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Do I Need New Forklift Tires?

Forklifts are essential for many businesses. Keeping up with repairs and maintenance on your equipment helps to keep your business moving. One especially important aspect of a forklift’s health is the tires, but many people don’t realize how dangerous worn tires can be to employees, equipment and/or products. In light of this, it’s important to know when tires need replacing.

Worn forklift tires can cause more damage than you think. Here are some problems that worn forklift tires can cause, along with how to tell when you need to replace them with new ones.

Why should you change your forklift tires?

Forklift with new tires and 4" clearance. Excessive wear brings forklifts too close to the ground.
  • Potential damage to forklift – Most forklifts sit remarkably close to the ground. When a tire gets worn down enough, it can cause potential work accidents as the mast, underbody, or engine can get caught on protruding hazards on the ground—like ramps. This can cause potential harm to the driver, bystanders, and the forklift itself. It can also lead to costly—and avoidable—repair bills. Furthermore, jolting caused by a worn tire means less cushion for the forklift and increased the vibration throughout the truck; this can contribute to shortening the unit’s potential lifespan.
  • Tipping hazard – Tipping is a potential hazard when working with forklifts or any large and heavy material that needs to be moved. A forklift that is being used frequently can have uneven wearing on the tires, causing it to become unstable. A worn tire can create unneeded risk, as it could cause tipping or other accidents that can harm the driver, bystanders or other equipment.
  • Driver fatigue – A forklift does not have a suspension system: the tires alone are providing suspension, helping to soften the load for the driver and its cargo. When a tire is worn down, the driver feels the impact, as there is less cushion on the tire to smoothen out the ride, especially when they are being used on a full day’s shift.

How to tell if you need new forklift tires?

Driving with worn-out tires is dangerous and a potential safety hazard. Here are some things to look for if you need to know when you change your tires out. This article addresses the two most common tire types: cushion and solid pneumatic.

Some tires have a line to indicate the point at which they are worn out and need replacement. In lieu of such an indicator, our tire experts recommend changing your tires when they are worn 1/3 of the way through the useable rubber. This point is generally right at the top of the lettering on the tire.

Cushion Tire Replacement Points:

Replace forklift tires when they are worn through 1/3 of the original useable rubber

Solid Pneumatic Tire Replacement Point:

  • To tell if your solid pneumatic tires need changing, check the safety line on the side of the tire. The closer you are to the safety line, the more worn the tires are. You will want to change the tires before they are worn down to the safety line.
Replace the tires before they wear down to the safety line

Damaged or Broken Forklift Tires

Broken Forklift Tires

  • Broken forklift tires need to be replaced as part of OSHA safety standard and cannot be repaired. An example of broken tires may include tires that have not fully worn through their lifespan but have damage which could bring a possibility of workplace accidents: either from their structure being damaged where the tire becomes compromised, or it is worn in a way that makes it unsafe to use.
An example of a broken tire. Large amounts of missing rubber along with chunking (large chunks of missing rubber) of the rubber in the middle. This tire will make your forklift a very bumpy ride and may cause a potential accident. Damage like this is caused by riding over worn ramps or sharp metal protrusions.

Damaged Forklift Tires

  • Not every imperfection on a tire spells replacement. If you do not know whether your tires are still safe, give us a call and our experts can help answer your question.
An example of a damaged but useable tire. A small amount of rubber is missing and there are some cracks in the rubber, but nothing that damages the integrity of the tire.

Specialty Forklift Tires

  • You may have a type of tire other than the two common types above. Summit Industrial Tire Service carries many different specialty tires for various applications. Give us a call if you need a specialty tire and we can help you out.

Hopefully you now understand the importance of tires regarding the overall safety and lifespan of your forklifts, and how to tell when you need to replace them.

For forklift tire service in CT, New York or Western Massachusetts, call our service dispatch at 203-806-7805 or contact us online. Need an estimate? Please provide the information below and contact us.

You can find this information on your forklift data plate:

  • Forklift Model
  • Size of tire
  • Type of Tire
  • Compound (Call us and we can help you figure it out)

Our trained and certified tire press technicians can replace tires on-site for almost any brand or type of forklift. Tire replacement service includes removal and installation of new tires as well as disposal of old forklift tires.

Not sure if your tires need changing or have any additional questions? Give us a call or contact us and our forklift tire experts can help you out!