Calculating the total life-cycle cost of a tire is the only true measure that will enable you to lower operating costs. "One [common mistake] is buying what is cheapest vs. what will give you the lowest economic cost," says Wright. "It is short-term vs. long-term thinking."
A lower-priced bias-ply tire may not offer the same life as a more expensive radial. "It's not uncommon that a radial will outlast a bias-ply tire two times or up to six or seven times, depending upon the application," claims Bennett.
"Another mistake is buying only when you have a problem," says Wright. This results in the purchase of what is available rather than what is most suited for the application.
The best way to determine the most appropriate tire for an application is to keep tire records. "The only way to improve is to know where your base is, then work on doing better next time," says Wright.
"If you start comparing tire bills and really get into the science of this, you will see that it is just as important to choose the right tire as it is to choose the right piece of equipment to go into an application," says Besancon.
It is not just a case of radial vs. bias-ply. Michelin alone makes nine different radial tires that go on the Caterpillar 950 loader, depending upon the application. You need to understand the differences in order to get the greatest return on your investment and not get lulled into the "tire is a tire" mentality.
"Besides the obvious tire-related savings that come with selecting the right tire for the application, there are potential productivity and machine mechanical issues that can cost much more than was saved by buying the cheapest tire," says Mills.