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How do you decide what Ballasts are best for your tractor tires?

There are five different ballasts that people choose from to add to their tractor tires. Your performance of your tractor is tremendously improved by adding the additional weight to your tractor tires. There are advantages and disadvantages of the various liquid ballasts depending on  what your specific needs are.
You might ask why you need to add weight to your tractor tires? If you add weight you increase your traction and lower your central of gravity which makes it safer on  sloping terrain and to counterbalance heavy implements.
You also will be amazed at how much easier it is to pickup things with your front end loader whether its doing landscaping or moving large bales of Alfalfa.



Pros: It certainly is the easiest, least expensive, and safest to use. 
Cons: Water weighs eight pounds per gallon so its not the heaviest ballast. It freezes at 32 degrees F so if you live where winter weather is severe  you risk your rim coming off your tire or the tube rupturing when the water turns to ice. 



Pros: A 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze will stay liquid down to -35 degrees F. You need to  Know that antifreeze is only helpful when mixed with water. Pure antifreeze will only be a liquid down to 0 degrees F. 
Cons: Antifreeze is more expensive and ethylene glycol is toxic. If you get it on the ground animals could ingest it due to its sweet taste and be lethal. 


Calcium Chloride

Pros: It has been the preferred option for many reasons. When mixed with water it won’t freeze till it reaches -60 degrees F. It is very inexpensive and weighs 26 pounds per gallon compared to eight pounds per gallon with straight water. 
Cons: Its known to be very corrosive on metal rims but if you have tubes in your tire your good to go. You need to wear rubber gloves when handling it. It has fallen out of use because of it. 


Beet Juice

Pros: It has become very popular because it weighs more then water at 12 pounds per gallon. It resists freezing down to -35 degrees F. There are no corrosive or toxic hazards with beet  juice. 
Cons: The cost of beet juice makes it less desirable than other options.


Windshield Wiper Fluid

Pros: It’s very inexpensive to buy and it resists freezing to -25 degrees F. 
Cons: The weight of water and windshield wiper fluid is about the same. There is an alcohol in it that Is toxic methanol. You should never ingest it, breathe the fumes from it, get it in your eyes or let it stay in contact with your skin for long periods of time.
I have added a chart below that will help you to calculate how much ballasts you need based on your tire size. 
Many people are unfamiliar with ballasts and how to use them so I hope you find this information useful. I know it makes life safer and easier if you can let your tractor do the work!!


Dr. Dana Price
Published on 14-07-2022
Dr. Dana Price grew up on a farm in Southwest Missouri. She got undergraduate degrees in BIO/CHEM from Drury University. Her graduate degrees are from Kansas University, Anesthesiology training at KUMC, South Hampton University Doctorate in Biology. She worked as an Anesthesiologist until an accident disabled her. After the accident, she started a charity for special needs individuals and National Champion horses. They learn life skills by working on the ranch caring for the animals. The charity is Stable Companions 501c3 charity