Comparing Foam Filled Tires to Solid Tires on a Skid Steer
General Benefits of Solid Tires Compared to Foam Filled Tires for a Skid Steer
Skid steers are popular among contractors in a range of industries. They are used on heavy-duty applications including construction, scrap-yards, waste management, and demolition sites. As the name suggests, skid steers turn by “skidding,” which puts a lot of stress on the tires. That is why it is critical to pair your skid steer with tires that can handle severe ground conditions.
When it comes to selecting the right tires for your skid steer, it is important to consider the following critical factors:
- Tire Wear: To get the maximum ROI on your skid steer tires, they should be highly durable and guarantee long wear.
- Operating Costs: Maintenance costs are minimized over time when you equip your equipment with the proper tires.
- Traction: A good skid steer tire must be able to provide optimal traction over a range of surfaces including mud and sloped terrains.
- Smooth Ride for Operators: For maximum efficiency and performance, skid steer tires must be able to provide a smooth ride for the operator by maximizing shock absorption over uneven surfaces.
So the question is, what tires are better for your skid steer operations, foam-filled or solid tires?
Foam Filled Tires
Foam-filled tires substitute the air in pneumatic tires with rigid foam made from urethane. This “foam” varies in hardness and the hardness you choose depends on the application and specific work site requirements.
- Flat-Proof: Due to the expanding, rigid foam, foam-filled tires are flat-proof which gives them an added advantage over their air-filled tire counterparts. This maximizes machine uptime and saves you money that would otherwise be spent repairing or replacing a pneumatic tire that has gone flat.
- Smoother Ride: Generally, operators get a smoother ride with foam-filled tires than with solid tires. The foam acts as a shock absorber, minimizing machine vibration and cushioning the ride for the skid steer operator.
- Stress on Skid Steer Drive Train: The extra weight of foam-filled tires puts a lot of stress on the components of the equipment’s drive train. More fuel is also expended operating these tires due to their added weight.
- Tire Life: Compared with solid tires, foam-filled tires are not as longlasting, especially when operated in harsh environments over a period of time.
Solid tires are made from layers of tough resilient rubber. They are designed for severe applications like demolition, waste transfer, scrap yards, and quarries.
- Extremely Durable: Because solid tires are rubber all the way through – i.e. they do not feature an inner tube filled with air or foam – they are highly durable. They can even continue to perform when cut. The rubber used in their production is exceptionally resilient.
- 100% Flat Proof: Solid tires never go flat. This means zero machine downtime due to flats which, in turn, translates to high productivity on job sites.
- High Performance: Solid tires deliver excellent performance on a range of severe-duty terrains and applications, much better than foam-filled tires.
- Extended Service Life: Solid tires outlast foam-filled tires, even when operated on extremely demanding work sites.
- Lower Operating Costs: Foam-filled tires typically need to be replaced more frequently than solid tires as they are not as resilient. That means that solid tires boast lower operating costs per hour than foam-filled tires.
- Upfront Costs: Solid tires are an investment and cost more than foam-filled tires. However, because they last longer than foam-filled tires, you get more ROI (return on investment) with solid tires. They do not need to be replaced or repaired as frequently as foam-filled tires.
- Rigidity: Solid tires feature a rigid structure which can compromise traction in muddy terrains.
- Rough Ride for Operators: Compared with foam-filled tires, solid tires – due to their stiffness – offer a rougher ride for operators, leading to operator fatigue and reducing productivity. One way around this is to invest in solid tires that feature rows of apertures on the sidewalls. These holes maximize shock absorption, cushioning the ride for the operator.
More and more contractors are gravitating towards solid tires in their operations, especially when it comes to extreme-duty industrial applications, as they tend to outperform foam-filled tires. Most solid tires feature apertures on their sidewalls for an improved, cushioned ride for the operator.
They also last longer than foam-filled tires, which means solid tires are an investment worth making.
Monster Tires’ offers a range of high-quality solid tires with an array of tread styles/patterns, each designed to perform optimally on a specific type of terrain. Contact us for more information!