You might not think that forklift tyre maintenance is as important as maintaining and checking on your car tyres, but it’s actually equally as important to ensure the safety of your forklift operators and pedestrians as well as the integrity of your forklift trucks and to keep the tyres in top condition for as long as possible. In this article, we’ll take you through the different types of forklift tyres on the market, together with a short checklist of things you need to look at when it comes to forklift maintenance and inspection.
What are the different types of forklift tyres?
You might not be aware, but there are actually a wide range of different forklift tyres on the market. It can be difficult, and quite overwhelming, to choose the right forklift tyres for your vehicle, especially if you’re a newbie in the industry.
There are several things you need to consider when choosing the right tyres for your forklift, including the setting you’re planning on using the forklift in, the nature of the loads you’re carrying, the surfaces that need to be navigated over and the weight of the load that needs to be transported. With this in mind, here’s a run down of the different forklift tyres available, together with when they need to be used:
- Cushion tyres – have a small turning radius, making them perfect for carrying out operations in small areas and in warehouses with concrete and/or smooth flooring
- Pneumatic tyres – air-filled tyres with thick, deep treads and made from wear-resistant rubber, making them idea for use outdoors or for long periods of time
- Off-road & winter tyres – as the name would suggest, these are perfect for use on rough, loose or uneven terrain or in snowy, icey or frosty weather conditions
- Fibreglass tyres – these are heat-resistant, making them ideal for use in hot temperatures, typically lasting longer than standard forklift tyres
- Static-resistant tyres – designed to stop static discharge, meaning they’re used on forklifts where the materials that are being handled are combustible or explosive
- Polyurethane tyres – used for indoor forklifts, they have an adequate level of traction and last longer than cushion or pneumatic tyres
- Puncture-proof tyres – used for forklifts operating in construction, manufacturing and engineering, and in other settings where sharp objects and debris will be present
- Non-marking tyres – designed to prevent black marks on floors. They’re popular in food processing and catering industries, but they have a short lifespan
- Foam-filled tyres – filled with resin to provide constant pressure, which also prevents punctures
- Solid tyres – made from solid, durable rubber, they’re ideal for rough working condition, making them ideal for use outdoors
How to maintain forklift tyres
Maintaining your forklift tyres is much the same as looking after your car tyres. From checking the tread and general wear and tear, right through to storing spare tyres adequately and safely, here are a few things you can do to make sure your forklift tyres are being kept in great condition, which also ensures the safety of the operator and those in the vicinity.
Regularly check the tyre tread
Just as you would check the tread on your car tyres, you need to be looking at the tread on your forklift tyres, especially if it’s being operated outdoors or is used to navigate across loose, uneven or rough terrain. Tread is paramount for traction, helping to keep the forklift secure on the surface you’re using it on.
It prevents skidding and slipping whilst also mitigating the risk of the forklift tipping or toppling over. It’s also important for outdoor use, especially if it’s been snowing, is icey or frosty. Some of the signs of tread wear include: flat spots, balding tyres, areas that look thin, skid marks and cracks, no matter how small.
Check the tyre pressure at the start & end of each shift
You must ensure that the forklift tyre pressure is adequate. You’ll be able to find the correct level in the manufacturers’ manual or it can also be found online. It’s paramount that you inflate the tyres no more than is recommended to prevent blowouts. Where you might think that tyre pressure won’t change, it’s actually something that never remains consistent.
Many factors are involved when it comes to the increase or decrease in tyre pressure, including: warm weather, extended use and cold weather, to name a few. All caps also need to be secured back on, tightly, and that tyre valves are correctly covered so that bleeding doesn’t occur.
Ensure they’re fitted by a competent professional
When the time comes to replace your forklift tyres, maybe because the tread is too low or it has become damaged during operation, you need to make sure that it’s done by a competent professional so as to ensure your tyres are fitted securely and safely. If you’d rather change the tyres yourself, then follow the instructions directly and do so at your own risk. It’s always recommended that you ask a professional to do it on your behalf to ensure the safety of your warehouse workers, whether they’re operating the forklift or are performing tasks on the ground.
Inspect them on a regular basis
You need to make sure that you’re regularly looking at forklift tyres, checking them for signs of wear and tear, including cuts, bulges, balding, rippling, shredding and more. If something doesn’t look right, then take the necessary measures needed to prevent employees from using the forklift and have the tyre replaced for a brand new one. As soon as the damaged tyre has been replaced, the forklift will be safe for use yet again.
Store your forklift tyres properly
It’s not uncommon for warehouses to store spare forklift tyres in their premises. It helps to save time and money in the long run as they’re often purchased in bulk numbers. If you’re storing spare tyres for your forklifts, then make sure the area is cool and dark so as to prevent decay and premature wear as a result of being exposed to extreme temperatures and direct sunlight, which can weaken the tyre, no matter what it’s made from.
Multy Lift is able to provide customers throughout the UK with high-quality warehouse equipment, including new and used forklifts. No matter your requirements or the budget you have, we’ll have a material handling solution that will effortlessly meet your needs. We also have forklift hire services available, offering both long-term and short-term contracts, so you can acquire the equipment you need for as long as required. For more information about our many pieces of new and used warehouse equipment, including forklifts, reach trucks, order pickers and more, get in touch with a member of our expert team today – we have over three decades of experience in the industry, so you’ll always be able to count on us to help.