How to Read Forklift Tire Sizes

January 14, 2024

Forklifts serve as an essential component in the material handling industry and forklift tires are essential to the operations and productivity of your fleet. With the different types of forklift solid and pneumatic tires, there are so many sizes and variations. Whether for indoor or outdoor warehouse applications, knowing the right tire size for your forklift will help ensure maximum productivity and operator safety.

Press-on Solid Tires

Press-on tires, also known as cushion tires, have a unique and different sizing from other tire types, but also much simpler as the three numbers forming the tire size directly represent the core dimensions of the tire. The sizing is made up of three numbers: the outside diameter X width of the steel band X wheel/hub diameter.

For example, a 21x7x15 tire has an outside diameter of 21 inches, a width of 7 inches, and an inside diameter of 15 inches.  The inside diameter of the tire is the nominal dimension; the actual ID (inside diameter) of the tire is slightly smaller, and the forklift hub OD (overall diameter) is slightly larger than this value to provide the interference fit, securing the tire on the hub after pressing.

Some customers will also refer to these tires in their metric values, but in most cases, this is a direct conversion to the imperial size.  For example, a 533x178x381 is the exact same tire as the 21x7x15 (divide the metric dimensions by 25.4).  Note that there are some sizes that are unique to metric sizing, but these sizes are rare.

Solid Pneumatic Tires

Sizing for solid pneumatic tires, also known as resilient tires, is similar to standard pneumatic tires, but there are multiple variations in the nomenclature.  The first type of sizing is used for narrow base tires, which have a nearly one-to-one aspect ratio (tire section height relative to section width).  These tires are described by their section width in inches, followed by the wheel size in inches.  For example, a 7.00-12 is a resilient tire with a 7-inch section width that is mounted on a 12-inch wheel.

The second type of size naming is used for low-profile tires in imperial units.  These sizes refer to the tire outer diameter in inches, followed by the tire section width in inches, and finally the wheel size in inches.  For example, a 23×9-10 has a dimeter of 23 inches, a section width of 9 inches, and a wheel diameter of 10 inches.

Lastly, the third type of naming convention for solid industrial tires is used for low-profile tires in metric units and is similar to that used for passenger car tires.  This convention lists the tire section width in millimeters, the aspect ratio, and the wheel diameter in inches.  For example, the 200/50-10 tire size has a section width of 200 millimeters, an aspect ratio of 50%, and is fitted onto a 10-inch diameter wheel.  Since solid tires are rigid and must fit precisely on a wheel of a specific width, there are some tires that specify the rim width dimension as part of their size.

These are the most common ways of identifying your solid press-on, pneumatic, and solid pneumatic resilient tires. If you have questions about your forklift tires and sizes, please contact your local MAXAM Tire representative.

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MAXAM Tire is a global leader and manufacturer of specialty tires engineered and custom built specifically for you.

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