183 of 192 people found the following review helpful
The full story on the "doesn't roll on hard floors" thing
, December 22, 2010
= Durability: = Fun: = Educational:
This review is from: Green Toys Dump Truck (Toy)
After reading the reviews here that said this truck doesn't roll on hard floors, I decided to get it anyway, for all of its other virtues, and encouraged by the idea presented in one of the reviews here that removing the tires and adding lubricant would fix the problem.
Now that I have it in my hands, I can attest that yes, it does have a problem rolling on hard floors. And the lubrication idea mentioned elsewhere doesn't fully address the problem. As it turns out, it's a combination of four minor design flaws that causes the rolling problem. To an extent, they can be addressed.
1) The shafts the tires are mounted on are too tight. This is the most noticeable inhibitor of rolling, and the one issue addressed by the "adding lubricant" idea. Instead of an axle which runs all the way under the truck between two opposing tires, each individual wheel is mounted on its own plastic post. The post is split at the end - think of an old-fashioned clothespin - and the tension causes a little drag on the wheel. Removing each wheel and pinching the ends of each post together pretty much eliminates this problem, loosening the wheels and allowing them to spin.
2) The rolling surface of each tire is not flat, that is, not parallel to the ground. If you look at the tire from the side, you can see that each tire is slightly beveled, with the wider side against the body and the narrower side facing outward. When rolling on a hard, flat surface, only the inner part of each tire's surface is actually in contact with the floor. This leaves each tire more vulnerable to any binding/catching that's happening elsewhere. This issue can't be resolved.
3) The tires aren't perfectly circular. If you take off a wheel and look at it from the back, you see that the flared/wider side of the tire - the part that comes in contact with the ground - is not a perfect circle. Rather, it's very slightly oblong, which creates high and low spots when the wheel rolls. When the truck rolls, some tires can get stuck in a high or low spot and disrupt the rolling motion. This can be remedied to an extent by squeezing the (hard plastic) tires in your hands to even out their shape a bit.
4) The undercarriage of the truck comes too close to the tires. In one spot for each tire, just in front of the front tires and just behind the back tires, the inner "walls" that run behind the tires come too close to the tires, and due to the uneven shape of the tires, they sometimes come in contact with the tire and snag it/bog it down. This can be remedied to an extent by bending the walls of the undercarriage inward at these points, giving the tires a bit more clearance.
Even after doing all these things, the truck still doesn't roll perfectly on hard floors. Much better than when it comes out of the box, yes, but not perfect. But it rolls on carpet and the like very smoothly and easily - no hangups at all.
Design-wise, this would be a snap to fix. I also have a Sprig toy recycle truck, and it has a metal axle connecting opposing tires, which roll flat against the ground. The result: smooth, easy rolling motion on any surface. The Green Toys design, with each wheel attached separately to its own plastic post, a beveled rolling surface, imperfectly round tires, and binding spots between the tires and body, is simply inferior. These things are off only slightly, but enough.
All of this sounds like a bad review. Not necessarily. While I'm disappointed in the poorly-thought-out aspects of the wheel design, this is a solid toy with a great bed - it's roomy, well enclosed, and dumps smoothly and easily. Also, it's made in the USA, uses recycled plastic, and is recyclable itself (has the #2 symbol on the bottom). And it's non-toxic, BPA-free plastic, to boot.
So it may come down to priorities. Do you buy the department-store big-name truck that rolls perfectly smoothly but is made in China with possibly toxic materials? Or do you choose the imperfect toy that's made in the US by an American company using recycled, non-toxic materials? A third option would be the Sprig toys, which combine North American and foreign aspects, and also have non-toxic ingredients, and are designed better.
Good luck with your decision.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you?