Mobility tires and casters are critical components of any mobility scooter because they provide the interface between the scooter itself and the ground below. Ultimately, they are what gives you control and grip as you move around.
The sheer range of tires, wheels, and casters on the market, though, can leave your head spinning. There are so many options available.
The purpose of this post is to provide you with all the information you need regarding tires and casters. Remember, replacing like-for-like might not always be the best solution. New products become available every year, and they may provide a better experience than those you are using right now.
Table of Contents
What are mobility scooter tires?
Mobility scooter tires work similarly to the tires you might find of a car, bicycle, or electric scooter. The basic idea is to provide plenty of grip between the vehicle and whatever surface lies beneath, whether it’s the flooring material in your home or the pavement outside. In this sense, mobility scooter tires are multi-purpose. They must contend with a variety of surface types to keep users safe.
In general, you’ll find two types of mobility scooter tires in our store. The first are “pneumatic” tires. These use air-filled inner tubes that allow the rubber material that comprises the tire to deform and inflate the following impact with features on the ground. As it rolls over rocks and bumps (like a cobbled street), it provides the rider with cushioning and grip.
The other major category of mobility scooter tires is solid or “airless” tires. These are usually made of solid rubber or polyurethane foam and work similarly to pneumatic tires, deforming when they encounter a bump on the terrain, and then returning to their original shape. Crucially, though, they don't rely on air to do the job. Instead, they take advantage of “plastic memory” - a property of rubbery materials that allows them to return to their initial form quickly.
What are mobility scooter casters?
Mobility scooter casters are more than just tires or wheels. The term “caster” refers to the entire assembly that connects the wheels with the rest of the vehicle. Thus, when you search for mobility scooter casters, you’re often looking for both the wheels themselves, plus the engineering that fixes them to the rest of the unit.
Compared to tires, casters have the advantage of being plug-and-play. As long as the mechanism for attaching the wheels to your mobility scooter is straightforward, you can fit them quickly. Please note that many mobility scooter casters are specific to the brand and sometimes the model. For this reason, you need to be careful with your selection. Not all casters are compatible with all scooters.
While there are clear differences between pneumatic mobility scooter tires and casters, the differences between solid tires and casters are less clear cut. Usually, a caster is something that provides the full functionality of the wheel out of the box. Thus, some solid tires are also casters. However, standalone pneumatic tires are not - you must pair them with wheels and other fittings to get full functionality.
Who are mobility scooter casters and tires for?
Mobility scooter tires and casters are for anyone who needs to replace these components on their mobility scooter.
Eventually, your tires or casters will reach the end of their serviceable life. For instance, your tire wall may have a puncture that you cannot fix, or the tread might have become dangerously worn. There may also be mechanical issues with the wheel or how it attaches to your scooter’s axle.
If you rely on your scooter to get around, you may also wish to keep spare parts nearby so that you can quickly fix issues, should you have any. If you unwrap your scooter in the morning to find one of the tires badly gashed, it is much more convenient to replace it there and then, instead of waiting for a carrier to deliver new tires in several days.
Spare mobility scooter tires and casters are handy for people who use their scooters a lot. While manufacturers create highly durable products, wear and tear will eventually take their toll - just as they do for any tire - and you will need to replace them. Having spares on standby can help you enormously.
Why buy mobility scooter casters and tires?
So what are the main reasons you’d want to buy mobility tires and casters?
Replacing mobility scooter tires regularly keeps you safe
Nobody wants their scooter to get out of control as they ride it down the street. It should perform reliably, regardless of surface.
Replacing tires regularly helps to keep the feel of the scooter consistent. When your tires are grippy, you feel much more confident taking corners and braking. By contrast, once they lose their tread, they become unpredictable, putting you at risk.
New mobility scooter tires and casters help keep your scooter running
Keeping your scooter running is vital for your independence. Thus, having spare tires and casters can help you keep “on the road,” so to speak. If you notice a problem with your tires or wheels, you can quickly replace the defective part with a new one and get on with your day.
Better tires and casters improve your ride quality
While any products you buy need to be compatible with your scooter, there are sometimes opportunities to upgrade and improve your ride quality. Typically, plumper, thicker tires will soak up more impacts from the ground, protecting your spine and reducing any travel-associated discomfort you might experience.
Please note that replacing worn casters and tires with the same product can also improve the ride quality. As we discussed earlier, wear and tear will eventually take its toll on how the scooter behaves, leading to deteriorations in handling and comfort. So swapping out the old parts for identical new ones can make a difference.
Replacing casters gives you peace of mind
Nothing is worse than going into town on a mobility scooter, knowing that your tire is losing pressure, or the caster bearings have worn out. For that reason, replacing these components with new ones - or merely having ready-to-go replacements available - gives you peace of mind and lets you enjoy your day.
If you’re not sure what you need to do to replace a caster, take a look at this video. It guides you through the various steps and points out some of the issues you might have along the way. For instance, rust can make it challenging to take the wheel off its axle, highlighting the importance of applying lubrication. (Remember, when you ride your scooter in wet weather, water inevitably makes its way into the scooter’s internals, including the caster interface).
What about changing a tire? When should you do that? The following video shows how to replace a damaged tire and shows you what it should look like versus the used version.
In general, you’ll need to complete the following steps:
- Remove the wheel assembly from the mobility scooter
- Use tire levers to prize the tire from the rim
- Discard the old tire by placing it in the recycling
- Remove the old inner tube
- Take the new tire and fit it to the one side of the rim, leaving the other side hanging loose
- Place the new inner tube inside the tire and feed the valve through the appropriate opening
- Fit the other side of the tire to the rim, ensuring that the inner tube is safely inside.
- Pump up the tire to the desired pressure (usually 18 to 30 PSI), ensuring that the inner tube does not bulge out at the rim.
What you need to know about mobility scooter tires
Mobility scooter tires come in many different shapes and sizes. Thus, the type of tire you choose has to fit the wheel's specifications and the scooter itself.
You’ll need to consider the following:
First, you’ll need to consider the size of the scooter tire.
Scooter manufacturers follow a set format for describing the dimensions of tires.
Typically, they’ll present sizing as follows:
(X) x (Y) x (Z)
Each of these letters represents the length of a dimension in inches. In general, the first dimension (X) refers to the overall diameter of the tire. So if you took a tape measure, laid the unfolded tire flat on the ground, and measured the distance from one side to the other, going through the center, you’d get (X).
(Y) usually refers to the width of the tire. You get (Y) from measuring the tire's fattest part when inflated. For most tires, this distance is wider than the tread.
(Z) typically refers to the “nominal rim diameter” or the diameter of the wheel. Remember, because the tire sits on the wheel, the tire's diameter is necessarily greater than that of the rim.
All of this is rather abstract, so let’s take an example.
On Scooters and Chairs, we sell the Primo High-Performance tire - a gray pneumatic tire designed to keep you safe as you go about your travels.
The tire has the following specification:
24” x 1.95” x 22”
Thus, the tire is 24 inches in diameter when inflated, 1.95 inches wide, and fits a 22-inch wheel.
Sometimes, product descriptions will include the (X) and (Y) dimensions but not (Z). For instance, many solid tires include the “rim” as part of the complete assembly, so it doesn’t make much sense quoting the rim size.
New Solutions, for instance, makes a light gray two-rib tire. They quote the following dimensions:
6” x 2”
Thus, the tire is six inches in diameter and two inches wide.
In general, you need to ask yourself the following size-related questions when choosing a tire or caster.
- Does it fit the wheel assembly? First, you need to figure out whether the new tire or caster fits the wheel assembly. In the case of standalone pneumatic tires, the interior tire dimensions should match your rim or wheel diameter. For solid tires, you need to choose a compatible design with your wheel hub and axle.
- Does it fit the wheel arch? The new tire or caster might fit the wheel assembly, but it still might not be compatible with your scooter if it doesn’t fit the wheel arch. Owners can sometimes get into trouble when they choose tires with too much height. If (X) is too large, there is a risk that the tire will rub on the chassis or won’t fit at all.
Manufacturers will sometimes quote other dimensions in wheel and caster descriptions and use different formats. For instance, they might cite the “section height,” which is the difference between (X) and (Z). In other words, it is the height of the tire or caster as it protrudes from the rim.
Let's call the section height (W). Sometimes, you will see mobility scooter tire and caster dimensions quoted as :
(Y) / (W) - (Z)
For example, a manufacturer might describe a tire or caster as
2” / 3” - 6”
This notation says that the caster is two inches wide, protrudes three inches from the rim, and sits on a wheel that is six inches across. Don’t worry about the slashes and hyphens - they just separate one number from another.
The tube type
Practically all scooter pneumatic tire tubes use Schrader valves - an American invention. You sometimes find older models using the Presta standard, but this is rare.
Tubes, of course, have to match the size of your tires. The most critical measurements are the tube diameter and inflated width. If the tube's diameter is too small, it won’t fit the tire. If the width is too small, then the tube won’t press up against the tire's inside walls when inflated, and you'll struggle to get the handling you want.
In general, the quoted dimensions for tubes correspond to the actual dimensions of mobility scooter tires. So when you choose a tube, you’re looking for values that correspond to the tire's dimensions. If the tire's dimensions are 6” x 2” you would choose a tube that is also quoted as 6” x 2”.
Often, you’ll see the second dimension - the tube width - quoted as a range. So, for instance, 1.75” - 2.25” means that the tube will fit tires between 1.75 inches to 2.25 inches wide.
By definition, solid tires do not use inflatable tubes, so tube dimensions are not a consideration.
The tread on mobility scooter tires and casters refers to the pattern on the outer face of the tire (the part of it that comes into contact with the ground).
As you search for mobility scooter tires, you’ll encounter a wide variety of treads. Smooth treads are for fast-rolling and minimal resistance.
They typically have channels cut in the tire and large smooth sections in between. Wheels and casters with these tires are ideal for people traveling on flat, predictable surfaces.
Other tires have full treads with specific patterns. The following tire uses the C177 design - an official name given to the style of the tread:
This is a multi-terrain tire, meaning that you can take it off-road, including parks, gardens, and nature trails. The benefits are increased grip and mud clearance. The costs are higher rolling resistance and shorter battery life.
Which you choose depends primarily on your lifestyle. If you rarely venture off smooth surfaces (such sidewalks), then slick tires might be the better option. If, however, you frequently go off-road or out of the house, then tires with treads are probably the better choice.
Solid Versus Pneumatic Tires: Which Is Better?
Choosing the best mobility scooter tires and casters is challenging. Both solid and pneumatic tires offer costs and benefits. Check out the following:
The Benefits Of Solid Tires
The benefits of solid tires include the following:
- Less downtime. Solid tires don’t fail in the way that their pneumatic counterparts do. They will never go flat, meaning that you’re unlikely to experience unexpected “downtime.” Tires will usually show wear and tear signs ahead of time, providing you with advanced warning of failure.
- Less slippage. Many manufacturers bond solid tires with the rims, helping to reduce slippage. Pneumatic tires always run the risk of shifting with respect to the wheel when put under load.
- Less maintenance. If a solid tire receives a gash in the sidewall, it doesn’t matter. The product will continue to function as normal.
- More durable. Solid tires tend to be more durable than their pneumatic counterparts. They do not rely on a thin, damage-prone outer layer.
- Easy to change. Changing pneumatic tires can be a hassle. First, you have to remove the wheel. Then you have to lever the tire from the rim, replace the inner tube, and install the new tire and pump it up. With a solid tire, you can usually just pop off the old wheel or caster and replace it with the new one. It is often a matter of untightening some bolts, fitting the new unit, and then retightening.
- Extra weight. Usually, excess weight is a bad thing. But in the case of mobility scooter tires and casters, it’s actually something you want. Having heavier wheels lowers your vehicle's center of gravity, making it less likely to topple over.
- Extra-deep tread. While you can’t make the tread on regular pneumatic tires deep, most manufacturers don’t do this because it can adversely affect performance. However, solid tires adopt a structure that allows the tread to go much deeper, extending the life of the product. Often you can run solid tires for many years and never have to replace them.
- Puncture resistance. Nothing is more annoying than discovering that you have a puncture while you’re away from home. Solid tires eliminate this risk, meaning that you can travel in confidence without having to bring a pump and puncture repair kit with you.
The Benefits Of Pneumatic Tires
There, however, multiple benefits of pneumatic tires too:
- Better impact absorption. While solid tires have excellent durability, they’re not able to absorb impacts as well as pneumatic tires. When air-filled tires hit an object in their path, they immediately deform, transferring the shock into pressure waves that travel through the air-filled interior. The result is less bumping and shaking. Solid tires do something similar, but not as fast or evenly.
- Smoother ride. Ideally, you want the experience of riding a mobility scooter to feel smooth. When you use solid tires, the sensations coming up through the seat depend significantly on the terrain below. If it is bumpy, you’ll feel it. Pneumatic tires, however, help to smooth out a jarring ride on uneven floors and ground.
- Better for rough terrain. Pneumatic tires tend to be better for rugged terrain because they can better conform to the shape of the ground beneath, providing more grip. Solid tires don’t have the same degree of pliability, making them better suited for riders traveling on smooth surfaces, like sidewalks or grocery store floors.
- Better lateral stability. As you travel over uneven terrain, your mobility scooter will tend to bank one way and then another. Pneumatic tires tend to be better at offering lateral support when this happens, resisting how far your scooter tilts in any direction.
- Gentler on the flooring. Companies typically choose pneumatic tires for warehouse equipment. Typically, they are much gentler on surfaces because of how the tire deforms and spreads the weight of the vehicle above. Solid tires, on the other hand, put more pressure on each point.
So, which type of tire wins? Take a look at the following table:
Ease of maintenance
Gentleness on flooring
The 4 Best Mobility Scooter Tires And Casters In 2020
So, now you have a better sense of the types of tires and casters out there, and when you might use them, it is time to take a look at specific products. Get ready to check out our top four mobility scooter tires and casters available from our store.
New Solutions: 14 X 3" (3.00-8)Lt Gray Knobby Tire
This tire is one of the most exciting in our range. It’s a solid tire, designed for use with the Quickie Wide. It is made of high-quality urethane and is essentially flat-proof. As a light grey tire, it fits seamlessly and discreetly onto your existing mobility scooter, providing years of use.
New Solutions: 24 X 1" Dark Gray Pyramid Tire
New Solutions also makes a pyramid tire for use with specific E&J products. The tire's triangular profile helps generate additional stability, preventing it from moving from side to side as you turn corners or engage the throttle on your scooter. These tires are low profile and usually sit externally to any wheel arch or housing.
New Solutions: 8 X 1" Dark Gray Round Tire
If you’re looking for a versatile tire that fits all N.S. 8 spoke wheels, then this offering from New Solutions could be the product that you’re looking for. It is latex-free, dark gray, and solid throughout. This tire type is popular because of its compatibility with standard wheels.
New Solutions: Gogo Victory 9 3W 8x 2.5
If you’re looking for the whole assembly for the Go-Go Sport, Victory ES 9, Mega Motion, Windermere Motional Rascal 9, or the Pride Victory 9, this is the wheel for you. It comes with 6082 series bearings for long life and is made of non-marking rubber, making it ideal for indoor use.
Can you put bigger wheels on your mobility scooter?
Many people wonder whether they can put bigger wheels on their mobility scooters to improve ride performance.
The answer is that in general, you can’t change the size of the wheel. That’s because it is either incompatible with the chassis, the motor, or both.
Sometimes you can change superficial features of the casters or tires you use, making them different from the one that your mobility scooter came with. So, for instance, you might switch from a smooth tire to one with treads. But, in general, you can’t alter the actual dimensions of the tire or caster. That’s something that manufacturers bake into the design before they sell the product.
How do you fix a puncture on a mobility scooter?
Wondering how to fix a puncture on a mobility scooter? If you have a pneumatic tire, the process works very similarly to how it works on a regular tire. Check out the following video:
What PSI should mobility scooter tires be?
PSI stands for “pounds per square inch” and is a measure of the pressure pushing on the interior walls of the tire.
Working out how much pressure is in your tires is easy, but you need a suitable pump. Some come with PSI pressure gauges that let you see how much you have inflated your tires.
In general, mobility scooter tires have a PSI between 18 and 30. However, you should read the manufacturer’s guidance for how much air you should force into them. If the combined scooter and rider weight is on the heavy side, you may require more pressure.
What are honeycomb tires?
Honeycomb tires are a kind of halfway house between solid and pneumatic tires. They don’t have inner tubes, so they’re not fully pneumatic, but they still use air to provide cushioning.
The basic idea of a honeycomb tire is to combine a lattice plastic structure with air-containing voids. As you ride along over bumps, the internal pressure of the trapped air mimics the effect of a pneumatic tire, providing you with a relatively smooth ride. The system attempts to give mobility scooter users the best of both worlds: a tire that won’t go flat plus one that is comfortable to ride.
The downsides of honeycomb tires are minimal. While there is a slight weight penalty, they are typically lighter than solid tires (which have material all the way through). Furthermore, they provide better support on rough terrain, making them ideal for taking offroad.
However, the price you pay for these systems tends to be a little higher because of the complexity of manufacturing. Designers have to create a 3D internal structure that behaves in much the same way as a regular pneumatic tire - and that is something you inevitably must pay for.
Why buy mobility scooter tires and casters from Scooters N Chairs?
If you’re looking for tires and casters for your disability device, two-seater mobility scooter, or even your wheelchair, why should you choose Scooters N Chairs?
Check out the following reasons:
We’re an authorized dealer. When you come to us, you get full warranty coverage, just in case anything goes wrong.
We supply items directly. We work with partner warehouses, tracking products as they make their way from the source to our facilities.
We only deal with US-based brands. Thus, if you have a problem with any of the products you buy, we can quickly communicate with the carrier and resolve the issue.
We offer the lowest prices on all our products. And, in some cases, we also offer the lowest prices legally permitted.
We offer the Norton Shopping Guarantee on your purchases. No deal on our site is too good to be true.
We offer family-style customer care. If something isn’t to your satisfaction, just give us a call.