Forklift tires are a vital part of a forklift. It works differently than how an automobile will usually function. An automobile often has suspensions that come with it. However, a forklift does not have an in-built suspension. To put it in simpler words: whatever load that gets on the forklift will put an immense amount on its tires.
Due to the fact that the load gets placed on the forklift tires, it is only natural that it will see a substantial amount of wear and tear. As the tires are an important component, we have put together a short list of signs for you to find new replacements.
Signs Your Forklift Tires Need a Change
1. Wear lines
Forklift tires, like a lot of industrial tires, have a wear line that is located above the tire size. If the top of the tire meets the line, then you’ve worn your tire by 50%. It means it is time for you to replace it.
We all know what worn-out tires can do to any vehicle, even forklifts. It can skid and it makes your forklift more prone to accidents. So yes, check for wear lines and have it switched out as soon as possible.
Chunking is where bits and pieces of the tires start of fall off. This can be a problem because when pieces start to fall away, it can be due to extreme heat exposure. Sometimes it can mean that it’s been used on uneven and rough grounds for too long. Either way, it wears down your forklift tires and it’s a good sign you should replace them already.
Tearing is when your forklift has been run over uneven ground too much or for too long. Or you may have been driving it over debris and other sharp objects. That’s why it tears the tires. Again, replace it when you see signs of tearing in the forklift tires. It can be beneficial in the long run.
4. Bond failure
Cushion tires are made by bonding the rubber of the tire to the central metal band. Sometimes you may see wearing and tearing near the band. It is generally bad enough that you are able to fit a screwdriver head or knife between the tire and band. Then that is when you definitely know it’s time for a replacement. You wouldn’t want a lose tire, would you?
5. Radial cracking
This kind of damage can be found in both solid pneumatic and cushion tires. Usually, overloaded forklifts can get radial cracks in their tires. It is usually from the heat building up from the heavy loads. Also, not only is it a sign for tire replacement. It is also quite likely time for you to retrain your forklift operators on reading a data plate.
6. Flat spots
Flat spots on your round forklift can happen due to aggressive braking. It can also happen when you brake at high speeds. You should not just replace these tires but you should also train your forklift operators on safe operation at reasonable speeds. That way it will lessen the chance of your forklift tires getting flat spots in the long term.
How Many Forklift Tires Should You Replace?
When replacing forklift tires, it’s not safe to replace just one. Having tires of varying ages can contribute to stability problems, skidding, and tip overs. All because changing just 1 tire can contribute to an imbalance between different tire heights. Mismatched tires are an unneeded risk that can cause a lot of significant injuries and damage to equipment.
Like your personal cars, you should replace both tires on one wheel axle at the very least. It’s to maximize stability. However, for some equipment formations, keeping all 4 tires the same age may be needed. Other specialist equipment like 3-wheeled forklifts may have their own unique requirements to keep operation smooth.
In some countries, they may have federal laws that need you to be fully trained and qualified before performing maintenance on wheels and tires. Make sure that you consult a specialist before making a final decision.
Other Forklift Parts That May Get Inspected
On top of tire inspections, there are other areas that forklifts get checked either at repair shops or back in your own workshop. Some of the more common areas that gets checked beside the tires:
- Brakes: People usually check the foot brakes, parking brakes, and deadman seat brakes. They will see if the brake pedal holds until the unit stops smoothly. At the same time, they will check if the brake can hold against slight acceleration and if it can hold when the operator rises from the seat.
- Clutch and gearshift: People usually check for smooth shifting with not jumping and jerking in this area.
- Reverse alarm (and other warning devices): See if these devices are operational and run smoothly.
- Lights: headlights and warning lights that are operational
- Steering wheel: ensuring that it moves smoothly
- Lift and tilt mechanisms: Ensuring that it operates and moves smoothly. Check and see if it holds the load properly.
- Any unusual noises and sounds coming from the forklift.
Although tires may be your main concern for getting your forklift repaired, there are areas that the forklift repairer will help you check. Sometimes there are other contributing factors that lead to your tires wearing out that’s not from its surrounding. The above mini list is some of the other areas that the repairer may check during your tire changes. The list may be more and not be exhaustive so to speak.
In conclusion, as soon as you see that your forklift tires don’t look like a normal, regular tire, be sure to have it changed out for better ones. Old and worn-out tires can cause unnecessary accidents at the workplace you do not want. Having said that, there are also other areas and aspects of the forklift that repairers may or may not check while they are changing out the tires. As long as your forklift is in proper working conditions, you’re good.