Forklift Tyres

Good quality and well maintained tyres are a fundamental part to any forklift operation. Tyres play a key role in safety and productivity.

Just like a car, tyres are what connect your forklift to the ground. Incorrect pressures, flat spots, cuts, tears and lack of tread will not only affect the performance of the forklift but also increase your risk of an accident. Heat also needs to be considered in high use applications where there is not sufficient cool down periods.          

Operators need to pay key attention to tyres during daily pre-start checks. Checking the tyres and tread for anything unusual, checking wheel nuts to see if any are coming loose and rims for any signs of damage. Particularly in harsh applications where the terrain is rough or where forklift utilisation is high.

It’s also important to understand the key differences in tyres. Most forklifts will be fitted with either a puncture proof cushion solid tyre or an air-filled pneumatic tyre. Solid tyres have a wear indicator on them known as the 60J line. Once worn to the 60J line the tyre is only capable of 60% of its original capacity and requires replacing immediately.  


An air filled pneumatic tyre requires the correct amount of pressure to be operated safely and efficiently. An underinflated tyre will be down on capacity and has potential to roll off the rim under load. Bulges in pneumatic tyres are a sign of under inflation. Be mindful when checking tread depth of a pneumatic tyre. Although from the side there may appear to be sufficient tread left, a pneumatic tyre will generally wear across the centre of the tyre.

Keep in mind forklifts do not have suspension. Once a tyre has worn over 40% the operator will absorb over 80% of the shock when driven over an uneven surface, increasing operator fatigue. The powertrain has to operate harder to turn the wheels, resulting in increased fuel consumption and premature wearing of mechanical parts, meaning additional downtime, which effects your bottom line.

Spending a little extra on a good quality tyre will increase your productivity. One study has shown an increase in productivity of 14% in a single shift when compared to a low quality tyre.

Useful Tips

  • Puncture Proof Solid tyre will last up to three times the life of a pneumatic tyre.
  • Pneumatic tyres require the correct pressure for the load they carry.
  • Tyres are most at risk of coming away from the rim when operated under high stress, carrying a heavy load or going around a corner.
  • Heat is the number one danger to forklift tyres. A useful reminder is travel 2km, followed by a cool down period of 15 minutes. 
  • The lower the amount of tread the less opportunity there is for heat to spread out. This increases your risk significantly.
  • Pushing when steering will cause excessive tyre wear.   
  • Signs of black rubber on your floor are an indication of excessive tyre wear.
  • Wrong tyres for the application, tyres in poor condition or excessively worn are a potentially dangerous and expensive hazard.
  • Tyres play a huge part in forklift stability. Tyre wear, damage and inflation can affect the stability and increase the risk of an accident.
  • Carry out daily checks to pinpoint any excessive tyre wear or damages.
  • A pneumatic tyre must have 1mm of tread over the center 75% of tread around the complete circumference.
  • Puncture Proof Solid tyres have a wear indicator, known as the 60J line. Never re-groove below this line.
  • Press on band tyres, found in warehouse applications, van be used until 2/3rds of the original thickness remains. Change earlier if you notice any signs of damage, deformation or tyre coming away from the rim.
  • Check for flat spots.
  • A damaged tyre increases vibration.
  • Tyre spinning on the rim is a sign the forklift has been used for pushing.
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