When To Replace a Rubber Cushion Forklift Tire

So why can't we run the tire until we hit the steel band?

replace your forklift tires at 1-1/2" off the OD

  • Loss of impact cushioning (Reflex Modulus)
    • With only 1-1/2" of rubber worn off tire, 100% of impacts are transmitted to machine (and operator) as there is not enough rubber to absorb (cushion) impacts
  • Reduced Clearance
    • The less rubber on the drive (front) tires, the lower the mast is to the ground and damage to the mast is expensive to repair while tires are inexpensive to replace
  • Reduces Carrying Capacity
    • As rubber is lost, carrying capacity is reduced and the tire will split or "radial crack" on the sidewall
  • Reduced Heat Disipation
    • With less rubber to absorb and disapate the heat the tire will start to break down. As the outside diameter is reduced, the faster to tire rotates again compounding the heat problem

How to measure a cushion tire

measuring a forklift tireThe manufacturerers recommend replacing the tire when the outside diameter (OD) is 1-1/2" off the original OD. There are two methods of measuring a tire to determine whether or not it is worn out.

  • Measuring it with a tape measure across the wheel
  • Look for manufacturerers name molded into the sidewall of the tire. As a general rule of thumb, when the tire wears down to the name stampled on the tire, it should be changed.

When to Replace Rubber Cushion Tires
Size New ID (in.) Replacement OD (in.)
14x4-1/8x8 14 12-1/2
16x5x10-1/2 16 14-1/4
16x6x10-1/2 16 14-1/4
18x6x12-/18 18 16-1/2
18x7x12-/18 18 16-1/2
18x8x12-/18 18 16-1/2
21x7x15 21 19-1/2
21x8x15 21 19-1/2
22x9x16 22 20-/12
28x12x22 28 26-1/2

Please note – this is a guideline only.
Different brands and models of tire have different specifications for outside diameter and width.

What if you can read the tire size?

Sometimes when speaking to customers, they are unable to read the tire size on the side of the tire; The tire may be worn beyond the recommended minimal outside diameter (OD), or the tire may have been damaged and it is no longer readable.

Click here to see how you can determine your tire size.

Tire Manufacturer's Replacement Recommendation Documents

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