Forklift Tyres – How to Choose and Maintain Forklift Tyres and Cut Costs

Lengthen forklift tyre life to cut your costs

When it comes to forklifts, the forklift tyres might be just about the most crucial moving part. (OK, apart from the forks) They’re also the silent partner in your daily work routine. Your forklift truck tyres must be man enough for the job at hand, but they should also be like a good kid – seen and never heard.

The choice you make for your forklift tyres depends on the work you’ll be doing, the weight your truck lifts, and the environment in which they’re used. When it comes to forklift tyres, there’s a big choice. You’ll have to decide between different types of forklift tyres, different treads, different compounds, and a host of ply ratings.

Here, I’ll run through your forklift truck tyres and the choice you have. I’ll offer some advice on handling and maintenance, getting the right forklift tyres and treating them properly to help make your workplace safer. Your forklift tyres will last longer, and your costs will fall.

How to choose the right forklift tyres

When you come to our Brisbane tyre shop for new forklift tyres, it helps to be prepared to answer a few questions. Simple things like:

  • Where do you use your forklift? In a warehouse, or outside? Heat affects tyres.
  • What type of surface is the truck driven on? Smooth, cobbled, concrete, etc.
  • What weights will the forklift be lifting and moving?
  • How about turning and how often will the forklift be making tight turns?

When you know the stresses and strains your forklift tyres are subjected to, we’ll tell you whether you’ll be best buying pneumatic or solid forklift truck tyres.

What type of forklift tyres are available today?

There are several different forklift tyre types, each ideal for different working environments. They include:

·      Solid forklift tyres

These are the most common. They’re good on a level and smooth surfaces, including indoors. That’s because they’re solid, reliable and puncture-proof (why they’re sometimes called ‘puncture-proof tyres’). However, they’re not immune from being damaged nor from daily wear and tear.

You’ll need to consider driver comfort: solid tyres won’t cushion on a bumpy terrain, which could be bad news for your back – and increase the possibility of damaging any goods being moved or your staff over the longer term.

In short, solid foklift tyres are great on smooth, even surfaces either indoors or outdoors. They last a long time but aren’t ideal for heavy loads or drivers that are susceptible to back pain.

·      Pneumatic forklift tyres

Pneumatic tyres offer more comfort and are the best type for use on rough ground. The downside with pneumatic forklift tyres is that they are not puncture proof. There’s always a premium for comfort.

To help protect the tyre from damage – and help with safety – it will have a deep tread and be made from a wear-resistant rubber compound. Because they’re air-filled, they provide a cushioning effect between the ground and the forklift, reducing wear on the forklift.

·      Cushion forklift tyres

A cushion tyre is made with a metal band that has rubber attached to it. They’re smaller than pneumatic tyres, so are better for working in enclosed and tight spaces. The name ‘cushion tyres’ might be somewhat misleading – they shouldn’t be used on rough ground, but are a good option for indoor warehouse work.

·      Polyurethane forklift tyres

You might find that the best tyre choice for you is a polyurethane compound – which could be ideal if all the work is indoors. These are also pressed on to fit. They’re best used indoors, and their small rolling resistance helps to lengthen their useful life.

·      Non-mark forklift tyres

Solid, non-mark tyres are designed to reduce tyre marks on floors. The downside is that they don’t last as long as other forklift tyres. Generally used by food processors.

·      Foam-fill forklift tyres

In many ways, foam fill tyres are like a cross between pneumatics and solids. They’re filled with a resin to make them puncture resistant. They act as a cushion on rough ground, and so are best for use where comfort is a factor, but the possibility of a puncture is high.

Looking after your forklift tyres

Damaged or rapidly worn tyres are costly and inconvenient. The driver who does a few doughnuts at the end of a shift may not understand that his bravado could be costing him a pay rise because of the extra tyres that have to be bought over the year. Apart from reminding forklift operators of the need to be responsible for their machinery, here are a few more things you can do to help your forklift tyres last longer:

Check inflation and loading

  • Check your forklift tyres every week, and make sure that they’re inflated to the right pressure for the loads they’ll be supporting
  • Make sure that each tyre valve is capped to prevent dirt getting in
  • Don’t bleed the tyre of air

Store your forklift tyres correctly

Even when not in use, tyres suffer wear. If you leave them in the heat or in direct sunlight, the rubber will begin to decay.

  • Don’t keep tyres for more than a few months at the most
  • Store in a cool, dark place
  • Try to avoid getting oil on your tyres

Forklift driver education

Poor drivers damage tyres. Make sure all your forklift drivers:

  • Don’t do doughnuts
  • Drive at lower speeds
  • Brake gently
  • Corner correctly
  • Don’t lock wheels to turn
  • Don’t go where the tyres aren’t designed for

Get the best forklift tyre advice in Brisbane

Don’t let your loads, drivers, and bottom line suffer from poor forklift tyre choice. If your drivers are off work with aches and pains more than they should be, your forklifts die earlier than they ought to, or your forklift tyres fail at regular intervals, come and speak to us in our Brisbane forklift tyre shop. We’ll help you to get the most out of your forklift tyres from day one.

If you’ve got any questions or queries, call our team on 3333 5510 now. We’re here to help.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road, (and warehouse)

Kevin Wood

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.