The Forklift Boss Blog

Blog posts from Marshall Cromer, "The Forklift Boss". Follow us for information on forklift safety, available parts, & upcoming technologies shaping the future of material handling!
Forklift Boss Blog
  • Choosing the Right Forklift Tire

    by Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Nov 27, 2012

    Tire selection is vital to lift truck operation. Demanding applications require the proper tire for a forklift's reliable performance. How do you choose the right tire? What tread and compound do you need? 

    Let me share some information about 2 types of forklift tires: Cushion Type and Pneumatic/Solid Type.


    Cushion Tread 

    The rule of thumb is: 

    Steer Tires - Always use a smooth tread. 

    Drive Tires - Use smooth tread when possible.

    Smooth tire tread is the choice for most applications because smooth treads: 

    • Contain more rubber, for a longer service life  
    • Have a flat profile for greater stability  
    • Give a larger footprint for better traction  
    • Provide more effective cushioning, making a safer ride 
    • Resists cutting and chunking

    If that's true, why do new lift trucks ship with traction tread? 

    Traction tread tires are installed by most manufacturers because they: 

    • Cost less to OEMs 
    • Are perceived to provide better traction  
    • Look rugged and dependable

    Cushion Compound 

    Cushion tires are not just "black and round". Physical properties may be published by manufacturers. If they aren't published, a tire manufacturer can use lower cost rubber and additives for a cheaper and inconsistent product. Only MITL publishes specific physical properties.  

    There are two types of compound: 

    1. Universal Compound 

    • Designed for basic forklift cushion tires  
    • Formulated with standard quality rubber and additives  
    • Priced competitively 
    • Few problems in low- to medium-use applications  
    • Resists abrasion 

    2. Electric Compound (The best cushion tire to buy!) 

    • Lower rolling resistance o Formulated with high quality rubber and additives 
    • Runs cooler  
    • Resists tearing and chunking due to higher elongation  
    • Constructed of a softer material, protecting the equipment, operator, and load


    With pneumatic tires, you have 3 choices on which type to use.

    1. Softuff Solid Pneumatic 

    • Long wearing, scuff-resistant tread
    • Cushion-rubber center reduces load damage  
    • Steel reinforced base provides absolute rim adherence 
    • Greater ground clearance 
    • Diameter meets/exceeds global size and safety standards 
    • Zero-maintenance solid tire 
    • Concave sidewalls increase deflection, reducing equipment and driver fatigue

    2. Softstandard 

    • Long wear, greater ground clearance and increased stability 
    • Constructed with a 70/30 rubber-to-friction stock ratio 
    • Precision interference fit helps eliminate spinning 
    • Rugged tread design provides maximum traction on all surfaces 
    • Concave sidewall improves shock absorption

    3. MPC Type - Black and Round 

    Very popular because of its price

    • European-type size which has less tread 
    • Soft riding center compound increases shock absorption 
    • Provides an economical solution for good tires

    Ask Cromer what tire works best for your application.  We're happy to help!