Proactive forklift truck servicing and maintenance is critical if you want to keep your trucks moving and your business operating at full capacity with 100% efficiency. This also covers the maintenance of your forklift tyres, an area that can seem less important than the servicing of the engine or hydraulics systems.

If your forklifts have been left idle during the pandemic, then you first need to check the main wearing factors and this should start with inspecting your tyres. A simple visual inspection should be the starting point; what shape are they in, if they are worn, do they have impact damage or visible holes or material missing? If your tyre is damaged or worn, this can lead to even more downtime and serious risks.

Resilient (or pneumatic shaped) Tyres

Make sure your tyres are not worn beyond the top of the 60J line (or safety line). Some resilient tyres with a tread pattern do not need to be replaced because they have become smooth. Make sure to refer to the 60J line when unsure. If your application requires tread pattern, you can regroove smooth tyres up to the 60J line without affecting the performance.

Press-on (or cushion) Tyres

Press-on tyres are designed to carry loads until they are worn, so exceeding the wear limits of the tyre means that the tyre is operating at reduced capacity, which can lead to a sudden failure. The worn tyre also results in reduced ground clearance between your forklift and the work surface, which can cause damage to drive line components, risking either a potential impact, or excessive wear to the fork heel. Because the tyres are the only suspension a forklift has, low rubber height reduces the shock absorption properties of the tyre which causes machine shocks, which can wear bearings, steering linkage, and kingpins.

You will need to replace press-on tyres when the overall rubber height has reached 2/3 of its original height (1/3 of it has been worn). You can also look for a safety line if the tyre has one. You do not need to run traction tyres on steer axles; smooth tyres work perfectly well in this position on the lift truck as they do not need traction like the drive axles.

Industrial Pneumatics (bias and radial)

These are similar to car tyres so if the tread has gone, they will need replacing. You can use a simple tread depth gauge to see precisely what tread depth is left on your tyre and if it needs replacing. Whilst inspecting the tyre, look out for punctures or signs of impact; if cords or plies have been damaged, the performance and stability of the tyre is affected, and it should be replaced.

You also need to maintain your tyres’ correct air pressure. Incorrect air pressure can cause unusual wear patterns and reduce the life of the tyre. Other maintenance issues you should look for include damage caused by impacts, such as missing chunks of tyre, sidewall damage, or bulges which could lead to a blow-out of the tyre. These issues can all affect your lift trucks, creating issues with stability and driving performance and could cause safety hazards. Finally, uneven tyre wear can be a great early warning sign of other more serious problems with your forklift, possibly indicating some other maintenance issues with bearings, kingpins, or steering linkage.

Here at KS Lift Trucks, we can supply and fit a wide range of tyres for all types of materials handling equipment to suit various budgets. We offer service exchange rims and tyres and can re-cut tread in to worn tyres. Our team can offer advice on the most suitable tyre for your application. Our Service Exchange for rims and tyres allows you to exchange your old tyres and rims for a new or used replacement set to minimise downtime.

Call the KS Lift Trucks team today with your forklift truck tyre requirements. Telephone 01257 452296 and one of the sales team will be able to assist and make any necessary appointments.