How Application-Specific OTR Tires Can Save You Money

How Application-Specific OTR Tires Can Save You Money

OTR Tire Tips to Ease Expenses 

In today’s economy, rising costs are top of mind for everyone these days, including construction and mining equipment fleet managers. Building material prices are up almost 20% from April 2021 to April 2022, diesel prices continue to hit record highs, and labor costs are growing. The average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees in construction increased 6.3% from a year ago, the highest gain in 40 years.  

Although there is no silver bullet for rising expenses, application-specific OTR tires offer some simple solutions to those looking to control costs.


Application-Specific OTR Tires

Application-specific tires are engineered to meet the unique demands imposed by particular jobs, such as the weight of the equipment itself and the load it will carry; the speed and distance it will travel; and the terrain in which it will operate. Outfitting equipment with application-specific tires is an excellent step to take toward controlling costs. 

Tires affect the bottom line of a business and influence everything from the performance of equipment to downtime to fuel efficiency. Application-specific tires are also generally the longer-lasting option and provide a lower total cost of ownership. A number of factors go into designing and selecting an application-specific OTR tire, including:

  • Tire construction (solid, radial, or bias) 
  • Tread pattern 
  • Tread depth 
  • Rubber compound 

The Tire and Rim Association (TRA) has developed a uniform classification system for OTR tires—which is followed by all manufacturers—to assist in understanding a tire’s intended application. 

TRA classifications are not a marketing designation, rather, they reflect important design, engineering, and manufacturing factors specific to the demands placed on tires used for different machines and circumstances. It’s recommended to always use tires for applications within their categories. 

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of an OTR Tire

Tire price is important to cost-conscious construction businesses and mine operations, especially when budgets are squeezed by shrinking margins and profits. Tires are one of the most expensive consumable items on heavy and compact equipment alike and it’s easy to think that cutting down the upfront cost of tires is an easy way to save money. However, price isn’t everything when choosing a tire, and a tire’s sticker price is a poor indicator of its value. 

Inexpensive tires—and tires ill-suited to an application—can add costs (like downtime and more frequent replacement), cut into margins, and ultimately end up more expensive in the long run than tires with higher upfront costs. Total cost of ownership (TCO) provides a better understanding of the true cost of tires by factoring in variables like the impact tires have on equipment performance, downtime, and fuel consumption along with other considerations such as the length of their service life. 

Provide Productivity 

Equipping your machines with an application-specific tire means having the right tire—the optimal construction, tread pattern, rubber compound—for the right job and boosting the productivity of your entire operation. Application-specific tires can increase traction, provide better cut- and chip- resistance, reduce downtime, and improve operator comfort and safety—all of which add up to greater operational productivity.

Decrease Downtime 

Application-specific tires help prevent equipment downtime—whether it's planned downtime, such as for more frequent tire replacement, or unplanned downtime, like in the event of a tire failure. It’s difficult to calculate the exact cost of downtime, but it’s often devastating to today’s busy and often tightly staffed operations. 

The expenses of tire-related downtime are numerous and can ripple throughout an operation. Construction companies and mining operations must absorb the price of the machine not working until a tire repair or replacement is made. It’s often the collateral damage of downtime that costs the most. Consider the loss of productivity for those who depend on a relied-upon piece of equipment that is out of service—it can idle other equipment, sideline workers, and wreak havoc on schedules, keeping busy operations from completing old jobs and moving on to new ones.

Improve Fuel Efficiency 

Construction companies and mining operations can’t control the price of fuel, but they can take steps to improve their fuel efficiency, one of which is ensuring their equipment is running on application-specific tires. Radials have approximately 20% less rolling resistance than bias tires and can dramatically improve fuel consumption, and even incremental gains in fuel efficiency can pay big dividends at today’s record fuel prices. OTR tire tread patterns that deliver needed traction can limit slipping, sliding, and unnecessary use of fuel. 

Tire Maintenance 

Tire selection plays a significant role in saving construction companies and mining operations money—so does how they treat their tires. The simplest method to keep tires optimally operating is to ensure they’re inflated to the proper pressure. The U.S. Department of Energy found that keeping the tires of passenger vehicles correctly inflated improved gas mileage between 0.6% to 3%

Tires operated at the optimal inflation pressure also last longer. Underinflating a tire by 10 psi can cause it to wear out up to 20% faster. Conversely, overinflating tires can create uneven wear and shorten their life. Other benefits of properly inflated tires include improved productivity, longer life, increased uptime, better ride and safety, and in the end more profitability.