Forklift Tyres – When is it time to replace your forklift tyres?

Forklift Tyres – The signs that it’s time to change your tyres

Your business relies on forklifts and the forklift tyres. Without them, merchandise doesn’t get shifted from factory to warehouse. It doesn’t get loaded onto your trucks, your customers don’t receive their shipments and you might not get paid. The less downtime your forklifts suffer, the more efficient your operation is. The more money you make.

When monitoring these beasts of burden, it’s easy to concentrate on the engine and hydraulics and forget the forklift tyres. They are perhaps the hardest working of all forklift components. Toyota trucks estimated that the average forklift tyre carries over 9,500 lbs. There are no suspension systems to help spread that weight. Every single ounce of your load relies on a single ring of black rubber.

A while ago I wrote about how to choose and maintain forklift tyres to cut costs. Here, I’ll discuss why it’s so important to know when to replace your forklift tyres. I’ll also describe the warning signs that your forklift tyres are wearing.

The job that forklift tyres do

Forklift tyres carry heavy loads. Even the steer tyres carry more than 1,000 lbs. Tyres that are in good condition:

  • Help to soften the driver’s ride
  • Contributes to keep the forklift stable
  • Reduce driver fatigue
  • Decrease fuel consumption
  • Reduce forklift maintenance costs

If your forklift tyres are in bad condition, your workplace efficiency could suffer. Increased driver fatigue could lead to safety issues. And then, of course, there are the cost issues: increased fuel bills, and the effect of downtime.

How do you know your forklift tyres need replacing?

There are three main types of forklift tyre. The signs that they are wearing are different for each. Cushion (or press-on) tyres are pretty much shot when a third of their rubber is worn. Pneumatic tyres need to be examined for tread wear. Resilient (or solid pneumatic) tyres can be worn down to the wear mark on the sidewall.

Forklift cushion tyre danger signs

Cushion tyres wear slowly but can be damaged easily. Watch for the following danger signs that all indicate a tyre change is needed:

  • The top of the tyre has worn down to the wear line.
  • If bits of rubber have fallen off, or there are chunks taken out of the tyre, it needs replacing.
  • Flat spots, where one part of the tyre is balder. It is usually caused by tyre spinning, sharp braking, or misalignment of wheels.
  • Tearing by sharp objects. It causes imbalance and can tip the forklift.

Forklift pneumatic tyre danger signs

Pneumatic tyres are most commonly used outdoors. Watch for these danger signs:

  • Under or over inflation will affect the stability of the forklift and increase wear. It also affects traction, reducing braking power.
  • Cuts in the tyre can cause sudden loss of air. It could cause the forklift to tip. If the cord is visible, or you notice frayed cord piles, your tyre needs replacing.
  • Bald patches should be checked for at all points on the inside and outer edges of the tyre, as well as its contact surface.
  • There’s a two-inch rule that says after two inches of tyre height is gone, almost 20% more stress is put on the vehicle. However, it’s probably better to rely on tread depth.

Forklift resilient tyre danger signs

If there is no damage to resilient tyres they can be used until wear takes the rubber down to the wear lines on the sidewall. However, you need to observe all the warning signs for both cushion and pneumatic forklift tyres, because resilient tyres are a cross between the two.

If your forklift tyres wear too much, your forklift performance will suffer. You’ll use more fuel, and safety could be compromised. The extra pressure on other moving parts (including the engine) could cause unnecessary and expensive damage. Your tyre maintenance programme should be a core part of your safety check routine as well as your vehicle maintenance regime.

The forklift tyre tips above will help your productivity and safety, and you can always contact us (by Skype, telephone, or on our contact form) to get expert advice at our West Brisbane forklift tyre shop. Hey, we’ll even come and replace them for you.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

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.