How would you know when to replace caster wheels?
When you have caster wheels on a trolley or a rack that bears reasonable weight and is mobile, with time the wheels will show signs of damage, no matter how well maintained it is. Here are a few signs and symptoms that indicate that you need to replace caster wheels to ensure smooth operation.
• Worn wheel treads or damaged wheel treads are one of the most common occurrences to happen. A lot of people persist even with visible signs of wear and tear but it should be replaced as soon as possible. Replacement is not hard, because most casters are so designed as to removing the wheels from the fork is an easy operation. Casters which are rubber based are most prone to this kind of damage. For Nylon casters which are far more long lasting, you may find that the fork also needs replacement by the time the wheel is damaged.
• If the equipment is exposed to outdoor climate for prolonged periods, and especially if they stand still, cracking and flat spots can definitely occur, which dramatically increase the roll resistance. If it is a phenolic caster, water and fluids can spell their doom pretty quickly and you would know that they need replacing by the amount of creaking and groaning they make.
• If there is a loud noise and rattling while moving the fixture from one place to the other, it may well be a sign that the wheels are worn out. This is especially prevalent around the axle. And once the axle hole is worn, you will know that it is time to change the caster wheels.
• The bearings on the wheels and the swivel are prone to wearing and loosening over a period of time, and this makes the slippage of ball bearings a reality. If that happens, they cannot be replaced, and you will need to replace the whole caster wheel. This can be prevented with a “stich in time” method, i.e. by greasing the bearings every once in a while.
• You need to watch out for hard bumps and impacts because they can affect not only the wheel but also the fixing plate, bearings and the brackets. Replacement is advised in these cases, but if only the wheel is damaged, you can go ahead and change only the wheel, leaving the rest of the assembly intact.