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In many shops, wheels and casters are subjected to abuse and wear quickly. To prevent this, you should use the best casters for your needs. Then, you need to make sure that you take care of your wheels through proper maintenance.
Periodically tighten any loose bolts or nuts. Also, check your adapters and make sure they are still in place. While doing this, check for any distortion or bending of bolts. If you have heavy loads, check for fatigue cracks as well. These issues can put an uneven load on the wheels and shorten your caster life. If you have stem casters bolted onto a steel stand, make sure the stem is not bent and that the nut is secure. Ensure that the locking nut or washer is still functional.
Lubricate Friction Points
Using high-quality grease, lubricate all of the bearings on your casters. The bearings on your swivel wheels will last longer if you regularly lubricate them. If you have fixed wheels, put grease on the washers, wheel hubs, and leg surfaces to reduce drag, improve reliability, and increase shop safety. Under normal conditions, you should lubricate your wheels every six months. However, you may need to grease them as often as once a month if your shop is filthy or has many corrosive materials. Additionally, anytime you wash your equipment, you should grease your casters.
Regularly check for a visible tread on any wheels you have. If you notice a flat spot, a foreign object in the hub is likely causing your wheel to bind. Install thread guards to help prevent objects from entering your wheel hub. Frozen or loose wheels can also produce flat spots. Tighten any loose axles immediately.
Keep replacement wheels or casters on hand in case you have any serious wheel issues. For example, when you experience erratic rolling, you should replace the wheel or entire caster. Make sure the axle nuts are properly tightened after installing a new one. Be sure to use a locking washer or nut on all axles. Discard the damaged wheels or casters.
Look for loose swivel assemblies that need replacing. If it will not swivel, ensure the raceway is clear of dirt and debris. Check rigid caster frames for bends or bows. Ensure the frame still fits with the bottom of the equipment. If it does not fit, you should try reinstalling or replacing that caster.
Casters take a lot of abuse in shops. The result is that they tend to wear quickly. However, you can prolong their life by using proper maintenance techniques.