Winter weather and your forklift tires

Winter is here, and we want to make sure your forklift tires are ready to handle the grueling weather. So, is there a specialty tire for your forklift like there is for cars? The answer is no. Unlike what Goodyear and other tire companies make for cars with “all weather tires” and “snow and ice tires”, there is no such thing for lift trucks. There are two, technically three, types of tires for your Toyota forklifts: cushion (indoor warehouse use mainly), pneumatic air, and pneumatic solid.

Forklift snow

Before we dive further into ways to help keep your trucks operating and drivers safe, we’ll start by pointing out that pneumatic tires work best for outdoor Winter weather use. Solid pneumatic tires are more rigid and won’t succumb to any punctures from loose debris under the snow. Air-filled pneumatic tires are similar to tractor tires, and while they can potentially be punctured, they offer larger treads to handle loose snow.

When working out in the yard during the Winter months, it’s not just ice that’s a major hazard but packed down snow can act like ice to a forklift tire. Always be sure to “de-ice” your work area before operation begins. This measure can ensure safety for the operators constantly driving in and out of poor conditions. Without “de-icing”, you’re more likely to run into a hazardous situation, even with the proper equipment to handle poor weather surfaces.

There are two types of precautionary tools for your tires you can use to assure extra safety for your operators in hazardous weather conditions.

Tire Chains

Tire chains encompass the whole tire, regardless of whether they are solid pneumatic or standard air-filled. Chains allow for the forklift to gain traction on the most slippery surfaces. One concern with tire chains is driving them on dry/flat surfaces. This can be damaging to the chains as well as the surface area it’s making contact with.

Forklift Tire Chain

Tire Studs

Tire studs are basically spikes you can drill into a solid pneumatic tire without damaging it. These studs allow for better traction and grip with driving over icy, slippery surfaces. One of its best features is the ability to take them out and reuse them without damaging the tire.