Proper forklift maintenance is essential for keeping your company productive and profitable. While oil levels, filters, fluids, chains, brakes, and other key components are essential, one part of your forklift may be overlooked: its tires.
Forklift tires take a beating in both indoor and outdoor applications. If your operators and maintenance personnel aren’t keeping tabs on their condition, you could see increased repair costs and decreased forklift performance. In fact, tires that wear out very quickly can be a sign of many different issues with your equipment, maintenance, and personnel performance. Knowing what to look for is the first step in determining why your tires are wearing out so quickly.
Signs of Forklift Tire Damage
Because forklifts lack a viable suspension system, their tires bear the brunt of the forklift’s weight, as well as any loads being carried. When a 6,000 lb. capacity forklift is actually applying more than 10,000 lbs of pressure to the tires, things are bound to get worn out. Watch out for these common signs of forklift tire damage:
- Chunking - Pieces or chunks of the tires may fall off if they are past due for replacement.
- Tearing - Similar to chunking, but with longer tears of the material. This can be a sign of damage from your warehouse or operating floors.
- Flat spots - If your forklift tires are not round, they’ve been damaged and need to be replaced to preserve performance and operator safety and comfort.
- Wear line progress - Many forklift tires have a 50% wear line to indicate when tires need to be replaced. If your tires are past that point, they need to be replaced ASAP.
After you identify the type of damage, then, you can start to figure out why your forklift tires wear down so quickly.
Causes of Excessive Forklift Tire Wear
While some wear and tear is to be expected, your operation likely faces larger problems if forklift tires are wearing out too quickly. If your maintenance team is dealing with frequent forklift tire issues, pay attention to your operation for any of these possible causes:
While it may be tempting to push your equipment beyond its rated limits, your operators absolutely should not! Beyond possible damage to your tires, lifting loads beyond a forklift’s rated capacity can present real danger to your operators and equipment. Heavier loads should be either reloaded on separate pallets or handled by larger forklifts.
Forklift operators can damage your tires due to aggressive acceleration, quick stops, and sharp turns. These maneuvers may feel decisive and efficient to seasoned operators, but they can quickly wear down treads and cause other structural damage to cushion and pneumatic tires. Regular training and certification can help prevent these behaviors from becoming an issue.
Warehouse floors and aisles cluttered with pallets and debris present potential harm to your forklift tires. Nails, broken pallets, dust, and other clutter can be ground into the tires and cause structural damage to tires. Damage to your floors such as breaks, crack, ruts, and uneven grades, can similarly damage tires. Implementing floor cleaning and facilities maintenance can help correct these issues.
Tire damage can be due to poorly maintained forklift components as well. Improper brake adjustment, poor lubrication, and inefficient tire installation can all contribute to further issues. Instituting regular preventative maintenance and a robust daily walk-around inspection program can help to avoid tire damage due to poor maintenance.
If your forklifts are wearing out too quickly, it’s likely a sign of deeper issues. By paying close attention to your operation, you can identify areas of your business that can be optimized and improved. A robust preventative maintenance plan can be key for detecting warning signs before they become issues.
Want to discuss your forklift tire issues with an expert? Our team of trained professionals is here to help. Contact us online or by phone at 800-238-3006 with any questions you have about forklift tires and other maintenance issues. We are also available at one of our 13 locations:
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