Choosing the Right Lawn Mower Tire

Optimal mowing means more than passively sitting back as the machine does all the work. Instead, you’ve got to be proactive about getting the best for both your lawn and your mower. That said, here are the things you should consider when it is time to replace the tires on your lawn mower, garden tractor, or utility vehicle.

How do you know what size of tire to choose?

The first thing you need to know is the size of your tire. This number may be a little confusing, but here is a quick primer:

In this example, 18x8.50-8 tells you the size of this tire when it is properly inflated. The first number, 18, represents the approximate height of the tire. The middle number, 8.50, represents the width of the tire, where 8.50 means 8½" inches wide. The last number, 8, is the diameter of the wheel or rim the tire is mounted on—in our example, this tire’s rim diameter is 8 inches. The size may be written using different symbols, but the numbers are usually always in the same order—height, width, diameter.

You may also see the letters “NHS” after the size. This only means that the tire is not designed to withstand driving at highway speeds, hence non-highway service or NHS.

How do you know what tire tread to choose?

The second thing you should consider is the tread pattern. While it may seem confusing at first, each tread has a specific purpose. The tread you should choose depends on what you do with the equipment, as well as on which axle you are replacing the tires.

If you are replacing the tires for the front and it is not a drive axle, you may opt for a ribbed tire, sometimes referred to as a multi-rib. This tire has circumferential grooves around the tread and will not damage the turf.

The rear or drive wheels should use a traction tire. There are many traction tires to choose from. The one you choose should depend on how much traction that you need and how important compaction of the turf is to you. If you want less compaction, the Carlisle Turf Trac R/S (round shoulder) or Carlisle Turf Mate is an excellent option. If tread life and durability is important, the Carlisle Multi Trac C/S (commercial service), Carlisle Turf Saver and the Carlisle Turf Master are excellent choices.

There are also one or two special treads for special purposes. A smooth tread is used for putting greens on golf courses. There are also cleated tractor-type treads used mainly for construction equipment.

How do you know what ply rating to choose?

The third thing you should consider when purchasing a new tire is the ply rating. This is the strength or load carrying capacity of the tire. It can be described as LRB, LRC (LR is Load Range) and so on. It may also be shown as 4PR, 6PR. (PR means Ply Rating) Generally, it is not a good idea to replace a ply rating with one of lesser strength. Also a Ply Rating does not tell you the actual ply’s in a tire. All a 4PR tells you is the tire has the strength of a 4 ply rating.

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