I am using an 3 wheeled, rear drive, electric tow truck vehicle indoors on commonly used floor tiles. It seems that when braking the vehicle some floor tiles break . Its specs are similar to http://www.afzaindia.com/sit-on-electric-tow-trucks.htm (but with mechanical brakes)

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Its rear drive and brakes also applied on rear 2 tires. Solid rubber industrial tires.

I want to find a solution as how to ensure that such issues can be completely avoided. some of the things explored are as follows but I do not have good technical review if they are really useful changes.

  1. Changing brakes system to electro-magnetic brakes
  2. Change solid rubber tires to pneumatic tires
  3. Increase surface area of the tires (difficult)
  4. Change front tires to larger size tyres and install brakes on front tyres.

Please give suggestions and technical reasons behind such breaking of tiles. The tiles does not break even if we operate a heavy SUV car on the same floor but can break by this tow truck. One reason is also that it has loaded carts in the back that does not have their own brakes.


Interesting, how some of these older threads get bumped back to the top for reasons I can't spot...

The problem at hand isn't with that truck, or its brakes, or its tires. The problem is with the tiles - they were never laid correctly in the first place, or they would not have begin breaking.

Tiles for an application like this need to be (1) laid over a thick concrete floor with a very uniform, level top surface specially finished for floor tiles. (2) heavy red clay body for compression resistance. (3) bedded fully in a full-buttered coat of thinset mortar with absolutely no air gaps anywhere, pressed firmly into the mortar bed. (4) grouted well. If any of those four isn't true, those tiles will crack. If all four are true, you can nearly drive a battle tank across that floor without breaking tiles.

But... I doubt very much that the company will have much interest in relaying that floor, am I right? Such is life. In the long run, it'd save them more money to do the job right - now - than have to deal with this issue appearing again and again. It WILL reappear. Next time it may be a little lightweight vehicle that cracks a tile. It MAY be a heavy person - 830kgs over three tires is less than 300kgs per tire, and a very heavy man tipping up on his toes or his heels can exert more pointed floor pressure than that truck can. Pretty close - your hard tires' footprints are very narrow.

What can you do to improve things? Your only option, really, since you're forbidden to use wood (I'd recommend wide planks instead of plywood) will be to make those tires as fat and soft and pillowy as you can, mostly fat. You're going to want to make the tires' footprints as large as possible, so the vehicle's weight is spread over as wide an area as possible. That implies soft tires to make each footprint large & square, and that softness will also take some of the abruptness out of braking & accelerating. Can you at least double the rear tires? It'll make steering worse, since dragging two tires around in a tight circle presents a lot of extra shear stress, but in straight runs it'll spread out that load.

Larger DIAMETER tires would actually help as much as FATTER tires would... but it doesn't look like there's any room on that truck for larger diameters.


The problem is almost certainly due to a combination two factors:

  1. The tug has solid rubber tires, so it transmits impacts to the floor much more than the vehicles with conventional tires which you mention aren't breaking tiles, and
  2. Poorly laid tiles. If the material that the tires are set in does not provide solid even support all the way across them, they will be much more likely to break when they are stressed. Next time one breaks, do some investigation if you can. Pull up the tile and see if there is an even layer of material supporting it on the back and if there floor surface under it is smooth and level. I would be willing to bet that you'll find that the tiles are not evenly supported.

It sounds like you have the option of switching to pneumatic tires. I think that is your best bet.

  • Agreed, the problem of breaking tiles is probably due to incorrectly fitted or incorrectly specified floor tiles. Apr 5 '18 at 13:47

The easiest solution to this is to put down some type of thick plywood or planking on the tile. This would disperse the weight (load) on the tile. You could also try to use a different method to do whatever it is you are trying to accomplish, like maybe using the SUV as the workhorse since it doesn't break the tiles. I'm not sure how the braking system could be causing what you are suggesting. It sounds more like just the load of what you are hauling.

  • thanks for your feedback. I am not fully sure that its only due to Brakes. it could be due to types of tires , load. I need to use it on floor tiles only and cannot use wooden planks.
    – user4820
    Apr 7 '14 at 10:58
  • You're saying, you cannot put something on top of the tiles to protect them? This is a common practice to disperse the load. Apr 7 '14 at 11:10
  • I intend to solve the problem with the electric tow trucks as i intend to use several of them in future at different locations. I want to understand what changes can help in solving this problem, like changing tires, changing breaks or some other changes/tests.
    – user4820
    Apr 7 '14 at 13:30
  • I truly doubt the brakes have anything to do with your issue, but more than likely the tires themselves, but if you replace the tires with something which will spread the load better, you won't have the same ability with the truck you do now. It's like a no-win-scenario. Apr 7 '14 at 14:31

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