How to Change Forklift Tires in 10 Easy Steps

Solid pneumatic tires on an orange counterbalance forklift

Knowing when and how to change forklift tires is a key part of any operation that uses material handling equipment. Keep your business running smoothly with efficient forklift tire replacement.

Industrial Forklift Truck is here to help you succeed. Trust us to provide you with essential resources on everything forklift-related.

Save money and protect your equipment by changing forklift tires correctly and at the right time. Learn more about this process below.

When to Replace Forklift Tires

Unlike cars, forklifts don’t have a suspension system. Because of this, the entire weight of the forklift is supported by its tires. This makes the tires more susceptible to wear and tear.

Operating with damaged tires reduces the overall lifespan of your equipment and creates a dangerous environment for operators and pedestrians alike. Be sure to check the condition of your forklift tires daily during your preoperational check.

Replacement indicators will vary with tire type. If you have a cushion tire forklift, replace the tires when wear reaches the size numbers printed on the side. For instance, a tire may have a size of “21x7x15”. These numbers are printed on the side of the tire. When the rubber wears down to the tops of these numbers, it’s time to change the lift truck tires.

If you have a pneumatic forklift, you’ll see a ring or band on the side instead. Once the rubber wears down to this band, it’s time for a replacement.

There are also certain universal indicators for replacement, regardless of tire type. Before operating your equipment, check the tires for chunking, tearing, and bald spots. In other words, if your lift truck tires have pieces falling off, deep rips in the rubber, or are irregularly shaped due to flat areas, they should be replaced immediately.

How to Change Forklift Tires

Are your tires ready to be replaced? We’ll go over just how to change forklift tires. Before we start, gather a forklift jack, impact wrench, forklift press (if you’re changing cushion tires), and, of course, your new lift truck tires. Then, find a flat, clear area to work in.

Changing Press-On and Solid Pneumatic Tires

  1. Use a forklift jack to raise the equipment off of the ground.
  2. Place blocks under the frame of the machine to lock it in place. 
  3. Remove the lug nuts with an impact wrench.
  4. If changing steer (rear) tires, remove the dust cap, cotter pin, and castle nut.
  5. Take the old tire off of the machine.
  6. Remove and grease the bearings.
  7. For multi-piece wheels, remove the side and lock rings before dismounting the tire from the rim. For split wheels, use an iron to pry the top half of the rim from the tire.
  8. Place the tire on a tire press. Press the used tire down about 1 inch to loosen the lock ring and shoulder ring.
  9. Place the new tire on top of the used tire and press them together. The used tire will be pressed off and the new tire will be pressed on. (Note: Tire presses require up to 5,000 psi to operate and are extremely dangerous. Only trained tire technicians should press tires.)
  10. Place the new tire on the equipment. Reinstall the lug nuts and all other previously-removed pieces.

Changing Air-Filled Pneumatic Tires

  1. Raise the equipment off of the ground with a forklift jack.
  2. Deflate the old tire by removing the valve core.
  3. Use an impact wrench to remove the lug nuts.
  4. Remove the wheel assembly from the forklift. Remove the side and lock rings.
  5. Dismount the tire from the rim. Clean the rim.
  6. Mount the new lift truck tire onto the rim.
  7. Replace the side and lock rings.
  8. Place the wheel assembly in a tire cage and inflate the tire to proper air pressure. Inspect for issues.
  9. Deflate the tire again and remove the wheel assembly from the tire cage.
  10. Install the new forklift tire and re-inflate it.

Keep in mind that all lift truck tires are different. Changing forklift tires can be a dangerous process, especially if you have to use a tire press. Make sure you know what you’re doing. If you need help, turn to a trained technician.

Want someone to take care of the whole process for you? Use Industrial Forklift Truck to compare pricing on a variety of pre-screened forklift servicing companies in your area. Receive free quotes from different providers. Get a great deal on forklift tire replacement today.

Red lift truck raised off the ground for forklift tire replacement

Get a Great Deal on Forklift Tires & Replacement

Does forklift tire replacement sound like a lot of work? Find someone to do it for you. DIY typically saves money, but there’s a lot of expensive equipment involved in changing forklift tires, especially if you’re changing press-on or solid pneumatic tires.

If you want to save time and money without cutting quality, we can help. Industrial Forklift Truck partners with pre-screened forklift service and repair companies across the company. We offer free quotes on all servicing options in your area. You’ll get a clear look at each of your options before you commit. Get started here.

We also provide the same comparison tool for forklift parts, including lift truck tires. Receive pricing on a variety of forklift tires for sale in your area to find the best deal.

Compare Pricing on Forklift Tires & Forklift Servicing Options.