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October 25, 2023

Types Of Off-The-Road Tires For Heavy Equipment

OTR tires are meant to thrive where others won’t —  carrying enormous loads, performing high-stakes tasks, and working in unforgiving conditions. Without them, our heavy equipment simply couldn’t perform to the level that it does, and the industries that depend on them would greatly suffer. 

But one high-functioning tire is not a one-size-fits-all all. Matching the tire type to the specific application is crucial for optimal performance, safety, traction, load-bearing capacity, and overall cost efficiency. Like any other project, you need the right tools for the job. Likewise, you need the right tires to operate at full capacity and avoid unfortunate but frankly expected consequences. To avoid these kinds of snafus, follow East Bay Tire’s guide to off-the-road tires for heavy equipment. 



E (Earthmovers) 

Earthmovers —  responsible for the moving of soil, rock, vegetation, and other earthwork-related materials as the name suggests. These are your haul trucks, your motor graders, and your excavators. This classification requires hardy tires that handle rugged terrain and provide powerful traction for digging, grading, and earthmoving tasks. Earthmoving tires can be classified by mid to shallow tread depth with a wide and flat tread radius for varied speeds, dynamic loads, and even wear.

L (Loaders)

Loader tires are meant to bear heavy loads in various working conditions, bearing rough terrain and heavy-duty use. The applications they are used for include infrastructure building, public works, mining, construction, and scrap yards. The tires can last for years without too much wear and tear if used and maintained properly. 

G (Graders)

Grader tires classified as G (grader) are rated to travel boundless distances at speeds of 25 mph. The tread design of these tires is engineered to deliver stability and traction and are typically designed for graders, loaders and dozers, and snow applications. In fact, the non-directional block pattern of the tread provides abrasion resistance and supreme traction on snowy and icy surfaces. 

The Different Kinds of Loader Tires 

Bias-Ply Tires: These tires are usually used for general-purpose tasks as they offer well-rounded performance suitable for various applications. Equipment that bias-ply tires can be mounted on include loaders, backhoes, and skid steers. The optimal terrain for these types of tires are standard and somewhat rugged terrains, making them versatile for construction, agriculture, and industrial applications.

Radial Tires: Radial tires are designed for specific applications requiring high performance. They provide excellent traction and durability and are commonly used on heavy-duty loaders in construction, mining, and similar industries. These types of tires excel in challenging terrain and uneven ground, ideal for tasks that demand both strength and precision. 

Tread depth for different applications

The tread pattern of an OTR tire is responsible for many of its important features, including the traction and its resistance to chunks, cuts, wear, and heat. Choosing the right tire with a tread optimized for the conditions you plan to operate in is crucial for maximizing a tire’s ROI and can provide improved machine efficiency and productivity. 

  • Regular (ex: L3): The standard depth for OTR tires 
  • Deep (ex: L4): 150% thicker than a regular OTR tire
  • Extra deep (ex: L5): 250% thicker than a regular OTR tire 

Also important to note is the lug-to-void ration of your OTR tires

The lug is a raised, often block-like section of the tire’s tread. Lugs are designed to keep contact with the ground and provide traction and grip. The void portion of the tire is the groove or empty space between the lug in the tread pattern.

Lug-to-void ratio is the empty space between the lugs, which allows the tire to dig into a surface and shed dirt, mud, and water. Where traction is involved, the space between the lugs is just as important as the lugs themselves.

Generally, treads with lower lug-to-void ratios work well on soft surfaces (like a field). The space between lugs wicks dirt from the tread, so each tire rotation has a clean bite for traction. Conversely, tires with higher lug-to-void ratios work best on hard surfaces, such as a road.


By considering these factors when selecting your OTR tires, you not only enhance safety on your sites, but also maintain predictable operational costs while reducing interruptions to your work processes. Making the right choice upfront is an investment in a more efficient and profitable operation for now and for the future.

Contact East Bay Tire for support on selecting the right OTR tire for you!