How Long Should Forklift Tires Last

How Long Should Forklift Tires Last?

How long should your forklift tires last? The quick answer is - there’s no set time for your tire life. It all depends on how you’re using them and what your work environment is like.

So what exactly affects your forklift tire life?

First of all, make sure you’re using the right tires for your usage, floor conditions, and forklift. Having the right forklift tires for your application is a huge sticking point when it comes to how long your tires will last.

Not to mention, planned maintenance affects your tire life too. It may seem like a pain, but avoiding planned maintenance shortens your tire life and can waste thousands of dollars.

That’s just the basics. Let’s dive into the five main factors that affect your forklift tire life.

1. How Often Your Tires are in Use

The hours you put on your forklift tires make a huge difference. If you’re using your forklift for 10 hours a week it’s likely the tires will last longer than if you were using it 40 hours a week.

usage affects how long forklift tires last

2. Forklift Operator Style

Your forklift operator’s driving habits and abilities affect the life of your tires too.

Spinning the tires, quick starts and stops, excessive speed and sharp cornering all reduce the life of your forklift tires. If you’re zipping around the warehouse, taking tight turns and stopping abruptly, it’ll take a toll on your forklift tires.

forklift operator style

3. Floor Conditions

This one might seem obvious. Yes your floor conditions can either help you get the most out of your tires or contribute to their wear.

The abrasiveness of the ground surface can limit your tires’ life. The best case scenario for a long forklift tire life is sealed concrete or black top. You’ll get a higher run time out of your forklift tires.

tire on sealed concrete

Surfaces with lots of debris are going to shorten your tire life too.

Running over debris isn’t a good idea. Not only does it damage your tires, but it’s not safe for forklift operation and it can be uncomfortable for the operator too.

Applications like recycling centers and lumber yards might have a hard time avoiding debris. Solid pneumatic tires are a durable option for these environments but it’s still best to avoid running over debris whenever possible.

4. Operating Conditions

Your general work environment and operating conditions can shorten the life of your forklift tires.

Something as simple as humidity can be a major issue. A very humid environment can make the floor sweat which causes the tires to spin more. And spinning tires means worn out tires.

It’s not just the environmental conditions. Your load affects the tires too.

While you don’t want to overload the lift truck, running the forklift without a load also shortens your tire life. Without a load on the forks, the counterweight presses down on the steer tires which causes them to wear more quickly.

counterweight pressure on steer tires

5. Forklift Tire Type

Some tire types are naturally more prone to wear and tear than others.

Pneumatic tires typically wear out more quickly than solid pneumatics. Plus, they can be punctured causing a flat tire which will then need to be patched.

Quick Tip: While some people foam fill their pneumatic tires to avoid a flat, we usually don’t recommend it because it increases pressure on the tire casing making it a less sustainable solution long-term.

To get the most out of your pneumatic tires, make sure you monitor the air pressure carefully. Low air pressure equals more contact with the floor surface and that means more wear.

Pneumatic Forklift Tire

In contrast, solid pneumatic tires have a longer life than pneumatics. They’re extremely durable and resilient to wear.

Solid Pneumatic Forklift Tire

When it comes to press-on tires, polyurethane tires typically see up to two times the life of cushion tires.

Polyurethane Tires

Get the Most Out of Your Forklift Tires

Now that you know the main factors affecting your forklift tire life, you can get the most out of your tires!

The next step is knowing the right time to replace your forklift tires. How do you know when the tires are at the end of their life? Find out When to Replace Your Forklift Tires.