Forklift tyres come in many shapes and sizes. So, it can be confusing to figure out which type of forklift tyre is best for you.
There are countless types and brands of forklift tyres available on the market. Each type of tyre is made for a different type of forklift or sometimes a different kind of application. Your choice of tyre will affect the kind of application you use it for, therefore it’s very important to choose the correct tyre for the job. Looking after and taking care of your forklift tyres is also crucial to ensure you get the maximum value out of them and to ensure maximum fuel efficiency, something all companies strive to achieve.
The Different Kinds of Forklift Tyres:
Let’s first take a look at the different types of forklift tyres available on the market. Although most of these types of forklift tyres aren’t very popular in South Africa, you will still get good insight into what people all over the world use for their forklift trucks.
Solid Rubber Tyres (Most Popular Forklift Tyre in South Africa)
Solid rubber tyres are by far the most popular forklift tyres in the world and specifically in South Africa. They are similar to pneumatic tyres, but instead of being filled with air they are solid. These tyres have the ability to last very long due to the fact that they are solid, therefore they can’t go flat or get punctured. Their application is best suited to indoor use, but you can use them for very light outdoor use. Due to their solid construction they don’t do well on rough or uneven terrain.
Pneumatic tyres are much like tyres used in the trucking industry. These are heavy-duty, air-filled, thick-thread tyres made from solid rubber. Pneumatic tyres usually last very long and are suited to applications where the forklift will face uneven or rough terrain. If your forklift needs to go from smooth warehouse floor to gravel to tar and back to smooth warehouse floor, then you will most likely need pneumatic tyres. Due to them being filled with air like truck tyres, they are prone to punctures.
These tyres are made of smooth solid rubber which is fitted around a metal band. This type of forklift tyre is best suited to smooth concrete warehouse flooring and generally has a good turning circle. They are also relatively cheap to manufacture compared to pneumatic tyres. Mainly used in the USA and not really applicable for SA market.
These tyres are pressed onto the forklift wheel and are considered to be very similar to skateboard wheels. Polyurethane tyres are suited to indoor applications with extremely even surfaces, as even small crack in the floor can cause damage to these wheels. You will most likely find them on warehousing equipment such as power pallet trucks, reach trucks or order pickers. Polyurethane tyres have a minimal rolling resistance which extends the lifespan of the tyre.
Non-marking tyres are made to eliminate black marks across the floor. You will find these types of forklifts in areas where food is being handled for hygiene reasons. They come in solid, pneumatic or cushion form and are most commonly white in colour.
How to Take Care of Your Forklift Tyres
Just as with any other component in a forklift, you can increase its lifespan and the value you get out of it by taking proper care of it. Below are some of the more common tips for taking care of your forklift tyre.
Practice Proper Driving Techniques
This goes without saying, but proper driving is the best and easiest way to look after your forklift tyres.
Avoid wheel spins by increasing speed gradually. Also try to stop gradually by avoiding harsh braking. When taking corners, do so at a steady pace.
Load Pressure / Tyre Pressure and Tyre Condition
You should check your tyre pressure and/or condition on a daily basis to ensure you never take on a job with tyres that are in poor condition. This is the easiest way to cause accidents. Make sure that you don’t have any cracks or chunks missing from the tyre and ensure that the tyre has not worn passed the treadline, as these factors are a health and safety risk and may cause the forklift to fail a load test
Don’t always buy the cheapest tyre, buy a decent brand and rather measure rubber per hour. Understand that rear tyres will need to be replaced more often than your front tyres. Rear tyres are slightly cheaper as they are smaller.