Using the correct forklift tires is critical to the job you are performing. Just like the tires on your car or truck, they can affect performance, fuel efficiency and safety dramatically. There are so many different terms used for the varied applications, rather than listing the types of tires, we will discuss the differences by their purpose or function in which they are made to perform.

When the time comes to replace your tires, be sure to use a reputable, knowledgeable material handling company like Summit Handling‘s Industrial Tire Sales. Changing Lift Truck tires yourself, and without the proper equipment and knowledge, can be a dangerous, even tragic, proposition. On-site service makes the most sense, and with two full-time time technicians and mobile units, Summit will minimize your down-time and provide you with the right product.

Warehouse Indoor

Terms used to describe these tires are cushion tires, polyurethane wheels, or non-marking tires. All of these wheels are designed for smooth surfaces. They are all made with the tire material pressed on to a metal band. In general, they are smooth and provide a tight turning radius ideal for aisles or tight spaces. Look for industry leaders such as Monarch, Watts Tires, Solideal, Continental or MITCO for the tire that fits your needs.

“Cushion Tires” is the general, most commonly used term for a warehouse tire. They are made of rubber with a carbon base and are long lasting.

“Polyurethane Wheels” are very smooth and have little rolling resistance. These are great for heavy loads and used on reach trucks and Walkie-stackers.

“Non-Marking Tires” are also a popular option. These eliminate the black marks that traditional, carbon-based will leave. There are industries that require these tires, such as food processing or grocery factories. The one drawback to non-marking tires is that the lifespan tends to be shorter than cushion tires.

Combination Indoor/Outdoor

Terms used to describe these tires are resilient tires, solid tires, solid pneumatic tires, puncture-proof tires and foam fill. These are designed to be versatile for a variety of surfaces, and businesses that need to have a forklift that travel from indoors to outdoors. These tires are durable, but some are more than others. MITCO, Monarch, Continental and Solideal are industry leaders with sterling reputations and the variety you may be looking for.

“Resilient Tires” or “Solid Tires” or “Solid Pneumatic Tires” are the most common tire on the market today. They are designed the same as a pneumatic tire (see below) but are not filled with air. Because of this, they do not afford the same kind of ride for the operator. However, these tires do not puncture and are very long-lasting. While the initial investment for these is higher, the longevity provided makes them a very efficient purchase in the long-term.

“Foam Fill” is an older technology and a resin is used to provide constant pressure and some puncture prevention. They provide a softer ride for the operator than resilient tires, but are not made for rough use where there is potential for a tire tear.

Uneven Rough Outdoor

Very similar to car or truck tires, these are generally called “pneumatic tires.” These are air-filled, have a deep tread and are made of strong, wear-resistant rubber. TrelleborgMichelin and Solideal provide fantastic, long lasting and well researched tires.

It’s proven that pneumatic tires extend the running life of a forklift by providing a cushion effect between the forklift and the ground. These are not as nimble as indoor use tires, but if you are frequently in rough terrain, uneven surfaces or outdoors, this is the way to go.

When you are planning your next Lift Truck purchase or need your forklift tires replaced, be sure to consider long-term cost, performance and application while making your decision. Talk to your operators and get professional advice from experienced material handling professionals.

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