ALEXANDRIA, VA – The tires you choose for your skid steer can have a large impact on your machine’s lifespan, operator comfort, maintenance needs, and cost of ownership. There are three main types of skid steer tires: pneumatic, foam-filled, and solid. When looking for a skid steer tire that’ll experience fewer or no flats, foam-filled and solid tires are the way to go. The question is, which is better for your application? To determine whether to choose foam-filled or solid skid steer tires, read this guide.
Foam-Filled Skid Steer Tires
Foam-filled tires are essentially pneumatic tires filled with foam. The foam is made from a liquid- rubber compound that cures to form a product similar to a solid rubber tire.
- Reduced Frequency of Flats: filling pneumatic tires with foam can effectively eliminate the frequency of flat tires which, in turn, results in less downtime and less money spent on replacement tires.
- Not Completely Flat-Proof: while filling pneumatic tires with foam makes getting a flat tire less likely, foam-filled tires aren’t completely flat proof. If the side of the tire gets damaged the foam can leak out, causing it to become flat and necessitating a replacement.
- Less Cushion: filling a pneumatic tire with foam greatly reduces the amount of cushion that the tire has which can result in a rougher, more uncomfortable ride as well as more wear and tear on the machine.
Solid Skid Steer Tires
Also known as flat-proof or airless tires, solid skid steer tires are tires composed completely of solid rubber and not filled with any air.
- Eliminated Potential of Flat Tires: Solid skid steer tires don’t have any air and, as such, can’t blow out or become flat. As a result, the lifespan of solid skid steer tires is significantly longer than that of pneumatic.
- Comfort: When designed properly with ample aperture holes, solid skid steer tires can offer a smooth, comfortable ride—unlike foam-filled tires which typically become stiff and rigid.
- Cost: Solid skid steer tires generally have a much higher up-front cost than other tires, such as pneumatic or foam-filled tires. However, their durability and resistance to flats can ultimately result in cost-savings overtime as the need to purchase replacement tires is reduced.