Common Forklift Tires - Ace Equipment

Common Forklift Tires

There are Different Tires for Different Purposes

Within your warehouse or workspace, your equipment is just as important as your workers. After all, without your equipment, your level of production would greatly diminish, putting you behind and hurting your overall revenue. One such piece of equipment that many warehouses utilize is forklifts. Forklifts help you carry large loads efficiently while keeping your workers safe. Just like your forklifts are an important part of your operations, these pieces of heavy machinery also have important parts that all owners must keep an eye on, ensuring they are operating at peak performance.

Arguably one of the most important parts to any forklift is its tires. Many people may see forklift tires as a simple part of any machine. While they are not inherently wrong, that does not mean that tires aren’t important. After all, without tires, forklifts wouldn’t be able to get around, nor would they be able to carry their loads.

The average forklift weighs somewhere around 5,000 lbs. It’s best to think of forklift tires as the base. The weight of the forklift and the weight of its load is carried by the forklift tires. However, different jobs require different tires.

Ace Equipment understands the importance of forklift tires. We know that each industry asks different things of their equipment, which leads to the need for different tires. Today, we are going to be focusing on the different forklift tires and their uses.

Cushion Tires

Cushion tires are also known as press-on tires. They are composed of solid rubber, which is then pressed right onto a metal wheel. Cushion tires are very cheap to manufacture and purchase, as opposed to other options.

These tires are often much lower to the ground, which provides your forklift with a much smaller turning radius. This small turning radius allows you to maneuver much easier than you would when using another tire option. This also means these tires are perfect for small workspaces.

While cushion tires are cheap and very durable, they do not provide you with near as much traction as other tires. This can be an issue if most of your work is done outdoors. They can’t properly maneuver on rough terrains like dirt and gravel. Typically, cushion tires are best used on smooth surfaces, particularly those found indoors, including warehouses and loading docks. If your work is outside or on uneven surfaces, you may want to avoid cushion tires.

Pneumatic Tires

Pneumatic tires are typically the most popular tire choice for many forklift owners. Like the cushion tire, pneumatic tires are created out of solid rubber. These forklift tires are very similar to the ones you will find on most cars. However, you need to know that there are two types of pneumatic tires: solid and air-filled.

  • Solid Pneumatic: Like cushion tires, solid pneumatic tires are made out of solid rubber. Because these are made entirely of rubber and require no air, they are virtually indestructible. They cannot be punctured or deflated, which makes them perfect for industries that have sharp debris. Solid pneumatic tires are commonly used for both outdoor and indoor work. They provide much more traction than cushion tires but don’t provide the smooth ride on paved surfaces that cushion tires do. While initially more expensive, they last much longer than others.
  • Air-Filled Pneumatic: Like their counterpart, air-filled pneumatic tires are made of solid rubber. However, unlike solid tires, they are filled with air like a car tire would be. Their tread is much deeper than solid pneumatic tires. While these tires can be punctured and deflate, their tough, long-lasting rubber materials and deep treads provide protection. Air-filled pneumatic tires work best in rough terrain, typically found outdoors.

Polyurethane Tires

Polyurethane tires are not near as common as other tires, but that doesn’t mean they do not have a purpose. Similar to cushion tires, polyurethane tires are pressed on to a metal wheel. They are composed of lightweight material. They are less likely to split, tear, or chunk as opposed to rubber tires.

These forklift tires provide you with good traction and low-rolling resistance. Polyurethane tires should be used indoors in warehouses, carrying light loads. Thanks to this, their lifespan is almost double that of normal rubber tires. If your usage indoors is heavy, consider replacing them with cushion tires instead.

Knowing When to Replace Your Forklift Tires 

While each forklift tire is different, they are all susceptible to wear and tear. Depending on the environment you work in, debris and other things can also cause damage to your tires. It’s important to keep an eye on your tires to ensure you replace them at the right time.

Here are some signs to watch out for on your tires:

  • Chunking: Occurs when chunks of tires start breaking off
  • Tearing/Cracking: Similar to chunking, spots on tires start to tear away, or there are noticeable and deep cracks along the rubber
  • Flat Spots: Tires are meant to be round. Flat spots often occur when forklifts have remained stationary for too long
  • Wear Line: Many forklift tires have a wear line that indicates how much longer a tire may have. The material of the tire wears down until it reaches the line. If the line gets close, it’s time to replace it

When driving your forklifts, you need to err with extreme caution not only to ensure you are safely operating it but also to ensure your tires are not damaged or ruined. When your tires are damaged, you put yourself and the rest of your workspace in danger. You must always stay aware of the state of your tires, no matter the type of work you do.

There are different forklifts for different jobs. Each job may also require a different type of forklift tire, as well. Not all tires can safely and efficiently operate in rough, outdoor terrain, while not all can function well on smooth, indoor surfaces. Contact Ace Equipment to learn more about the different kinds of tires and which would work best for you.