When to Replace Forklift Tires

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“When should I replace my forklift tires?”  That’s a question we hear all the time in the forklift business.  The answer isn’t always super easy to explain but sometimes it’s obvious when you need new forklift tires.

Forklift tires wear out quickly with regular use, but there isn’t a standard amount of time for when a forklift tire should be replaced.   Driving surfaces, driving style, and the amount of turning a forklift does will change how a forklift tire is worn.

It’s obvious when a forklift tire should be changed when there is less than one inch of rubber left.  But this is typically way too late and the tire should have been changed already.  Wearing the tire down to the wheel can lead to damage and a dangerous operating situation.  For instance in the picture below you can see that the steering tie rod is bent and has broken off of the wheel.  This was caused by the tire being worn too far, causing excessive shock and bending to the tie rod.


This is an extreme case but we see tires worn like this all the time.  Forklift tires should definitely be replaced before they are worn this far.  Many tires are made with a wear line that is visible on the side wall of the tire.  When the tire is worn to or past the wear line, that’s when a forklift tire should be replaced.  This picture shows a the wear line on a typical solid rubber tire.

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Another rule of thumb to follow is that if a forklift tire had tread when it was new, but all of the tread has been worn off, then the tires should be replaced.

You might run into a situation where the tire isn’t worn very far but the tire has been cut and “chunked.”  This can happen on rougher driving surfaces or where debris is commonly on the ground.  If the chunking or cuts causes the tire to become unstable and it makes the forklift bounce at is drives along, then that tire should be replaced. This picture shows an example of a forklift tire that is worn and chunked.

20348_steerForklift tire wear is a critical component of forklift safety and maintenance.  Knowing when a forklift tire is too worn to keep using will help save money on repair costs and will keep operators and the other people working around forklifts safe.  If you ever have doubts about the wear on your forklifts’ tires, you can call us and we’ll be happy to help you decide if it’s time for new tires.


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