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As Michelin says, "So much is riding on your tires." This is true whether you're driving a stick-shift truck or an electric wheelchair. In fact, tires are even more vital as wheelchair parts. Tires can make your ride smoother, or they can slow an electric wheelchair until you feel like you might as well have chosen a manual. Flat tires run the motor down.
Your pneumatic tire just went flat when you bumped over a tree root in the woods. Sad to say, pneumatic wheelchair tires puncture just like other air-filled wheels. You're considering going airless during your next wheel chair repair stop. There are three types of airless tires:
• Polyurethane foam-filled (drawback: like foam cushions, could lose shape due to wear and tear)
• Semi-pneumatic with a circle of air running through the center (flats still a possibility)
• Solid (heavy molded plastic or rubber, can cost more)
Many tires also are fortified with Kevlar for durability. You want long-lasting tires. You've chosen solid Kevlar-reinforced tires—after all, this may be the most important wheel chair replacement part you'll ever buy, and worth the expense. Make sure that the tires are designed for your particular wheelchair. You can even snap on your rubber tires, American Airless manufactures snap-on tires.
Whether you choose conventional or snap-on, air-tires or airless (also called "flat-free"), test your tires in the store—you may have the best electric wheelchair part for your motor, but if your tires don't work with your wheelchair, you're stalled as surely as if you had another flat. Michelin is right. So much is riding on your tires...too bad Michelin doesn't do wheelchairs!
Most people I've worked with prefer the solid inserts inside their pneumatic tires. The only time I wouldn't recommend this is if your condition makes you very sensitive to bumps and vibration as solid inserts give you a much rougher ride (you can feel every crack in the sidewalk) and pneumatic tires (air-filled) offer a much softer ride