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Choosing Between 3 Rib (F-2) and Four Rib (F-2M) Front Tractor Tires

When choosing front tractor tires for your 2WD tractor*, you generally have 4 tread styles to choose from: F-1, F-2, F-2M and some implement tires can be used on the front of two wheeled drive tractors. The two most popular styles are 3 Ribbed (F-2) and 4 Ribbed (F-2M), and we get many questions about the differences between the two. *Please note, if your tractor is 4WD, you will not be using any of these- 4WD tractors use Rear Tractor Tires on all 4 wheels.

Let’s first look at the different tread styles available when choosing front tires for your tractor.


Photo of a Firestone F-1 front tractor tire

F-1 Single Rib

Single Rib:

Referred to as an F1 or F-1 tread design. This style is completely smooth on both outer edges with one prominent heavy rib in the center. They are generally only used in deep mud- such as rice and cane fields.


photo of a 3 rib F-2 front tractor tire

3 Rib F-2

Three Rib:

3 Rib Front Tractor Tires are commonly referred to as F2 or F-2. Easily identified by the wide high center rib and two pronounced outside ribs on both shoulders. The high center rib is designed to prevent lateral slid-slippage while the outside ribs offer stability. This tread style penetrates deep into the soil in order to provide maximum steering control. The F-2 is by far the most popular tread design for front tires on two-wheel drive tractors.


photo of a 4 rib tractor tire

4 Rib F-2M

Four Rib:

4 Rib Front Tractor tires fall into a tire tread category known as an F2M or F-2M. The tread design is characterized by four equally spaced high ribs. Usage is intended for handling heavy loads on hard packed surfaces as well as providing excellent steering in the field. Four Rib Tires offer exceptional load distribution and flotation.


I-1 or Flotation

Implement or Flotation

Rib Implement (I-1 Tires) can be used for front tires on 2WD Tractors, generally when soil compaction is a concern. They feature a wider footprint that offers superb flotation.

Photo comparing 3 rib versus 4 rib front tractor tires

F-2 vs. F-2M

In general, the fewer ribs, the better the steering in softer soil. More ribs provide less ground pressure and are better for grasses/lawns. Users report they see less “tearing up” of hay or crops with the 4 rib style. They also can handle the heavier loads- especially on harder surfaces (or packed soil conditions).
F-2s are designed to steer better in dirt (tilled for plantings). They are much more popular and generally less expensive. There are also fewer tire sizes available in the F-2M style compared to the F-2.

See our full selection of F-2 Front Tractor Tires and F-2M Front Tractor Tires on our main website.

Still not sure which style is right for you?

Just give us a call…our phones are answered only by experienced tractor and farm tire experts. Family owned and operated since 1938, Ken Jones Tires prides themselves on having the best selection of top brands, exceptional customer service, and fast shipping throughout the US.
Specialty Tire Experts at Ken Jones Tires