Cub cadet front end loader

EBay Front end Loader

Loader TireInvesting in the right tires can make a huge difference in the operation of heavy equipment, such as backhoes and front loaders. The right tires provide the maximum traction and wear, while the wrong tires wear out prematurely, without providing adequate service. Tire selection is no less important for a backhoe or front loader than it is for a Formula 1 racecar.

The biggest determining factor in tire selection is not the type of equipment, but how the equipment is used. Specifically, choosing the right tire for backhoes and front loaders depends on what type of surface the equipment is driven on. If it spends a lot of time on paved roads, then it needs a different type of tire tread than if it spent all of its time on dirt. Mud and sand provide a third set of problems, as the traction on these surfaces is not as good as on other surfaces. Proper tire selection maximizes traction for the required surface.

Many people struggle with finding the right tires for their heavy equipment due to the difficulty of deciphering the various tire types and understanding what works best for their application. When one shops in their local tire store, they have the expertise of the staff to help. When shopping on eBay, where a larger selection and better prices can often be obtained, one needs that expert advice just as much. Our intent here is to provide that expertise.

Pick the Right Tire Type for the Terrain

Before finding backhoe and front loader tires on eBay, it is important to first determine the type of tire that needs to be purchased. Backhoes use different tires on the back and front, while front-end loaders use the same size of tires on all four wheels. Selecting rear tires for a backhoe is the same as selecting those which are used on a front loader, with the same concerns and the same criteria to be taken into consideration.

Choosing Tread Pattern

The single most important factor in selecting heavy equipment tires is tread pattern. The tread pattern needs to match the terrain that the backhoe or front loader is used on. There are two basic types of terrain: hard and soft. Hard terrain consists of asphalt, concrete, and rock, even though rock is by no means as smooth a surface as asphalt and concrete. Soft terrain consists of mud, snow, and sand. Dirt can be either hard or soft, depending on the makeup of the dirt, i.e., how much clay and sand content it has.

The key thing to look for when choosing a tread pattern is the lug-to-void ratio. Lugs are the high parts of the tread, while voids are the low part. A high lug-to-void ratio is better for hard surfaces, while tires with a low lug-to-void ratio are better for soft surfaces. A high ratio puts more rubber in contact with the road surface, providing a stable, smooth ride, with even wear. However, the traction one receives from these tires is lower, especially in soft surface conditions.

Tires with a low lug-to-void ratio put less rubber in contact with the road at any one point in time. This provides better traction, especially when using the vehicle in soft surfaces, such as mud and sand. However, when driven on a hard surface, these tires heat up more and wear much faster.

For many contractors, their equipment usage is divided between hard and soft surfaces, making tread selection difficult. Buying tires with a high lug-void ratio, which provide the best pulling power in soft surfaces, requires sacrificing wear and increasing costs. On the other hand, if tires are bought to provide long life on the hard surfaces, they may not provide enough pulling power on soft ones. In this case, a compromise is needed.

Some newer tire designs take this problem into consideration, providing a higher lug-to-void ratio on the edges of the tire, and a lower ratio in the middle. These tires also have a deeper tread, providing longer wear before needing replacement. Tires designed in this manner provide the needed high rubber contact for use on hard surfaces, while still providing a deep, wide tread for great traction.

Tires with a range of lug-to-void ratios, including newer styles with different lug-void ratios on the edges and middle of the tire, can be found on eBay.

Choosing Between Radial and Bias

There are two basic types of tire casing constructions (the base part of the tire that the tread attaches to): radial and bias. Both types of tires can be found on eBay.

Many contractors use bias tires simply because they are less expensive. However, depending on the amount of time the backhoe or front loader spends driving on roads, bias tires may actually have a shorter service life, increasing the cost per mile or cost per hour of operation.

Bias tires have the cords laid from bead to bead at an angle (about 45 degrees). Adjacent layers are placed at the opposite angle, much like plywood. This creates a tire that is very strong, with a stiff sidewall. The sidewall is much less susceptible to punctures than on a radial tire. However, there is much more internal friction in the tire, creating heat and shortening the life of the tire, especially when driven on pavement.

Radial tires are manufactured with the body cords running parallel to each other and perpendicular to the bead. There are also a few cords running almost perpendicular to these cords, right below the tread, for stability. This creates a much more flexible tire, especially in the sidewall, which compresses more under load.

Due to their design, radial tires put much more rubber in contact with the road surface than bias tires do. Compared to a bias tire of the same size and inflated to the same pressure, radial tires provide more traction when driven on pavement. Depending on road conditions, radial tires can increase traction, fuel efficiency, and tire slippage performance by 6 to 14 percent over bias tires. For this reason, radial tires have largely replaced bias tires for many applications. The more time that a piece of equipment is driven on the road, the greater the need for radial tires is. The larger "footprint" of the tire reduces wear by as much as 33 percent. Thus, bias tires are worn out quickly on units that are regularly driven on pavement.

Looking at an eBay item listing for a backhoe or front loader tire, one can determine the tire casing construction by the tire size, discussed below.

Deciphering Tire Sizes

In addition to the tire's design, the size must be taken into consideration when finding tires for purchase on eBay. The tires must fit the rim they are to be mounted to. Additionally, tire size affects the amount of pull the vehicle has, as well as the top speed for each range.

Tires must always be matched in size. For a backhoe, this means that the back tires should both be the same size. For a front loader, all four tires should be the same size. Using different-sized tires causes premature tire wear and for the suspension system to wear unevenly. It can also affect the cutting angle of the bucket.

There are two tire size systems in use: conventional sizing and metric sizing. Conventional sizing is the older system. Tires may be found marked in either system on eBay.

Conventional Tire Sizing

Conventional numbering is still the most common system for any type of heavy equipment or tractor. Most of the tires listed on eBay are marked with this type of sizing. A typical size number might be 19.5x24 or 17.5R25. The first number is the nominal cross section of the tire in inches, and the last number is the nominal rim diameter in inches. These are separated by a "-" or "x" for bias tires or by the letter "R" for radial tires.

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