Are your forklift tires going to cause an accident?

Jul 01 2022 | 3 Min. Read forklift safety tires

A forklift’s tires can either reduce the chance of accidents or cause them. Tires are truly THAT fundamental to a forklift’s operation, so we always recommend a daily tire check. It can make the difference between causing an accident and preventing one.

Why forklift tires are important

Suspension

Cars have a suspension system - springs, shock absorbers, and so on. Forklifts do not. Instead, the tires do it all, providing cushion and stability. Additionally, forklift tires carry all the weight of the forklift, plus the load and the operator.

Vibration

Worn tires cause vibration that’s passed through the seat to the operator leading to stress injuries, fatigue, and discomfort. A forklift that shakes and vibrates can cause back injuries that mean lost operator time and insurance claims.

Transmission

Uneven tire wear can cause a bent axle as well as general instability and excessively worn tires put extra strain on your forklift's transmission, which can cause a breakdown and/or shorten the life of the lift truck. Replacing a bent axle or transmission are expensive repairs—way more expensive than replacing your forklift tires.

Forklift tire inspections

Your forklift operators should understand that if they take care of their equipment’s tires, the tires will take care of them. Inspecting tires as part of the operator’s usual pre-operation inspection enhances forklift safety. Here are tire issues your operators should watch out for during an inspection:

Wear Line

This should be straight-forward since forklift tires include a wear line located above the tire size marking. If the top of a tire meets the line, it has worn down by 50%. It’s time for replacement.

Uneven wear

Wear patterns that are deeper on one side of a tire than the other certainly indicate a need for tire replacement. However, this also indicates an underlying issue, like carrying unbalanced loads. If the issue isn’t fixed, the new tires will soon show the same pattern of uneven wear.

Chunking

If pieces of the tires are breaking off from the body, it’s time to change to new tires. Chunked tires compromise stability and cause operator discomfort due to the rough ride.

Tearing

Tears in the surface of tires are a sign that it’s time to replace them. Tears are often caused by debris the forklift’s run over. That’s why keeping floors and paths clear of debris is important for tire maintenance.

Bond Failure

This is an issue with cushion tires since they’re made by bonding the tire material to a central metal band. If you can insert a knife between the tire and band, it’s time for replacement.

Radial Cracking

This can happen with both solid pneumatic and cushion tires. If a forklift is overloaded, radial cracks can appear on the tires due to heat build-up.

Flat Spots

Aggressive braking or braking at high speeds can cause flat spots on tires. Replace these tires, and train drivers about the importance of operating forklifts at reasonable speeds.

If you do find your trucks in need of wheel or tire maintenance, remember state and federal law requires you to be fully trained and qualified before performing maintenance. If you require service, contact Morrison Industrial Equipment to schedule a site visit and inspection. Our mobile industrial tire service is ready and available to assist you and your business.

Trust TrainMOR for forklift operator training

When it comes to training operators on forklift inspection, operation, and safety, you can rely on TrainMOR. Contact us for information on our Mobile, Memorable, and Measurable training courses—available online, in classroom and on-site.

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