When Is It Time To Change Your Castors And Wheels?
T Tracey Williams

When Is It Time To Change Your Castors And Wheels?

Feb 9, 2023

Castors and wheels are some of the most intensively used components used in commercial and industrial settings. Heavy duty castor wheels can support tens of thousands of pounds and transfer heavy loads in uneven and rough floors. So inevitably, they’re exposed to a great amount of wear and tear, and at some point castor replacement is needed even for good quality castors.

The questions is, how exactly do you know it’s time to get them changed? Let’s look at the signs that tell you it’s time for replacement castors.

Damaged Or Worn Out Wheel Treads


Frayed or cracked treads are one of the most common causes of castor failures, given the wear and tear caused by using wheeled equipment on rough surfaces. The problem with damaged or worn out wheel treads is that they can cause imbalances, surface friction, uneven loading, and reduced control when cornering or manoeuvring.

Despite the risks, a lot of companies continue to use worn out wheel treads instead of replacing them. This may be due to a misunderstanding of what’s involved and how much replacement parts cost, or simply from a lack of regular visual inspections.

Don’t assume this is going to be a pricey fix: most castors are designed so that the wheel elements can be removed and replaced (usually in a matter of seconds) separately instead of getting a whole new castor.

Material Damage Caused By The Environment


This is common in equipment that uses rubber wheels. Although rubber wheels bring important advantages in some applications, like producing low levels of noise even when used in supermarkets, and preventing static electric discharges damaging sensitive electronic equipment, some rubber and polyurethane materials deteriorate when standing for long periods of time, or when they’re exposed to the elements (UV light, high humidity, etc.).

We recommend inspecting your rubber wheels at regular intervals for cracking or flat spots. If they’re present, it’s time to change wheels or choose a material rated for your specific load requirements and environmental conditions.

Rattling Or Loud Noises


Rattling and vibration are often a sign of worn out wheels. Over time, wheels can become brittle or develop chips, in which case the noise you’ll hear is down to insufficient tread.p>

On the other hand, if the noise you hear sounds more like metal on metal, it’s possible that the wheel bearings are worn or even missing. Rattling noises may be due to poor alignment or to a bent wheel. It can be dangerous to continue using wheels in all the scenarios described above, since they could become loose around the axle and cause the trolley to shake or topple over.

Impact Damage


Impact from a collision or falling object can damage any part of the castor and not only the wheel. This type of damage can affect the bearings, fixing plate, or the brackets, so inspect your wheels for the tell tail signs of early failure if you suspect an impact has occurred. It’s quicker and cheaper to swap the wheels out as a precaution than to risk component failure under load – which can damage the trolley itself and cause injury to the operator.

Loose Bearings

The most common signs of loose wheel bearings are increased friction and squeaky or rattling noises. Over time, the wheel and swivel bearings can become loose, causing the ball bearings to escape. There is no alternative in this situation: if the bearings are loose or missing, it’s time to get the castors replaced.

Taking Prompt Action At An Early Stage

It’s important to get a replacement component as soon as you notice any of the issues mentioned above. Damaged castors and wheels can affect your operations negatively by endangering loads and operators, offering more roll resistance, which can lead to higher operator fatigue or occupational health issues, and causing delays that impact your timeline and budget.

Rolltek have more than 20 years’ experience supplying high-quality castors and wheels for heavy duty use. Our team will be happy to help you choose the best replacement castor wheels for your needs.

Image source: Canva

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