Forklift Tire Maintenance

A program of forklift maintenance has to include the tires. Of course, it is essential for a forklift operator to regularly check the condition of the tires before or after a shift. Keeping up with the condition of the lift’s tires will alert you to the need for replacement.

Rubber forklift tires. (Courtesy:

Rubber forklift tires.

Keep in mind that a forklift does not have a suspension system. As a result, the tires will experience stress and take on the weight of a load. So it is imperative that they are in good condition.

There are different types of forklift tires including solid rubber, pneumatic and polyurethane. However, they all follow the same rule for replacement. Exchange tires when there is 2-inches of wear from the original diameter or extensive wear of the tread.

Things that contribute to a tire’s wear include over and under inflation and misalignment. In addition, cracks, cuts, imbedded debris also contribute to tire wear and should be considered when deciding to replace one or more tires on the lift.

It is therefore important to check the tire for debris, tears, flat spots as well as any other wear that can lead to a blown tire.

Changing a Tire

Once you discover that one tire or more needs to be replaced, follow these precautions to assure that the job is done safely and properly.

Stellana's Smoothy®90 polyurethane tire. (Courtesy: Stellana)

Stellana’s Smoothy®90 polyurethane tire.
(Courtesy: Stellana)

· Use a forklift jack to lift the side of the forklift that hosts the tire to be replaced.
· If the tire to be replaced is a cushioned style, just pull it off and replace it with a new one.
· If the tire to be replaced is a pneumatic type, remove the entire wheel using an impact wrench.
· Replace with a wheel that holds another pneumatic tire and put the nuts that were taken off the wheel of the worn tire on the wheel of the new tire to assure proper alignment of the wheel to the forklift and don’t over or under tighten the nuts.
· Clear the area of any debris that can rupture or cause wear on the new tire.

Winter Tire Maintenance

If your forklift is used outside, then winter weather will affect the condition of the tires. So take extra precaution to:

· Check the tire air pressure regularly. Keep in mind that air pressure changes with temperature. In warmer months air weights less and rises resulting in an increase of the tire pressure. In the colder months, the air weights more, which lowers the pressure in the tire.
· Use necessary accessories on the tires when appropriate. For example, place chains on the tires so that the lift has traction when operating in slush, sleet, or ice.

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