Are Your Forklift Tires up to the Task? Tips for Replacement
There are several different types of forklift tires to choose from, depending on how the forklift will be used. Common types of forklift tires are pneumatic, solid rubber, cushion, and polyurethane. No matter the type of tire, they all show signs of wear and tear. Knowing when to replace your forklift tires is important for several reasons. Let’s take a look at the main reasons to replace your tires, and also the signs you should look for to determine when it’s time.
Stability – When your forklift is in need of new tires it will become unstable, so continuing to operate the machine can lead to a dangerous environment for the operator as well as people on the ground.
Comfort – A forklift that is in need of new tires will be extremely uncomfortable for the operator, which could lead to fatigue and some costly mistakes.
Load damage – If your forklift is unstable, it’s likely that your load is unstable. And nobody wants a lost load or tip over. All the bumping and bouncing caused by uneven tires could cause damage as well.
Facility damage – Every operation wants to keep losses to a minimum and the damage caused by forklifts can be very costly. An unsteady forklift coming into contact with racking could be damaging and even disastrous with a collapse. Read our BLOG to learn more about added protection for your pallet racking.
Pedestrian safety – An unsafe forklift is not only hazardous to the operator, but also the people working near and around the forklift. It’s critical to replace your forklift tires before they are worn, so they have enough traction to come to a complete stop, which is especially important in high-traffic areas.
CHECK THEM OFTEN
Forklift tires must bear thousands of pounds of pressure, which should make them a priority during your daily pre-start inspection as required by OSHA.  You’ll need to check the pressure for air-filled tires, and if you notice any of these signs, it’s time to replace your forklift tires.
Tread Wear/Balding –Both pneumatic and cushion tires performance will suffer when their tread gets low. For pneumatic tires, when the tread is close to gone or you notice bald spots, it’s time to replace the tires.  A general rule of thumb to determine if your tires need replacing is to see if the tire wear reaches just above the imprinted area with the brand name and the size of the tire.  For cushion tires, when the size of the tire is 2 inches less than the original size, it’s time for new tires.
Chunking – This occurs when large pieces or chunks of rubber detach from the surface of the tire. Common causes include collisions with objects, repeated contact with sharp debris or driving over rough terrain. Tires with chunks missing are extremely dangerous and should be replaced immediately.
Cuts/Tearing – Similar to chunking, if you see cuts on the tire or if your tires are tearing off in spots, they need to be replaced.
Radial Cracking – Radial cracks or splits on the sidewall are usually caused by overloading. You may need to replace with a wider tire.
Flat Spots – A forklift tire should be round and uniform. Frequent sharp turns, heavy loads, and spinning during acceleration can cause flat spots. If you notice flat spots on your tires, you need to consider new ones.
Just like a car, quality tires are critical to operating a forklift safely. Worn and damaged forklift tires can lead to problems like poor handling and operator fatigue that can lead to both product and facility damage. To ensure worker safety, it’s important to use a daily inspection checklist and follow a regular tire replacement schedule.
Workplace safety is a top priority at Action Lift. In Northeastern Pennsylvania, you can count on us for the area’s best forklift sales, forklift service, forklift parts, and forklift training.