Forklift Tire Damage

forklift tire damage

To date, no exact science or formula exists for determining how long a set of forklift tires will last. Rather, maintenance staff, mechanics and technicians must examine a number of factors to determine when it’s time to change your lift truck tires. Several factors must be taken into consideration here, including the total number of operating hours and intensity of use, driving habits or operator style, application type (i.e., long runs without a load, excessive speed or rotation with a load), operating conditions, the tire type and compound, as well as the vehicle’s average load weight.

Note: these figures should only be used as estimations only. Determining the exact amount of acceptable wear for a given tire depends upon the size of the tires and the conditions in which it is operated. To avoid accidents, injury or damage, regular tire inspections should be included in each vehicle's monthly maintenance schedule.

With pneumatic forklift tires, a tire needs to be replaced after the outside diameter has worn approximately 2” to 3". Conversely, press on cushion tires need to be replaced after the outside diameter is worn by 1 1/2" or when 30-40% of the tire’s rubber is gone. Beyond tread wear, other signs that indicate a tire should be replaced include: undercutting, chunking and chipping.

  • Undercutting occurs as a result of overloading and sharp or aggressive steering. This causes the rubber to begin receding from the metal band at the center of the tire.
  • Chunking as the name suggests, is when large pieces or chunks of rubber detach from the surface of the tire. Common causes include collisions with objects, repetitive contact with debris or refuse, and driving over coarse/jagged terrain.
  • Chippingrefers to damage to the surface of the tire such as incisions, slashes, nicks, punctures, and divots. Like chunking, this is often caused when cushion tires are regularly operated on coarse or irregular surfaces.

While your forklift tires can still be “operational” with significant wear, there are a number of benefits to be gained by replacing worn out or deteriorating forklift or lift truck tires. Beyond the immediate safety concerns, there are also financial, operational and productivity risks to take into consideration. By avoiding the costs associated with replacing worn out forklift tires, owners can incur far greater maintenance fees down the road as the additional vibration, strain and shock placed upon forklift components can result in equipment failures, downtime and have to prematurely replace essential parts and components.

Worn tires can also have an impact on your operation’s productivity and efficiency as the increased vibration, instability and stress can result in above average operator strain, thereby reducing the operator’s ability to control the vehicle. This, in turn, limits the vehicle’s fuel efficiency, speed, turning capacity, and stopping power. To avoid safety issues or equipment damage, contact Lucas Liftruck today! We'll conduct a thorough tire inspection and replace tires if and when necessary. We even have a mobile tire press - elminating the need to bring your tires or forklift in-shop for replacements!

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