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Oct 29, 2020

Scary Tire Problems

5 Creeping Problems that Ruin Forklift Tires, and What to Do About Them

They're out there, in the warehouse. Lurking in the shadows of your forklifts. They are—damaged forklift tires.


Forklift tires undergo a lot more stress than car tires. They carry heavy loads day in & day out. They ride from smooth to rough surfaces. As with all tires, they eventually wear out & need replacing. That's normal.

However, sometimes you have an abnormal problem appear. Strange marks on tires that seem to appear out of nowhere. They do have causes. In fact, the tire problems will tell you how they happened.

This month, we thought we'd talk about these "scary tire problems" and what to do about them.

Watch for These 5 Tire Problems, Before It's Too Late

Make no mistake: If you see any of these problems on your forklift tires, you're in trouble. These problems either warn you of a catastrophic tire failure, or symbolize a serious issue with forklift operation.

So let's go through 5 tire problems, see what they look like, and find out why they happen on your floor.

Tire Problem 1: Chunk Out

What it looks like: Chunks torn or gouged out of a tire. These often appear along the tire's center line.

Chunk Out Forklift Tire Damage

Why it happens:

  • Rough floors (asphalt, gravel), or floors with litter on them.
  • Dock plates – their edges can catch the tire, either tearing it or wearing it in the same spot over time.
  • Aggressive driving of the forklift – fast turns, too much speed under load, etc.

Tire Problem 2: Bond Failure

What it looks like: This is where a section of the tire tears away from the wheel. Peeling away like the rind of an orange.

Bond Failure on Forklift Tire

Why it happens:

  • Heat buildup over time, causing melting near the rim
  • Hot brakes impacting over & over
  • Consistent overloading
  • Manufacturing defects – These sometimes trigger a bond failure, but it will usually happen early in the tire's life.

Tire Problem 3: Radial Cracks

What it looks like: Cracks or splits down the side of the tire. They tend to look like cracks in a sidewalk.

Radial Cracking on Forklift Tire

Why it happens:

  • Long high-speed runs when unloaded, quickly stressing the tires
  • Consistent overloading

Tire Problem 4: Sidewall Blowouts

What it looks like: Bursts on the side of the tire, usually near the rim.

Sidewall Blowout on Forklift Tire

Why it happens:

  • Heat-related failure due to heavy loads and high speeds
  • Bond failure

Tire Problem 5: Flat Spots

What it looks like: A flat spot along one part of the tire's outer edge. May not be visible at first glance; you often detect it by running your hand over it.

Flat Spot on Forklift Tire

Why it happens:

  • Panic stops
  • Trapped air in part of the tire
  • Under-cured rubber
  • Continually turning in one direction

Spooky stuff! We can't blame these on ghosts or goblins though. These tire problems come about from warehouse conditions and forklift operation.

By the time you see problems like these, the tire's already damaged. Sometimes a service shop (like your local Cromer) can repair the tire, but other times it's best to just replace it. Nobody wants a "monstrous" accident on the floor.

The question is, how do you stop these kinds of problems from happening again?

How to Prevent "Scary Tire Problems, The Sequel"

Don't worry, the Forklift Boss doesn't want to scare you. Here's what you can do to prevent tire problems over time.

  1. Employee Training – Tire wear reflects how operators treat the forklift. If you see cracks, chunks, or tears, the employees logged on those forklifts need training for better operation.

  2. Wider Tires – if you see bond failures or sidewall blowouts, try a wider tire on the forklift. It may need more tire surface area to balance its weight.

  3. Replace with More Efficient Tires – The right tires can not only last longer, but they can even reduce your fuel usage per forklift! If you haven't already, try one of these two tire types:

    1. ELECTRIC COMPOUND – These tires have better cut & chunk resistance, and can save you up to 25% on fuel usage. They're not just for electric forklifts either—you can use them on LPG trucks as well.
    2. "SOFT TUFF" – These are solid pneumatic tires designed for harsh applications, like glass plants and recycling centers. They have a polymer-coated outer shell which boosts their tear resistance. They're meant for use on LPG forklifts only.

Until next month...Happy Halloween!

Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
Cromer Material Handling

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