Jump to content

Unofficial Home of Old Simplicity & Allis-Chalmers Garden Tractors

Sign in to follow this  

Hot knifing tires for better traction?

Recommended Posts


I have a set of Carlisle 20x10x8 turf saver tires on the tractor that my wife mows the property with. They work good for the flat of the property, but if she mows the ditch line, where it slopes some and angles, the tires just don't have any traction what so ever, especially if there is any hint of wet grass. It's not a mud problem at all, it's all grass, just no traction on a slight slope. It's been a reoccurring problem enough so, that I built front and rear bumpers for the tractor, just so I'd have some place to grab onto, and ether pull or push it when the time comes.

I was thinking of cutting (hot knifing) some of the lugs out for better traction. Has anyone ever done this to a garden tractor with turf tires, to gain some traction?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it was raining outside this afternoon, so that put a kink in my plans of getting the rest of the snow fence up today. So had some time to kill, and went ahead cut up one of my tires. It could end up being just a waste of my time (a little over 1-hour for the one tire) I figured it couldn't hurt any, seeings how I didn't like the way tires performed stock anyways.


Here's the stock tires. (note the mandatory grab handle)






Like a hot knife through butter.







Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hope that works for you, it sure looks more aggressive now. Problem with older tires, is the rubber gets so hard it loses its "stickyness". Another thing to check is tire pressure. Overinflation makes 'em hard as a rock. Running them at maybe 15#s can help too.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well my neighbor has some steep slope areas on his land because he did not install a 12 inch drain pipe to eliminate the ditch like I did, some 25 years ago. He uses chains on his tractor to cut the whole yard. I can not tell a difference between mine or his. The chains don't seem to tear up his yard. If you find that to be true on your yard, maybe that is the answer to your problem or a new set of good turf tires.

Your tires are the typical turf tires that one gets on their tractor. I don't like them much myself. I have had four tractors with those style design. Phandad has a set of turf tires that you may like. When I get a chance I am buying ones like he had posted awhile back.

My neighbor just bought a new X300 John Deere and they have the nice new turf tires and I think they provide better traction, IMHO. I think they are beginning to eliminate the style you and I have in new tractors.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This should help putting more pressure on the lugs that are left. And you get a lot of traction from the freshly exposed rubber.

As the turf savers get old they get hard and slippery. Paint a thin coating of diesel fuel on the lugs of the tires will soften the face up. The Goodyear's on the 60s tractors is still softer than the Carlisle's on the late 70s tractors.

Look at new tires and the rubber is much more sticky, and softer.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


.....I'd have taken out Full Rows, every other one, not partial.....

I do that with Snowmobile Tracks and it works well....It gives open

space for the following lug to dig in....When they're next to each-

other they float and still slip.....

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have sharpened several sets of tires. What I do is use a tire grinding wheel. I just remove rubber from the back side of the lug. In other words, I grind the lugs on a slight angle. I usually leave the front edge where it is and grind the lug so that I am removing about 1/8 inch at the back of the lug. This makes the lug cut into the soil a little more, but since I do not remove any lugs, there is no heavy tracks made. It just makes the front edges bite into the ground to give it traction. Seems to help quite a bit and doesn't mess up a lawn.

Started this years ago while tractor pulling. We weren't allowed to "cut" the tires in the stock class, so I angled the top of the cleats a little with a belt sander and nobody noticed. "Shhhhhhh!" Don't tell anybody.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. Gdub
  • Recent Status Updates

    • MARK (LI)

      MARK (LI)  »  Alltractoredup

      ...This is Mark from Long Island ....Gene told me that you are selling  FEL for a Sunstar....the link he sent me does not take me to it ...I am not on FB myself, but my wife is...is it just on the AC  / Simple group, or is it on the Marketplace?
      · 2 replies
    • F.U.N.

      F.U.N.  »  sandyhillbill

      Dear Sandhillbill
      Can you please copy me on this data, for Sun Star parts list.
      September 12, 2004 Mike I sent you a PM and have all the mfgs. available for the tiller/hitch/pto/liftgroup if you need me to send them to you. Let me know. Thanks, F.U.N.    
      · 0 replies
  • Adverts