“It’s just a choice, but everybody’s tires still have to be inspected, they still have to pull debris out; even in sealant tires, there is a method for pulling the debris out and doing a repair that’s considered a permanent repair for the tire,” he says.
“People are in a hurry to address or adopt technologies, especially if it helps them reduce maintenance and upkeep, but we always caution customers: don’t let the technology do all of it. It can’t; you still have to do the inspection,” he says. “The tire is still a really sophisticated envelop that holds the air, and it’s the air that holds the load, so you’re trying to keep the air inside, and if you’re not taking care of that tire, then the air doesn’t stay there and you’re stuck.”
What are Walenga’s top tire care tips?
“No matter how many things we bring out, no matter how puncture-resistant the tires is, no matter how durable it is for off-highway work, it’s air pressure, air pressure, air pressure, air pressure,” he says. “You still get the best overall performance by maintaining the tire and the vehicle the best that you can, and maintaining the proper air pressure so the tire can flex and deflect on/off-highway like it’s designed to—these are designed to be much more flexible than their highway counterparts.”
Choosing the right tire for the right application is the first step, though.
“Get the right tire for the right application for the right wheel position, and a tire that has a good quality casing, because you should be looking right off the bat to retread,” Walenga says, going down his to-do list. “Make sure it is mounted concentrically on the wheel, so you have to have good mounting practices, lubricant on both tires beads and wheel seats and using the right tools, like a safety cage. This is just rote for a tire technician, but you have to do all these steps to make sure it’s mounted concentrically so it rolls round. Make sure your wheels are round to begin with; that you’re not using damaged wheels.”
Constant inspection and a little TLC will also go a long way.
“You still have to inspect it as often as you can, remove debris from the tire, if it has a puncture, fix the puncture, don’t just add air to it and let it go,” Walenga says. “Fix it with the proper inside-out repair, watch your air pressure and tread depths so you don’t pull the tire too late, and make sure your vehicle is aligned. This is a tough one for an off-highway vehicle because it gets a lot of knocking around; sometimes people don’t spend as much time aligning an off-highway vehicle as an on-highway vehicle, but it’s still important; people think they last forever but they don’t.
“It’s odd to see an off-highway type tire that really gets brutalized comes out of service for irregular wear—if you can find irregular wear on an on/off-highway highway tire, you’ve either got he wrong product and the wrong application or you really haven’t done an alignment on your vehicle in a while.”