The Pressure to Perform
Tire pressure is the manufacturers recommended inflation rate, variant on load, speed, and other components. Proper measures of tire pressure are read during cold inflation before the machine is operated. Checking the psi of each tire should be an essential part of any pre-use inspection.
Both under and over inflation of your machines tires will result in unnecessary wear, potentially leading to loss of control or accidents. Do not be fooled though, tire inspections should not just be done visually, tires can lose up to half of their pressure before appearing to be flat. This lack of proper inflation puts the tires at risk of tread loss and loss of structural integrity.
Lack of pressure will also cause bending when the tires move. This allows for build-up of internal heat, increasing resistance requiring the machine more fuel or more frequent stops to charge. The depletion of air may seem impossible in your machine’s new tires, but it is important to note that even properly maintained tires naturally leak pressure over time, up to 10% of the recommended weight.
A machine with low tire pressure is at a reduced level of stability even in the most perfect operating conditions. Additionally, it is more complicated to make quick maneuvers when pressures are low. Even though 5 psi below the manufacturer’s guide can seem insignificant, it is important to acknowledge that in some machines that can be 20% of the tire’s recommended pressure.
Having increased tire pressure leads to stiff, rough riding tires. The additional pressure allows for the machine to have less contact with the work surface below, which reduces stability. Over inflation can also lead to tires being easily damaged when contacting hazards that were not immediately noticed. Although it may be tempting to overinflate tires for heightened cornering response, it is important to keep machine operators safe with pressures kept at the recommended psi.
Performing with Confidence
Once you have determined the appropriate tire pressure recommended by the equipment manufacturer, you should add a pressure check to your pre-use inspection. This inspection should be done on all equipment, whether rented, leased, or owned. Recommendations may include several different pressures dependent on load, it is important to take the days tasks into account when determining the appropriate psi.
In several new machines tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) may be available. Please note, that even if this feature is installed, it is important to research how the monitoring occurs. With some systems, no alert will be set until the pressure has reached below 25% of the recommended weight. As we mentioned above, the reduced pressure can quickly cause accidents on the jobsite.
If the machine has been fitted for a different tire size than it was manufactured for, it is important to research the changes in necessary pressure. Many manufacturers include pressure recommendations for OEM tires and alternative tire sizes, be sure to reach out to your local Hugg & Hall for more tire specifications.