The new versions of Roomba 4000 series and the latest Roomba 500 series all have the caster style front wheel but thousands upon thousands of other Roombas out there, still cleaning homes, have the "old" style fixed front wheel on them. For those who still have them or have purchased a Roomba with one can save the fixed plastic front wheel from premature wear from hard surfaces. Fixed wheels on carpet will not have this problem but on hard floors they will wear out within months of regular use. The following tip will allow you to slow down if not stop this premature wear.
1- Purchase or find black electrical tape (of approx. 1 inch width) and a hobby knife. Clean and clear the front wheel of any dirt/grime/hair as shown here:
2- Cut the electrical tape in half for a length of aprox. 4 3/4 in. (this will provide about 1/4 in. overlap) :
3- Apply the cut electrical tape on the front wheel while pulling it (this will make the elect. tape 'hug' the wheel surface evenly and tightly), you can use two hands (I used one because I was holding the camera) :
4- When you finish, press with your fingers all along the applied elect. tape in order to take out any ripples/air bubbles and to make sure that it is applied well. Depending on your hard surface floor this will protect your front wheel from premature wear for at least 1 - 3 months! Repeat the process every time you need to prevent wear and tear on the fixed front wheel of your Roomba.