Which OTR Tread Design is Best for your Vehicle?
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Which OTR Tread Design is Best for your Vehicle?

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OTR (off the road) tires is a term used to describe tires that are used in some of the toughest sectors on earth; such as the construction and mining industries. Depending on your environment, specialist OTR tires can provide a range of functions including enhanced traction, resistance and durability. 

Choosing the right OTR tire for your application will influence how your vehicle performs in different conditions, and ultimately affects your ability to accomplish the task at hand in an efficient manner. 

When choosing the right tire, there are a number of factors that come into play, including the terrain you are working on, the type of vehicle you are using and the work that you're doing. Finding the right OTR tires can ensure that you can get the job done, even in the most challenging environments. 

In this blog, we’ll be sharing our tips and advice for choosing the right OTR tire for your vehicle.


Understanding classifications for different vehicles 


The first step to understanding the correct tire tread design for your vehicle is to refer to the Tire and Rim Association (TRA) classification of different OTR tires for different vehicles. 

The TRA code always begins with a letter which defines the type of service that the tyre is designated for (for example, a code starting with ‘E’ stands for ‘Earth Mover’, ‘L’ stands for ‘Loader & Dozer’). It is essential that any tires you choose are not ones designed for a different vehicle. 

The following digits refer to the tread type on a common scale of 2 - 5 (you can also find 1 and 7 in ETRTO standards). If the tread is smooth, you will also find an ‘S’ at the end of the code. Keep reading to learn more about the difference that tire tread and depth makes to tire performance. 


Tread depth 


According to the Tire and Rim Association (TRA), there are three classifications for tread depth for OTR tires which are regular, deep and extra deep. Generally speaking, deeper treads tend to have greater durability, but they will also generate more heat. For example, our EARTHMAX SR 53 features an extra deep tread and cut-resistant compound to provide exceptional durability. 


The different tire tread types 


The applications of OTR tires can be very diverse and therefore there are plenty of different tire tread designs to ensure the efficient operation of vehicles in any environment. The different tire tread patterns can provide varying degrees of traction, flotation and durability on surfaces such as rock, sand and mud.

When it comes to choosing the right tire tread for your OTR vehicle, the choice will depend on the application, with different patterns designed for different uses. Five of the most common tire tread types are: 

  1. Rock pattern - this pattern is designed to be used in rocky environments and prevent cuts and punctures to tires caused by sharp rocks. It has a large ground contact area to provide maximum resistance against wear and tear, ideal for use in areas such as quarries or in construction. The rock pattern is available in deep and extra deep tread depth. 

Commonly used for: Earth movers, Graders, Loaders 

  1. Traction pattern - this pattern is useful on rough terrains where gaining traction is a priority. The tread pattern helps to provide stability of rough surfaces and allows machinery to gain traction (as the name suggests). The EARTHMAX SR 45M tire is an all steel radial tire ideal for operations in long hauls, due to providing optimum traction. 

Commonly used for: Graders, Loaders and Dozers, Earth movers 

  1. Block pattern - OTR tires with the block tread pattern are ideal for transport applications. This pattern allows for a reduced and uniform wear, and guarantees stability, comfort and protection from impacts. It is designed for use on hard and rocky surfaces like gravel and rock. Our Earthmax SR 41 tires have a special block pattern that provides excellent resistance against punctures and an extended service life. 

Commonly used for: Earth movers 

  1. Ribbed pattern - Ribbed pattern tires are designed to provide stability on loose soil and sandy terrain. Desert King has been specially designed for loose soil and sandy terrain. The optimized rib tread design offers floatation and directional stability, specially designed for low pressure operations. 

Commonly used for: Tractors and trailers, desert trucks 

  1. Smooth pattern - A smooth pattern tread design does not have any grooves on it so it is ideal for environments where traction is not as necessary, and are commonly used for loaders and dozers in environments such as underground mining, recycling plants and steelworks. This pattern is used where it is necessary to have high protection against impacts and punctures. There will be some grooves on the side that are used to measure wear and tear. EARTHMAX SR 55 is specially designed for loaders, dozers and load haul dumps operating in the most severe mining operations. 

Common use: Underground Mining Vehicles, Compactor, Loader and Dozer 


Choosing the right tires 


The right OTR tires can power your vehicles through some of the most demanding environments. Once you familiarize yourself with the tire tread pattern that’s correct for your vehicle, it’s still important to select a tire that will deliver the maximum performance. 

The mining and construction sectors are some of the toughest on earth, so it’s important that your OTR tires are up for the challenge. Our range of OTR tires include different performance features to suit your needs, for a wide range of different environments. 

Click here to browse our extensive range of OTR tires.

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