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!

Nov 27, 2012

Choosing the Right Forklift Tire

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 TYPE TIRES

Cushion Tread

cushion-tire-tThe 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

PNEUMATIC/SOLID TYPE TIRES

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

1. Softuff Solid Pneumatic

  • itl-solid-pneumatic-tLong 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!