Forklift Tire Replacement: Why/When

Alright, getting back to the “it’s round and black” statement referred to in an earlier post.

It’s a hard sell generally to get past the the reality that the tire is still “working”. It hasn’t failed, it still goes around and supports the unit and the load when asked to.

All the while worn tires result in more strain put on your lift truck’s components due to vibration and shock, fatigue in your drivers for the same reasons, and the myriad of safety concerns pointed out earlier this week. You’ll also see loss of fuel efficiency just to make matters worse.


You’ll see figures that state a tire is worn when thirty to forty percent of the rubber is gone. This may or may not have the tire worn to the lettering another commonly stated guide, so you cannot always use that rule of thumb.

To aid our technicians we have published a guide for cushion tires, it gives the tire dimensions and has our tech measure with a ruler the height of the tire to determine more accurately when to replace a tire. While we recognize a tire per the manufacturers is beyond is useful life at thirty percent, our recommend point is at thirty five percent [addressing the round and black problem] to allow our customers maximum tire utilization. Tire inspection is a part of every work order we perform because of the safety risks involved, additionally as part of our planned maintenance work, under safety we will “fail” tires if beyond our measurements.

With pneumatic tires our techs are looking at the tread wear. The outer part of the tire is a harder durometer than what lies below. When the tread is gone your quickly getting to the point where traction and stability are compromised, additionally your chances of punctures are increased and the trucks capacity is also reduced. Worn tires can also result in the inability to adjust your mast chains to where the forks don’t drag when the mast is fully lowered. We recommend to our customers replacement at this point. Solid or resilient tires are graded using the same standards. We need to be concerned about our involvement in relaying safety issues to our customers. Of course especially with resilient customers to often choose to wave safety and ride the tire down into the soft inner core.

If you have concerns over your tires, or the conditions they’re seeing you can certainly call on us for a tire inspection. Your areas customer service rep will meet with you, and together you’ll go over your fleets tire condition. There is no charge or commitment for this. If applicable we’ll also give you a copy of our tire wear guide.

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  1. Pingback: Technician Resources | Forklift Central

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