Foam-filled tires are made of regular rubber but filled with hardened liquid urethane.They have benefits like being impervious to flats, but can only be used on slow-moving vehicles.Still, companies are willing to pay three times as much as air-filled tires for them.LoadingSomething is loading.Narrator: This is a tire technician disassembling what’s known as a foam-filled tire. It’s a grueling process, but an important one for these special kinds of tires once their tread has worn off. The extra work is apparently worth it, because foam-filled tires come with special benefits and capabilities that companies are willing to pay thousands of dollars more for than air-filled tires. So, how exactly are foam-filled tires made?Tire Doctor: So, foam-filled tires are basically the exact same thing as air tires. They just have a heavy-duty compound called urethane in them that gets injected through a hose. You let it sit over three to four days, and that’s called the curing process.Narrator: Once the liquid urethane has hardened and manufacturers are sure that the tire is absent of any air, they’re ready to go. So, what’s the point of having your tires filled with dense foam instead of air? If you’re a construction company working on a site covered in loose nails and debris, foam-filled tires that can’t go flat are exactly what you need.Tire Doctor: So, companies will usually do foam-filled tires if they don’t want any downtime, because downtime is very expensive for certain customers. Basically what downtime means is if you get a flat because you have an air tire, then you’re unable to move that unit until a tire guy like me comes along and fixes it.Narrator: Besides being impervious to punctures, foam-filled tires provide construction trucks with a softer ride because of the consistent PSI in each tire, and they add extra weight for the more difficult tasks.Tire Doctor: So, foam-filled tires can also act as a ballast. So, basically, if you are lifting really heavy things, like really heavy rocks, it can stop you from tilting forward. Or if you’re rolling one of those big rollers, you put on foam-filled tires, and it adds maybe 1,000 to 2,000 pounds, even more depending on the tire size.Narrator: But don’t get confused. These tires are not made for your full-size pickup or off-road SUV. The speed of passenger vehicles would make the foam melt, and the weight of the tires alone could send you veering off the road and destroy your suspension.Tire Doctor: So, there’s a lot of controversy between if something on the highway can actually have foam-filled tires. A lot of people ask me that kind of thing, like, “Can I put foam-filled tires on my car?” And it’s definitely a no. Typically, foam-filled tires are used for low-speed vehicles like construction units, like a skid steer or a loader.Narrator: Still, it’s hard not to envy the idea of tires that can’t go flat. That’s why the construction companies that use them have to pay so much, between the amount of labor and liquid urethane filling they involve.Tire Doctor: So, you’re usually going to have to pay two to three times more per tire. And you also have to purchase a new tire as soon as you want foam, because if you start to put a used tire on, it doesn’t really make the cost worth it. So, say, a smaller tire, it would usually be worth up to $1,000 per tire. And then for the higher-end tires, like the big mining trucks or anything like that that you see in the quarries, it’s going to be upwards of, I would say, $5,000 to $10,000 per tire.Narrator: These extra-expensive construction tires last the same amount of time as regular air-filled ones, if not longer, before their tread wears off. Even so, the time eventually comes when foam-filled tires need to be disassembled. Videos of tire technicians tearing them apart at the end of their life span have become popular online, but this fun-to-watch process isn’t the typical way it’s done.Tire Doctor: So, we can bring it in to, say, the people that foam-fill our tires, and they can take it off with a machine, which is way easier, saves a ton of time. But what we do for our customers is we actually do it manually. And it’s really labor-intensive, that’s for sure. I’m a little too skinny to do that job. My brother has got to do that one. But the reason why we do this is because it saves our customers a couple hundred dollars here and there. Maybe for four tires, it would cost $500 or $600. And instead, we will charge our customers $250. ‘Cause it is a family business, so it helps us out a little bit, and it also helps our customers out, so that’s why it’s good to hire family businesses.


Source: www.businessinsider.com