The tires of your forklift have a difficult life. They are required to traverse some rough terrain on your worksite or within your factory, and on average, they will need to carry over 9,600 pounds at a time. In addition to these heavy loads, forklift tires are pushed to maximum capacity with frequent stops, turns, acceleration, and reversals, all of which can take a toll on their longevity. With all of the punishment that your forklift tires are required to endure, it is easy to see why timely replacement of worn out tires is so important.
Understanding Forklift Tires
A forklift doesn’t have a traditional suspension system like other vehicles. The entire weight of the forklift will rest on the tires, so they are designed to support close to 10,000 lbs. When your forklift is in need of new tires it will become unstable, so attempting to use the machine can lead to a dangerous environment for the operator as well as people on the ground. Additionally, 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.
Signs that Your Forklift Tires Need to Be Replaced
Failure to replace your forklift tires in a timely manner can be hazardous, so it is important that you know the signs that can indicate when it is time to change them. Here are some of the most common indicators that it may be time for a forklift tire replacement:
- Balding treads. In the same way that you would monitor the tires on your car, you should also pay close attention to the tread on your forklift tires. If your tires start to appear bald, this can be a good indication that it is time for a replacement.
- Chunking. If chunks or large pieces of your forklift tires begin to fall off, you’ll want to consider an immediate replacement. Large chunks of rubber can begin to fall off as a result of driving over rough surfaces or due to litter and debris on the floor. Failure to replace your tires after chunking begins can cause the forklift to become unstable and rattle if you continue to drive it.
- Cuts. If you notice any visible cords or frayed cords in your tires, it is important to replace them. Cuts can lead to sudden air loss and improper forklift balance.
- Flat spots. A forklift tire that is in good shape should be round and uniform. However, when a forklift is required to perform sharp turns frequently – especially when under a heavy load – flat spots can result. Flattening of your forklift tires can also result from spinning during acceleration, and the result will be an unstable lift that shakes when it moves. If you notice that your tires are looking flat, they likely need to be replaced.
- Overinflated or underinflated tires. Be on the lookout for forklift tires that don’t appear to be properly inflated. Whether your tires have too much or too little air, the stability of your forklift could be compromised. Improper inflation can also accelerate the wear of your tires, and while underinflated tires may make it difficult for you to properly turn your vehicle, overinflated can make it extremely difficult to stop the lift when driving.
- Signs of damage over the wear line. Forklift tires come with a wear line in order to help you to more easily determine when to change them. Sometimes called the 50% wear line, once your tires reach this point, you’ll know that it is time for a replacement.
- Tearing on your tires. When debris is left on the floor of your workspace floor – or if you run a forklift over a piece of machinery with a sharp edge – your tires can suffer a tear. If your forklift tires experience a tear, you should take this as a sign that replacement is in your future.
Damaged forklift tires are a major liability for your business. When forklift tires aren’t in optimal condition, increased vibration can make it difficult to navigate the vehicle, leaving to driver fatigue, the potential for accidents, and faster wear on the machinery. If you want to keep your forklift operators and other employees safe, it is crucial that you replace your forklift tires at the first sign of a problem, and a consultation with a forklift specialist might be a wise investment. A professional consultation can recommend tire replacement to help your vehicle function safely and efficiently.