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Is It Time to Replace Your Forklift's Tires?

Pneumatic forklift tire
(Courtesy: Maxim Tires at flickr.com)

Forklift tire manufacturers provide buyers with a life expectancy for their tires. Depending on the type of tire and how it is used, this can be anywhere from a few thousand miles to a few years of continued use.

But there are unexpected occurrences that can cause forklift tires to wear more quickly, such as overuse, overheating, or using them on terrain they weren't meant to drive on. Plus, things like accidents and damage from running over sharp or jagged objects in the roadway also can cause tires to fail before their time.

When forklift tires are worn or damaged, it can affect things like fuel consumption, driver safety, and damage to the other parts of the vehicle. So it's important to include tire checks as part of both routine maintenance and daily or per shift inspections of the vehicle.

What to Look For During Tire Checks

Generally, forklift tires are very durable, more durable than automobile or truck tires. But they aren't indestructible.

Some forklift tires will actually tell you when they need to be replaced because they feature a wear line that lies about two-thirds of the way down the tire's original rubber height. Or there may be a wear indicator stamped into the side of the tire that measures how far of the tire's original surface has been worn down and how much is left before the tire needs to be replaced.

Check the tire manufacturer's owner's manual or website to determine if the forklift tires you use has this built-in measurement tool.

Other Measurements

On pneumatic tires, look for signs that the tread layer has been worn down to the belts underneath. Like car and truck tires, when forklift tires are bald or worn down to the treads, they can be dangerous to drive on.

When a forklift tire is worn down to the treads, it's important to replace it right away. Continuing to drive on worn or damaged tires is not only dangerous but also can put other parts of the vehicle at risk of damage.

New tires can sometimes take time to be delivered. So to reduce downtime, it's a good idea to keep spare tires on hand so that the vehicle is not locked out of service until replacement tires can arrive. The larger your forklift fleet, the more spare tires you should keep in reserve.

Tires are literally where the rubber meets the road. So replacing your forklift tires when needed is just good business.