With so many factors to consider when choosing your little one’s new favourite ride-on toy, one aspect that often gets overlooked is the wheels that will provide traction and move the car forward.
Selecting the wrong tyres and wheels for the vehicle’s size and power and your child’s age and size can lead to poor traction and, ultimately, a bad driving experience.
This guide highlights what wheels are suitable for various driving surfaces and conditions, allowing parents to make the right choice when purchasing a new ride-on car.
What’s in this guide
Why are Wheels Important to Your Child’s Ride-On Experience?
The performance of kid’s ride-on toys is dependent on multiple factors such as battery voltage, motor wattage and vehicle size. However, as with real cars, all of these mean nothing if the contact point with the surface, i.e. the wheels, is not suitable.
As they act as the point of contact with the driving surface, the wheels on your child’s ride-on car affect every aspect of the riding experience, from steering and braking to acceleration and shock-absorption, choosing the wrong wheels for your new toy can lead to any of these aspects performing poorly and an unsafe experience.
Wheel & Tyre Types Explained
Generally speaking, children’s ride-on cars come with one of three types of wheels; hard plastic wheels, inflated rubber tyres and EVA rubber wheels. Here’s the rundown on each type:
Rigid plastic wheels are the most affordable type and provide excellent traction for 6v and 12v cars on relatively flat terrain, although larger vehicles may struggle and slip on wet and steep terrain.
Inflatable rubber tyres usually come with an inner tube filled with pressurised air; they are found on ride-on quads and other off-road vehicles, providing the same comfortable ride and grip as real car tyres. One negative aspect of inflatable tyres is that they can suffer punctures, so ensure you have a pump and puncture repair kit to hand.
EVA rubber tyres are the most advanced on the market, made from ethylene-vinyl acetate; these wheels provide the same comfortable ride as air-filled tyres without worrying about air pressures and punctures. A copolymerisation reaction between vinyl acetate and ethylene produces the foam used in EVA wheels; this foam is highly durable, UV and water-resistant and can resist cracking when under stress. EVA wheels are a must-have for faster 24-volt and larger ride-ons.
Which Wheels are Suitable for Flat Indoor Surfaces?
Most ride-on kid’s cars are sold with standard rigid plastic wheels. These wheels are great for driving on relatively flat indoor surfaces, providing the appropriate traction for a fantastic riding experience for most 6v and 12v vehicles.
Air-filled rubber and EVA foam tyres also provide a great driving adventure on flat indoor surfaces, although the capabilities of these wheels far exceed the confines of the average home.
Which Wheels are Ideal for Outdoor Terrain?
The standard hard plastic wheels sold with most cars are appropriate for very flat dry outdoor terrain; however, be mindful that these wheels will start to slip if used on steep inclines or wet surfaces.
Rubber and EVA tyres are perfectly at home in the great outdoors. These wheels can conquer most outside terrains and provide a stable driving experience over steep hills, wet grass, and pavement concrete.
Can Kids Ride-Ons Be Driven on Grass?
Taking your kid’s brand new ride-on car offroad? It’s inevitable that your little racing driver will need to navigate the green green grass of Great Britain.
The simple answer is yes, children’s ride-ons are perfectly capable of riding over both bone dry and soggy wet grass, although parents need to ensure that the vehicle is equipped with the correct wheels and tyres.
Can the Wheels on my Child’s Ride-On be Changed?
It’s relatively easy to change the wheels on your little one’s new ride-on. The first step is to ensure that your existing wheels and new wheels connect to the car with the same mechanism.
There are generally three types of connections; a push and pull clip, split pin or a conventional bolt-on. Providing those mechanisms match, it should be a simple case of removing the old wheels and adding the new ones.