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Why tire classification matters

Why tire classification matters

Large loaders are a big part of most construction jobs, and their versatility makes them useful for many different types of projects, such as general construction, snow removal, landscaping, building roads and loading dirt and rock at quarries. They are also used in more severe applications such as waste hauling, in landfills and in mines. For each of these different environments, it is important that loaders are fitted with the proper tires to handle the job.

The Tire and Rim Association (TRA) classify loader tires based on their tread type and tread depth. Tread types are designed for differing applications from smooth, regular terrain to rocky, snowy and very severe mining environments. They are classified from L-2 to L-5. 

  • L-2 maximum traction for softer conditions
  • L-3 is used in general applications with more durability and resistance
  • L-4 is a deeper tread for durable wear and extended tire life in rocky conditions
  • L-5 provides the deepest tread for the toughest applications with chip resistance and extreme durability
  • L-2/L-3 are considered standard depth
  • L-4 are 150 percent, or 1-1/2 times deeper
  • L-5 are 250 percent, or 2-1/2 times deeper

BKT has a full line of loader tires designed for every type of job, from light to severe applications. BKT designs both bias and radial tires for loader applications. Radial tires have a flexible casing which provides a smoother ride, yields fewer cuts and has lower heat generation. Radials also have a more consistent shape for longer tread life and better traction and flotation. Bias tires have a stiffer carcass which leads to increased lateral stability which keeps the bucket more stable. Bias tires are also more economical.

The XL Grip is a bias tire with an L-3 code for heavy-duty loading operations. It has a wide base and excellent traction designed to minimize cuts and punctures.

The EARTHMAX SR 22 ("S" designates tires with smooth treads) is an all-steel radial tire with an L-2 large, non-directional tread designed to operate in extreme winter conditions in ice and snow. It is also made for dozer and grader applications. The traction provides excellent stability.

The EARTHMAX SR 30 is an L-3 radial tire that is excellent in harsh conditions, but also perfect for everyday use. It has multi-layer steel belts with a cut-resistant compound and a rigid block pattern for stability and durability. This dual-purpose tire is suitable for dump trucks as well. 

The L-4 EARTHMAX SR 41 all-steel radial tire has a special block pattern to provide extra resistance to punctures with the addition of a cut-resistant compound. It is also purposed for dump trucks and dozers and can be used for long working hours without downtime. The deep traction provides extra durability in severe conditions.

For very severe, rocky conditions, like underground mines, quarries and scrapyards, the EARTHMAX SR 53 has an L-5 extra deep tread design. The cut-resistant compound and traction provide extra stability and extended wear life. This radial tire is also designed for Dozers and Low-Profile Dump Trucks (LPDT). 

With so many different tires and applications, it is important to assess the situation and environment in order to choose the proper tire. All contractors want tires that perform at maximum efficiency and last as long as possible to provide them the best return on their tire investment. Choosing the right tire is a big part of any contractor's bottom line. BKT has a trained sales and technical staff that can assist in determining the best choice for the job and equipment. 

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