What is the Difference between Cushion Tire and Pneumatic Tire?

Probably the most frequently asked questions I get are about tires. The difference between cushion tire forklifts and pneumatic tire forklifts:

Cushion tires are a solid industrial tire, made mostly for indoor, or light outdoor usage on asphalt only. If you use these outside you can get traction tires on the front of the forklift, also known as the drive tires. The back tires, or steer tires, are just that; made for steering. Traction tires on the back of the forklift will just wear out faster. So if you do need to go outside, traction on the front, and smooth on the back is the economical and safe way to go.

Pneumatic Tires have air in them, and are similar to the tires on a car. They can be used inside however they are most useful on gravel, or in an outdoor “yard” application.

Why can’t I use a cushion tire on gravel?

Cushion tire forklifts have a smaller chassis and sit much lower to the ground. So these can get hung up very easily. Pneumatic Tire Forklifts have a slightly larger chassis with much more ground clearance, so you can move around a lot better.

What is the difference between Solid Pneumatic and Air Pneumatic tires?

This is probably the most confusing question to answer. They will both work in the same outdoor applications, asphalt and gravel. The difference between the two is solid pneumatics are just like the name- solid rubber. You can’t gouge them, pop them, or puncture them. They are more expensive than air pneumatic tires, because they are made up of much more rubber. These are great for lumber yards, and scrap yards.

Air pneumatics can be punctured, so you can get flat tires from them, so before you use them, make sure your yard is free of sharp metal scrap debris and nails. In most applications, regular air pneumatics will work fine.
What about foam filling?

If you have air tires you can foam fill them. This is not a cheaper alternative (over solid pneumatics), but for those who want a smoother ride than solid pneumatic tires, foam filled tires are a nice alternative.

Why are Pneumatic Tire Trucks more expensive than Cushion Tire Forklifts?

Supply and demand, Pneumatic Tire Forklifts are always high in demand, so in the used market, they are very popular. I usually have the best deals on used Pneumatics. Ones that are good running, dependable, quality machines. Brand new Pneumatic Tire Forklifts cost between $20,000 & $25,000 Dollars. So in this market, you really do get what you pay for.

Which one is best forklift for me? I still am a little confused.

Feel free to call me at 314-209-9999 or fill out a contact form, I can come out and take or look at your operation, or answer any other questions you may have.

2 thoughts on “FAQs”

  1. If I were to switch from cushion tires to air pneumatic tires, would I need to switch out the chassis or axel?

    1. Unfortunately, at this time, there are no ways (that I’m aware of) to change a lift from cushion to pneumatic. On most of the trucks, it’s not only the axle that would need to be changed, but the frame itself wouldn’t allow the pneumatic tire’s typically larger size. I won’t say it’s impossible, but I suspect the amount of work involved would make it infeasible. Not to mention, you would likely be breaking some OSHA regulations in the process (they are quite touchy about modifying a forklift beyond it’s original specifications without factory approval.

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