Factory Cart Wheels: How to Buy Suitable Replacements

You are frustrated because one of your factory cart wheels has failed. Now your cart is out of service until you can replace that wheel. Just make sure you don’t compound your problems by buying a wheel or caster that’s unsuitable for your cart, your application or your floor.

Factory cart wheels fail for seven main reasons. If you want to avoid these failures, you must understand why your wheels fail. Then buy replacement factory cart wheels that solve your challenge.

Failure 1: Kingpin/Raceway

Many factory cart casters feature a rivet or kingpin bolt that holds the raceway together, allowing the caster to swivel. Because the swivel action is centered about the kingpin, the kingpin carries the majority of the weight, making kingpins the leading cause of caster failure (and the costliest to repair).

The solution to kingpin failure is to replace old casters with kingpinless or maintenance-free casters. Kingpinless and maintenance-free casters handle heavy loads, perform excellently in towlines, and offer greater durability because they distribute the stress over a larger area on the caster. Maintenance-free casters also add the advantage of no maintenance.

Failure 2: Tread De-Bond

When the tread on your wheels comes away from the wheel or roller hub, this is called de-bonding, or delaminating. Sometimes, this is the fault of the manufacturer, who used insufficient or poor-quality adhesive when attaching the polyurethane wheel to the hub. Treads also come away from wheels when the wheels become overheated or exposed to water or solvents at the bond line.

The remedy for tread-debonding is to buy quality factory cart wheels and casters from reputable manufacturers.

Failure 3: Wheel Axle Bearings

The primary cause of failure in wheel axle bearings is inadequate lubrication. This typically involves either using a poor-quality grease, or not greasing often enough. If you lubricate your factory cart wheel bearings regularly but they still fail, consider replacing your wheels and casters with units that have sealed precision ball bearings. Sealed precision bearings distribute loads, reduce friction, and dampen noise.

Failure 4: Forks

Forks bend and fracture for a number of reasons. To buy the right replacement wheel or caster, first diagnose your fork problem.

  • Heavy impact: When the forks on your wheels and casters collide with pillars, door frames and other objects, they crack, fracture or bend. The solution is operator training.
  • Overloading: Wheel and caster forks that are loaded beyond their weight rating will bend out of shape. The solution (besides operator training) is to buy replacement wheels and casters that are rated for your carts and the weights they carry.

Failure 5: Wheels Cracking

If the wheels on your factory cart wheels and casters are cracking, the cause is likely the material the wheels are made from—it is the wrong material for your application. Soft rubber wheels, for example, become brittle and crack if left too long outdoors or exposed to the elements. Polyurethane wheels also crack if subject to excessive loads while rolling.

The solution to wheel cracking is to buy factory cart wheels and casters that have wheel compounds that are rated for your loads and your application.

Failure 6: Debris Retention

If the wheels on your factory carts are collecting staples, weld slag and other debris that damages your floors, you have a problem with hardness. That’s because the commodity wheels and casters found on many factory carts are too hard for factory floors.

Wheels made from phenolic and other hard materials collect staples, metal particles and other floor debris that embeds into the wheel’s tread, eventually wearing a groove into factory floors, especially if the wheels or casters are on tuggable carts used in tow lines.

The solution is to look for wheels and casters made from durable polyurethane. Polyurethane treads are soft enough to reject debris. Just remember that not all polyurethane is created equal. What you need is high resilience and the proper polyurethane for your application.

Failure 7: Excessive Noise

Sometimes, the wheels and casters on your factory carts don’t fail because they break. They fail because they break sound-level regulations. If your carts are too noisy, replace their wheels and casters with ones that have high-rebound resiliency in the tread (such as high-quality polyurethane). These wheels store and exude energy to reduce noise-causing vibrations, and deliver a smoother and quieter ride.


The safest way to prevent recurring problems with your factory cart wheels and casters is to replace them with units that solve your problem. Wheels and casters fail for seven main reasons. If you want to avoid these failures, you must buy replacement wheels and casters that are designed, engineered and built to meet your application. Consider, for example, our flagship CC Apex line of casters and wheels. They are one of the most admired products in the industry.