Anyone who has ever driven a car knows that tire quality impacts a vehicle’s performance. A responsible driver carefully considers which tires will best meet their needs depending on the time of year, where they are driving, and how much they are driving. The same should be true for choosing tires for your company’s fleet. This is what to consider when choosing forklift tires.
Needs of the Company
On a car, different scenarios require different tires. A Jeep going off-roading will need different tires than a Prius driving exclusively in the city. Similarly, you have to consider what you need your forklift to do. Keep in mind:
- What terrain a forklift will drive on (outdoor vs. indoor)
- The amount of weight it needs to carry
- How long its shifts will be
- The speed the forklift has to travel
- Forklift class
Coming armed with this information will help you make a more informed decision and not be distracted by the various tire varieties.
Types of Tires
There is a myriad of different styles of forklift tires that can be divided into two main categories: pneumatic and cushion. Understanding both types’ capacity is important to consider when choosing forklift tires.
Pneumatic tires are by far the most common variety, appearing on everything from cars to bicycles. The technology behind them makes them far more able to absorb shock. This allows them to handle the rough and uneven terrain of the outdoors, though they still work well in indoor settings. There are traditional air-filled pneumatic tires as well as solid tires that can handle the toughest terrain.
Cushion tires use soft rubber over a baseboard or metal ring. Because of this, they’re cheap to manufacture and maintain. However, they don’t have the shock absorption capabilities of their pneumatic counterparts, making them unideal for rough terrain. However, they get good traction on smooth surfaces such as concrete floors and asphalt, so they work well in loading docks or warehouses.
When you search for tires, the listings for tire size aren’t always as straightforward as you would think. There are several different measurements that a company might give you that are indicated by different acronyms. Knowing which measurement is which will help you pick a tire that will fit your lift truck.
- ID (Internal diameter): The measure of the diameter of the “inner circle” of the tire.
- OD (Overall diameter): The diameter of the entire tire from end to end.
- SH (Section height): The height of the rubber part of the tire from rim to edge.
- SW (Section width): The width of the tire from edge to edge.
- AR (Aspect ratio): A number that represents the section height divided by the section width.
A forklift’s tires determine its performance, so it makes sense to take the time to choose the right one. This will help your forklift run better for longer.