Course: Tyre management | Last Updates: 9th October 2015
Premature tyre wear can be caused by many things, but the most common causes are running them at the wrong pressures, operating in poor conditions and having incorrect wheel alignment.
With a set of front tyres costing from £500-3,000 or more, acting quickly can save money and time.
Incorrect wheel alignment is a common cause of irregular tyre wear. This can be costly, not just in replacing the tyres but also in fuel efficiency, particularly when on the road. Roads are least forgiving when the rubber is pushed sideways on wheels that aren’t parallel.
You will first notice this from the wear pattern on the edges of the front tyres. If the symptoms are spotted early enough, the tyres cna be switched from side-to-side, which will help with the tyre life.
But to stop it happening again, you'll need to adjust the tracking – a job that's fairly simple to check and adjust yourself.
It may be useful to refer to the operator's manual for your tractor first, though. If you’ve mislaid it, your local dealer may be able to help you.
The advice here is general, but it applies to the majority of current tractors. You will need something to measure the distance between the wheels; a telescopic pole is best, but a tape measure will suffice if you get someone to help you.
Wheel alignment is best carried out after checking (and resetting if necessary) the track width. In an ideal world, the wheels should be parallel, but as adjustments can usually only be made in increments of several millimetres, a slight toe-out is preferable to a slight toe-in because of the toe-in pressure under load, such as braking.
- Measure the distance between the wheel rims at hub height at the front and rear of the wheels. Compare the two; if the distance is greater at the front, you have toe-out; if at the rear, toe-in.
- If adjustment is necessary, loosen the locking nut on the track control rod.
- Remove and discard the self-locking nut, usually located on the end of the track control rod. You may need to apply downward pressure on the top of the screw as there is a ball-bearing in the assembly that may cause the nut to spin.
- Extract the track rod end (again, some force may be needed).
- Screw the track rod end into or out of the track rod to shorten or lengthen the assembly as necessary.
- Reposition the wheel as appropriate and reinsert the track rod end; when the wheels are parallel secure with a new self-locking nut. Do not be tempted to re-use the old one as they have a nylon inner which will have been ‘moulded’ to the previous position.
- Finally, retighten the lock nut on the track control rod. This job could save you hundreds of pounds.
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