When forklift tires begin to wear down, they should be replaced as soon as possible to reduce the risk of accidents and increase forklift performance and efficiency.
But not all forklift tires are the same; different forklift applications will require different qualities in a tire. Before choosing a set of replacement tires for your forklift, ensure you're selecting the right ones for the job.
Pneumatic tires are common and found on many standard forklifts. They look very similar to normal car tires and are either solid rubber or filled with air. Operators like pneumatic tires for driving over uneven terrain because they hold up well in various environments and have good traction.
Solid forklift tires are best for job sites that have a high potential for tire damage. Areas that might have nails, sharp rocks or debris on the ground or floor often turn to solid pneumatic tires for their forklifts because they won't go flat.
Cushion tires are another popular option for forklift tires. Made of rubber and filled with air, cushion tires have a much greater potential for going flat in high-risk areas. As such, these are most commonly used for indoor purposes. They can be used for some outdoor work, but this is generally limited and restricted to asphalt surfaces.
Though pneumatic and cushion tires are two of the most common choices, they aren't interchangeable. Cushion tires typically won't fit on forklifts that were built for pneumatic tires, and vice versa. In some cases, forklifts can be adjusted slightly to transform the frame from one that's meant for cushions to one that can take pneumatics.
Some work environments have a lot of stored energy, which means their workers must minimize any additional sources of heat or electricity – even static electricity. Specially made tires can reduce or prevent static discharge and make for a safer work environment.
Polyurethane tires are resistant to many chemicals and very sturdy. As such, they're often used in workplaces where chemicals may spill or rinse onto the floor. They're also excellent for transporting heavy loads over short distances. Polyurethane holds its shape better than rubber, which means polyurethane tires can take more abuse without wearing out as quickly.
The average forklift tire can experience ice buildup in cold environments, especially if there's a lot of moisture in the area. This natural reaction can reduce traction and make it more difficult for drivers to control their vehicles. If you're working in cold storage, you'll need to have equipment that can stand up to the frigid temperatures without a problem. That's where cold-prepped tires come in; they have a special surface that reduces moisture and ice buildup, allowing the tires to retain traction in cool, possibly slippery environments.
Rubber doesn't perform at its best in the heat. So, for forklifts that operate in particularly hot environments, tires infused with fiberglass can last longer than those without. Fiberglass is naturally more heat-resistant and won't break down as quickly as all-rubber tires will.
NMS provides on-site technicians that can inspect forklift tires and determine the best types for your operations. Reach out to learn more about having a dedicated technician at your facility.