction throughout.

However, these tires also have their pros and cons which I have listed below.

Pros of Solid Tires

  • No Flats
  • Lower maintenance
  • Resistant to premature tire wear and tear.
  • Best for use on tough terrains and applications such as glass.

Cons of Solid Tires

  • There is more of an upfront cost.
  • Solid tires are heavier and harder to maneuver.
  • They can tear up terrains such as turf or soft ground.

As shown above, solid and pneumatic tires each come with their own list of pros and cons. Some of the cons from each type of tire can actually become pros. For example, the heaver weighted solid tires though they are harder to move, can become a benefit by adding a counterweight to the load in your backhoe.

#3. Radial or Bias

Buying Backhoe Tires - Radial or Bias

When you are choosing a tire that air-filled such as a pneumatic tire, you will find that most common pneumatic tires have a bias design. However, you also have the option to choose a radial design as well.

Bias tires are constructed of nylon belts running at a 90-degree angle of the tread centerline. Radial tires are constructed of steel belts running at a 30-45 degree angle.

Bias and Radial tires have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Listed below are some of these advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Bias Tires 

  • Bias tires are less expensive.
  • The entire body of the tire flexes to give a smooth ride on hard surfaces.
  • Bias tires have good traction at slow speeds while traveling in a straight line.
  • Equipped with thicker sidewalls to resist punctures and cuts.
  • A better option when hauling heavier loads.

Disadvantages of Bias Tires

  • Higher road friction causing, tread wear, higher rolling resistance, and higher fuel consumption.
  • Sidewall flex is transmitted to the tread causing slippage.
  • Less ground contact causing a loss of engine power transmission and greater ground damage.
  • More prone to penetrations in the tread area because of the fabric inside the tire.
  • A cut on a bias tire damages 25 to 35 percent of the overall structure.

Advantages of Radial Tires

  • Equipped with more aggressive tread to provide an increased tread life and improved traction.
  • Sidewall flex is not transmitted to the tire reducing the chance for slippage.
  • The radial tire allows the machine to transfer more power to the ground.
  • Lower fuel consumption and less ground damage.
  • Radial tires consist of steel belts making them 80% resistant to cuts and penetrations to the tread area.
  • Easier to repair because only a very small part of the tire is damaged.

Disadvantages of Radial Tires

  • Radial Tires are more expensive.
  • More sidewall vulnerability due to a reduced number of plies.
  • Increased chance of torque splitting or zippering (puncture site expands when a load is applied).

As you can see, there are many different advantages and disadvantages associated with radial and bias tires. Radials seem to have dominated the tire industry as they do contain slightly more advantages in addition to a smaller amount of disadvantages compared to bias tires.

However, your decision between the two can be determined by multiple factors such as cost, terrain, and applications. When you have made your decision between radial or bias, it might help to which tire options are going to bias vs radial.

How to Tell if a Tire is Bias or Radial

So you have chosen to purchase a tire that is going to be either radial or bias but how do you know which tires are which category?

Tire manufacturers place a letter or a dash before the tire diameter number.

For example, If an X or a (dash) is displayed before the diameter number, then this indicates the tire is categorized as bias.

An R before the diameter number indicates the tire is radial.

#4. Backhoe Tire Tread Options

Backhoe Tire Tread Options (Construction, Turf and Agriculture)

It is usually best practices to choose a tread option that works with the applications and terrain that your backhoe most frequently works on. Choosing the wrong kind of tread pattern can cause your backhoe to lose traction. Here are three common types of backhoe tire treads.

  1. Turf Tires
  2. R4 Construction Tires
  3. Agricultural Tires

#1. Turf Tires

Turf tires are designed to have the maximum amount of surface contact area so as to not tear up grassy areas. These tires have the least amount of traction fo the three tread options.

#2. R4 Construction Tires

These tires are made from a bit harder material with slightly less tread than a typical tractor tire. They are designed to handle high weights on the pavement.

#3. Agriculture Tires

Agriculture tires are designed for muddy or loose soil surfaces that you may encounter on a farm. They have a very deep widely spaced tread that allows them maximum traction. This tread digs deep into the ground to provide stability for your backhoe.

This increased traction makes them a great choice for snowy terrain. This tread pattern does not provide enough traction and stability for asphalt or pavement.

#5. Ply Rating and Load Capacity

Buying Backhoe Tires - Ply Rating and Load Capacity

The ply rating is the term used to identify a tire’s maximum recommended load—load capacity—as well as an indicator of the tire strength. The ply rating information is also located on the sidewall of the tire. Typical backhoe tires have a ply rating ranging from a 6 ply to a 12 ply.

Both the backhoe size and workload capacity need to be determined to assess the weight requirements or ply rating of the tires. Thus the ply rating varies and a higher ply rating indicates more weight carrying capacity of the tire.

Final Thoughts

When choosing the perfect tire for your backhoe there are pieces of information that you will need in order to make the best purchase decision. We have gone over five main things you should know such as the tire size, solid or pneumatic options, tread patterns, ply rating, and radial and bias options.

Every manufacturer designs tires for backhoes that have slightly different makeup and benefits. It's a smart idea to check with the manufacturer of your backhoe to get a better idea of the tire options available to you.

For more in-depth information, consult a tire specialist at Monster Tires. We are your nationwide leader in industrial tires and tracks. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at tel: 530.292.6400 anytime. We are always in the office and ready to answer any of your questions.

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