16 Rules for Longer Forklift Tire Life


Helpful tips to get the most return on your forklift tire investment.

Source:  Trelleborg Wheel Systems

1. Select the Right Tire for the Job

Proper tire selection is the first step to obtain maximum performance from solid industrial tires. Service application should determine the types of equipment and tires to be used. You can expect maximum industrial tire life only if you place the right tires on the right forklifts in the type of service for which both were designed.

2. Inspect Tires Regularly

Tires should be checked at least once a week - once a day if possible. Look for and remove broken glass, nails, embedded metal chips, etc. Inspect for uneven or rapid tread wear, usually caused by mechanical irregularities such as brakes out of adjustment or poor alignment. If discovered, correct the irregularities immediately.

3. Lubricate Forklift Regularly

Proper lubrication, particularly of the power and braking systems, will assure free rolling operation and reduce tire drag and skidding stops. Avoid over lubrication, as overflow of grease and oil is harmful to most rubber compounds.

4. Keep Brakes in Adjustment

On many vehicles, the wheel is a part of the braking system. An improper adjustment of the brakes can permit the shoes to drag and will build up heat under the base band. This can produce problems such as base band separation or tire blow out.

5. Check Axle Alignment and Steering

Regular checks of steering apparatus and axle alignment for mechanical irregularities will protect tires against fast or irregular tread wear and base separation.

6. Allow Sufficient Tire Clearance

Sufficient clearance between the tire and forklift helps prevent tire damage from wedging of loose material.

7. Center Tires on Wheels

If the tires are incorrectly mounting on the wheels this can result in splitting of the steel base and separation of rubber treads from the wheels. Avoid overhang of more than 1/4” in outside position. If the wheel is not wide enough to support the steel base of the tire properly, a steel support ring should be used.

8. Use Proper Equipment

Do not try to “pinch hit” by using a vehicle which may be too small for the job. An overloaded vehicle can be unsafe and cause tire damage.

9. Train Your Operators

Proper driving saves tires. Instruct operators in proper care and operation of equipment. Check for flat spots on tires and any mechanical irregularities on the forklift.

10. Keep Aisles Clean

Cluttered aisles, runways, and other traveled surfaces increase tire damage. Maintain floors in good repair, free from breaks, ruts, cracks, and depressions. Nails, cinders, and other sharp objects in aisles result in tread cutting and damage to tires.

11. Line Travel Routes

Marked routes serve as guides in steering vehicles, and can serve as a warning where walls, curbs, stanchions, or equipment are dangerously close to a route. Lines remind the operator that tires should not bump, scrape, or collide with obstacles.

12. Avoid Excessive Heat

Eliminate, wherever possible, contact with hot metal or operation for long periods in hot oven rooms. Excessive heating in such conditions will break down tire structure. Shields that prevent heat from striking tires directly will often prolong tire life.

13.  Avoid Overloading

Overloading can cause tire failure; resulting in base separation, cutting and chipping and tire blow out. Always center the load on the forklift to equalize the load on all tires. Do not dangle load on the ends of the forks. Fast cornering can cause overloading.

14. Avoid Sharp Turns, Quick Stops

Sharp turns, quick starts and stops will wear tread rapidly, grind in harmful objects, and cause strains which may result in tire failure.

15. Avoid Oil, Grease, Or Gasoline

Avoid running tires over these materials; which are detrimental to rubber; wipe off immediately if tire comes in contact with any of these materials. Do not permit hydraulic fluid to drip on tires from power steering or lift hose couplings. Oil resistant compounds should be used whenever constant contact is unavoidable.

16. Avoid Standing Loads

Solid tires can form “flat spots” when loads are left standing on forklifts overnight or longer. In extreme cases, a flat spot develops and the tire will bump with every revolution.
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