Did you know the most dangerous part of your forklift could be the tires? Over-worn tires are a major safety hazard that can cause serious malfunctions of your forklift and could cause serious injury or death. Worn tires can also put more strain on the rest of your truck’s parts, and worsen fuel efficiency. Because of these very real safety concerns, it’s important to check for tread wear and other evidence that a tire needs to be replaced. You do not want to wait until an accident occurs to realize that your tires need replacement. Here are some are some methods of determining when it’s time.

When Does A Forklift Tire Need To Be Replaced?

It is a crucial safety procedure to consistently monitor the wear on your forklift tires. Operators should regularly inspect tires for loss of tread and other obvious damage. Major signs that a cushion or pneumatic tire forklift needs tire replacement include:

  • Noticeable chunks missing from the tire’s surface. This will cause the forklift to feel uncomfortable to the driver as well as pose a tipping hazard. This occurs most often when the forklift is used outside or on rough terrain, or when running over obstacles.
  • Solid rubber tires have a band that becomes exposed when the tire needs to be replaced.
  • If a tire is flat in any spot, it’s time to replace them.

Check out this great tutorial by one of our partners, Morrison Industrial Equipment Company.

When any of these problems can be identified, it’s time to replace the tires before an accident occurs or more damage is done to other parts on the machine. When the tread is gone, you can quickly get to the point where traction and stability are compromised. Worn tread can also increase the chance for punctures, reduce the truck’s capacity, and even lead to transmission problems, which in turn will put your forklift out of service.

So you notice that a tire needs to be replaced. Now what? Well, depending on equipment that you have access to, you can either do it yourself or go to a trusted forklift-servicing provider.

How It Forklift Tire Replacement Works 

It’s best to go the professional technicians for a tire change. Not only is it a dangerous and physically demanding job, it requires the proper use of a forklift jack, impact wrench, and forklift tire press if you’re changing cushion tires. A car jack should never be used to lift a forklift. Your forklift dealer may be able to come to you directly and get the job done onsite with a mobile tire press. The process isn’t much different than replacing car tires, except for the pressing and mounting of the new tires. First the old wheels will be removed, and then depending on the type of tire, the technician will press or mount the new tire onto the wheel. Then the wheel is reattached to the forklift and lowered back onto the ground.

You should know when starting the process that it is unsafe to replace just one forklift tire. They will all need to be replaced. Although this may seem like financial disadvantage, it’s an absolute necessity to have a professional do this for you for safety reasons. Replacing only one tire on the right and leaving older tires that are more worn creates in imbalance, increasing the chance for tipping when carrying loads, which is a very serious injury risk. Do not be tempted to keep older tires on. Just because they haven’t completed failed yet does not mean that they are not a major hazard.

Once you have brand new tires on your forklift, be sure to clean up the floor of your warehouse or work yard to prevent wearing them out prematurely!



(Operations Manager)

Chris Charles is a 27 year veteran of operations and logistics. Experience included commercial property management and project management for an international shipping company in Maryland.