Call 1300 657 724

About Us

Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

Forklift Tyres Guide – Understanding Forklift Tyres & Maintenance

31 March, 2011

There are various types of forklift tyres but the most common are solid or pneumatic. Each tyre has a different tread, compound and ply rating which help to ensure the tyre used will best suit the application. By keeping your forklift tyres in good shape, you will reduce the stress and wear on the transmission as well as the forklift driver. Safety is also significantly improved, along with fuel efficiency.  

TYRE

Choosing the Right Tyre

There are typically two ways to fit forklift tyres: press on or standard. Press on tyres are reasonably straightforward to fit, however they are less durable when it comes to the more difficult terrain. Standard tyres fit on forklifts the same way as car tyres are fitted.

Tyre size should be decided after calculating the required load on each wheel. In general, it is advised that you pick the tyre that carries the load with the lowest inflation pressure.

Consider the conditions the forklift will be working in and how regularly it will be used. If the forklift is going to run over rough and damaging areas, get a thicker tyre (pneumatic tyre). Solid rubber tyres (or Puncture Proof as they are otherwise known) are now the most commonly used, and are predominately used on even surfaces and are good inside. Polyurethane tyres are used solely indoors.

The following tyres exist in the market today:

  • Cushion tyres - A press on tyre that is made with a metal band and a rubber attached to it. Used only on smooth pavements and warehouses with concrete flooring where space may be an issue as cushion tyres have a turning radius that is smaller than pneumatic tyres.
  • Solid tyres/Puncture Proof - Today the most common tyre. They are the same as pneumatic, however not filled with air therefore they don’t provide a cushioning effect. They do not puncture or go flat and are long lasting. Excellent for indoor use or light outdoor use, but not for rough outdoor or uneven surfaces.
  • Pneumatic tyres - Similar to truck tyres, filled with air, thick, deep tread, strong wear-resistant rubber. They extend the running life of a forklift by providing a cushion effect between the forklift and the ground. For use on uneven and rough surfaces.
  • Polyurethane wheels - Generally used for indoor forklifts. They are normally pressed onto the wheel (easiest way to put on a tyre). They have an adequate level of traction for indoors and possess a ‘small rolling resistance’ that extends their running life. This tyre is generally found on indoor forklifts such as reach trucks and walkie stackers.    
  • Non-marking tyres – Non-marking tyres are solids but specifically designed to prevent black marks on floors. Grocery and food processing factories are required to use them. The main drawbacks of non-marking tyres are that the carbon black is removed from them, which consequently shortens the life span of the tyre.
  • Foam Fill – These tyres are filled with a special resin that provides constant pressure in the tyre whilst preventing punctures. They are designed to be like air tyres in the sense of providing a cushioning effect to the forklift without the risk of getting punctures.

Load & Inflation Pressure

Ensure the air pressure of your tyres is at the correct level. They should be checked every month; taking into account that the heat buildup from use can increase the pressure by around 15 psi.

  • Never lower air pressure by bleeding, it can increase the heat build up
  • Cover all valves with caps to prevent dirt getting inside

Proper Driving

To get the greatest usage out of your tyres, good driving habits are essential. Refrain from quick spinning, sudden starting, or breaking movements. High speed cornering, locking one wheel for sharp turns also wears out the tyre quickly. By avoiding these bad driving habits, you will find your tyre life to be significantly improved.

Storing Tyres

Avoid storing tyres for longer than a few months. They should be stored in a dark, cool, dirt/oil free area and away from active electric engines.

A frequently asked question about tyres is: How long do solid tyres last compared to pneumatic tyres?

Answer: Depending on usage, a solid tyre will normally outlast a pneumatic tyre. Usually you would go through 2-3 sets of air tyres (pneumatic) to 1 set of solid tyres.

There is a large variety of forklift tyres on the market that will accommodate the needs of your forklift. Whether it is a pneumatic tyre for rough outdoor terrain, or a polyurethane tyre for smooth-surfaced concrete inside your warehouse, there are tyres out there to support you!

If you have any questions about tyres that you would like us or other readers to answer please post them below. Also if you have any interesting stories about your own forklift tyre experience or preference from one tyre to another we would love to hear them.

Did you find this blog post useful?

Why not subscribe to our Blog? We publish a new article each week! Don't forget to '+1', 'Like' or 'Tweet' this article too so others can find it! Thanks for reading.

Next entry: Forklift Daily Checklist; Pre-Operational And Operational Checklist

Previous entry: Choosing The Right Forklift Fuel Type Part 3: Gas

10

Comments

neil dumesny
February 08, 2013 - 8:28 am

Hi, Can you answer a question for me regards Solid over Pneumatics
? How does the fitting of Pneumatic tyres affect the load rating of a machine compared to solids,

Regards Neil    

AAL Admin
February 08, 2013 - 2:06 pm

Hi Neil,

Great question. Yes, the load rating of the machine will be affected depending on the type of tyres you have fitted. It may only be a small change, but it is still a difference. The actual difference will depend on the tyres and the type of equipment you are using.

Hope that helps.

neil dumesny
February 08, 2013 - 2:18 pm

Thanks for that and I know all things would need to be considered, But on average according to the link below it would be only 20 to 30 kgs around about???  “BUT” Again the load plates fitted don’t list a rating at full rear tilt??  Only vertical and Full forward tilt, “SO vertical rating would not change until the mast could not be kept vertical,  Would you agree? 

http://www.monash.edu.au/miri/research/reports/other/forklift_stability_report.pdf
  Regards neil    

AAL Admin
February 08, 2013 - 3:44 pm

Hi Neil,

Thanks for the link, nice article.

Yes it would only be a small amount as you have suggested, and the vertical load rating would still be affected based on the type of tyres (even if it was just a small amount). Obviously forward tilt even more so.

Justin
May 07, 2013 - 12:45 pm

Hello,
What are the rules/laws regarding tyres? We have solid rubber tyers and the service tech (same guy who sold us the fork) insists that the 3 out of four bald tyers are fine. I am not so convinced.

Thanks    

AAL Admin
May 07, 2013 - 5:50 pm

Hi Justin,

So you have solid, puncture proof tyres (no air inside)? Are you sure you don’t have cushion tyres?

Justin
May 08, 2013 - 8:04 am

I’m not an expert but it does day “solid” on the side wall. Can I post a pic?   

AAL Admin
May 09, 2013 - 9:56 am

Hi Justin,

Yes you can send a photo to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you like.

Here is a link to some presentations given at the AITA National Forklift Safety Week 2012:

http://www.aita.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/AITA-FLT-Safety-Week-2012-Presentations-Part-B.ppt

If you scroll down to slide 59, there is some information on tyre wear that may prove useful.

RUD
May 09, 2013 - 7:58 pm

   
    HI I A NEW PARTICULIER OWNER FROM A OLDER FORKLIFT I WIL REBUILD WITH PASION AND LUVE MY FORKLIFT BETTER THAN NEW,TODAY I BUY NEW AIR TYRES ,BUT I WONDERING I CANNOT FIND ANY ANSWER OR CHART ABOUT AIR PRESURES IN FORKLIFT TYRES MY BACK TYRES ARE 500/8 FRONT DRIVE AND LOAD TYRES ARE 650/10 ,FORKLIFT CAN CARRY ABOUT 1800KG MAX ,DOES ANYBODY KNOWS A PERFEKT PRESURE IN BAR,?? TANKS

BILL
January 16, 2014 - 4:05 am

Is there a recommended tire for driving in and out of a warehouse so that the tire does not collect a lot of dirt or debris?  We drive across from one warehouse to another on dirt collecting concrete into a warehouse that needs to be remain clean from debris because manufacturing of disposables for foodservice prdocuts done in same building.   

Leave a comment