Used Tire Buying Guide for Construction Equipment Tires

Used Tire Buying Guide for Construction Equipment Tires

View All Parts From This Machine: John Deere 724J Wheel Loader
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If you have a wheeled loader, articulated truck, wheeled dozer, or other wheeled construction machine, you can be sure of at least one thing – those tires will wear out one day. That’s just the nature of tires, and it’s probably why you’ve arrived here today. Whether you’ve started your search and found the cost of new tires for your machine is high or you’re just starting your search and want to weigh all your options, there is good news out there – there’s often good replacement options available.

While not every used tire for sale will be the perfect one to mount on your machine, knowing what to look for and how to narrow your search will often turn up some possible options. And while there are pros and cons to the used tire market when a knowledgeable buyer connects to a reputable seller there can be a great tire solution to get you back up and rolling.

What Size Used Tire Do I Need?

The first and fastest way to start your used construction equipment tire search is by determining your tire size. And, as you probably already know, you’ll simply find the tire size listed on the side of your current tire. There you’ll find either two or three numbers. On tires with two numbers listed, the numbers will indicate the tire width, followed by the rim size. On tires with three numbers, the numbers will tell you the tire height, followed by the width, followed by the rim size.

If you’re not just replacing one tire on your machine and you’re planning a swap of all the tires, you’ll often discover that your machine will actually work with a range of tire sizes. You’ll find that range listed in your operator’s manual, but be sure to note that changes to tire sizes will alter how the tire performs and the maximum ranges of operation like maximum load or maximum speed.

Tires for construction equipment are built using a wide variation of tread depths, tread patterns, and internal and external designs . » Click video to play/pause animation.


What is Tread Depth in a Construction Equipment Tire?

In construction equipment tires, there are three types of tires, each designated with a letter

  • L Tread Depth
    This tread type is commonly used by loaders and wheeled dozers.
  • G Tread Depth
    This tread type is most commonly used by graders.
  • E Tread Depth
    This tread type is most commonly used by dump trucks or other earth-moving equipment.

Following the E, L, and G designation, you’ll usually find a number (E-3, L-3, L-5) or a combination of both (E-3/L-3, E-5/L-5).

Eventually, determining the perfect tread depth for your replacement construction tires will come down to evaluating the type of work the machine will most commonly perform, the conditions it will be working in, how it will travel around the worksite, and even how often it will be used. Often the best tire will hit the sweet spot in your work and balance tire life, performance, and even an operator’s comfort.

What Tread Pattern Do I Need For My Loader or Other Wheeled Construction Machine Tires?

While the number that designates the tread depth in the tire’s labeling will generally define its tread pattern, the actual labeling of tread patterns varies widely from tire manufacturer to manufacturer. In evaluating the tread pattern that will work best for you, you’ll want to closely consider the conditions in which it will work.

In your search, you’ll likely come across tires that range from aggressive to smooth and all ranges in between. A proper tread pattern for your machine needs to balance performance, durability, and comfortability.

At its most simplest, take a good look at the treads on the tire(s) you’re evaluating and ask basic questions like:

  • Will this tire pattern be prone to slippage?
  • Will this tire pattern be overly susceptible to cuts from the materials I commonly work with?
  • Will this tire pattern perform across all seasons and in all weather types in which the machine works?
  • How will this tread pattern interact with the ground and the materials the machine carries or drives over?
Construction Equipment Tires
The tread type and tread depth should match the machine's work and the surfaces it interacts with.

Should I Buy Bias Ply or Radial Tires for My Equipment?

After evaluating the tread patterns, you’ll likely be on to determining if you should use a tire with a bias ply or radial tire. For this, it's important to consider how each is constructed. A bias-ply tire is constructed with bands (generally non-metallic) that run at angles across the tire and in a radial tire the tire is built using bands (generally metallic) that run perpendicular to the tire.

Like most other factors, determining if radial or bias-ply is right for you and your machine will come down to evaluating the work the machine performs, the loads it carries, the worksites it operates in, and balancing upfront costs with lifetime costs. A little online research will quickly lead you to a wide range of people advocating for which is right for them, but you’ll also find there’s no simple consensus. However, if you do narrow to a bias-ply tire, you’ll also want the seller to let you know the number of plies since it will influence the maximum load rating and to take that into account in your evaluation.

What Factors to Consider in a Replacement Used Tire for Construction Equipment?

By now, you’ve narrowed to the size and type of tire you need, so you should only need to make sure the tires you’ve found will be a good replacement that will last and perform best on your machine. To narrow your search, you should request some straightforward and clear pictures and any reputable seller will gladly provide images of the tire to prove the used tires they have for sale are exactly as advertised.

Since the life of a tire doesn’t coincide with the life of a machine and tires are often rotated off a machine for reasons other than wear, the market for used construction tires is often abundant in inventory. And due to the large size and necessary manufacturing demands for the tires on wheel loaders, articulated trucks, and other construction machines the cost savings on a used replacement tire can be especially considerable.

In your evaluation, you’ll also want the dealer to provide details on the age of the tire and the presence of any bubbles, patches, or plugs. A reputable online dealer should have a solid inspection and documentation process and gladly provide details on the tire(s) to ensure both the seller and the buyer agree about the condition of the tire.

Construction Equipment used tire.
A picture paints a clearer picture in used tires. Here, you can see the cuts, heavy wear, and worn threads that will help you evaluate this used tire for your own use.

With those short tips, hopefully you’re off and rolling with your used tire search since now you can better narrow your search to match your machine and working conditions and you know what to look for in your hunt. 

As always, if you need help in your search, our Parts Specialists are here to help. They can quickly and simply connect you to our own online used tire database, as well as our expansive network of connected parts suppliers. And with smart, fast search tools, they can connect you to a best-priced, perfect-for-you part, simply and swiftly. Just drop them a note.