How to Make Casters Quiet and Why They Are Making Noise
Victoria Forney

How to Make Casters Quiet and Why They Are Making Noise

Keep your casters rolling smoothly and quietly with a little help from Caster Central. We provide a wide variety of caster wheel products for many applications.

The professionals at Caster Central are dedicated to providing quality support for all of your caster needs. We provide the best options and the best service in the industry.

If your casters have started squeaking during operation, read on to find out how to make casters quiet.

Common Types of Casters

There are a variety of caster types available. Depending on what kind of cart or equipment you need, you’ll want to consider the caster material as well as other features. Here are some common types of casters:

  • Poly wheels: Transport industrial loads and do so more quietly than some other wheels
  • Spring-loaded casters: Support the load while providing a significant level of noise reduction
  • Shock-absorbing wheels: Provide up to 70% dampening of sound for cart noise

These are all options to consider if you’re looking for quiet casters.

Common Caster Problems

Faulty casters can become a big problem quickly, so it is necessary to fix any issues as soon as they become evident. Some common problems you can run into with casters include:

  • Squeaking or screeching
  • Locking up or slow movement
  • Difficult to maneuver
  • Constant shifting of the load

How to Make Casters Quiet

Loud, squeaky carts can truly disturb the peace. Nobody enjoys pushing a cart that makes them the center of attention. And in some environments such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, etc., keeping the noise level low is extremely important to provide quality patient care.

Here are a few tips on how to make casters quiet:

Don’t Overload Carts

When you notice that your casters are squeaking or screeching, look to see whether you have overloaded your cart.

Every type of caster has a maximum weight load that it can support. If your weight is not distributed evenly across the casters, it can cause problems with how well the wheels move. This is known as capacity overload.

Load capacity matters, and you can avoid noisy, overloaded casters by choosing casters that support around three times the weight you expect to carry. Also, pay attention to the terrain you’ll be moving across. Check for any major bumps in the road that might cause the load to shift.

Choose the Right Caster Material

In addition, some materials help quiet down your wheels. Thermoplastic Rubber (TR) or Advanced Ergonomic Rubber (XM) wheels provide smoother, quieter rolling, and they don’t leave marks behind on the floor.

Other considerations include choosing sealed bearings to dampen the sound of the inner workings of the ball bearings, thus making for quiet operation. Overall maintenance of the wheels is important to prevent rusting and seizing up, which are two major reasons casters make noise. 

Lubricate the Bearings

Caster wheels bear heavy loads and undergo daily wear and tear. It makes sense that as these metal or plastic parts move, they can scrape against each other and make loud noises.

Proper lubrication of the wheel bearings keeps noise down and provides optimal operation for the caster. You should not be able to hear the bearings when the cart is in operation.

Use Temperature-Resistant Caster Wheels

Exposure to extreme temperatures can also cause caster problems. Extreme weather conditions like ice, snow, and heat can be another reason for caster failure.

High or low temperatures can cause cracks or other issues that lead to malfunction or failure. Some materials, such as rubber or polymer, may melt or shatter when exposed to high temperatures or extreme friction.

If you’re going to be using your cart in very hot or very cold weather, be sure to select temperature-resistant materials such as phenolic resin to maintain your caster’s integrity over time and avoid the need to replace your casters.

Keep Carts Inside, Away from the Elements

If casters aren’t made for outdoor use, it’s best to keep them indoors and out of the elements. Too much heat, cold, or moisture can degrade the integrity of the caster.

Indoor carts are not made to stand up to wear and tear from salt, sand, dirt, and rocks. And if you are keeping the cart indoors, the importance of a clean floor cannot be overstated. The smallest thing can keep a caster from moving properly. So, be sure to pay attention to the terrain, whether indoors or outdoors.

Inspect for Rivet Failure

Rivet failure affects the caster’s ability to spin correctly while in motion. Also known as kingpin bolts, the rivets are integral to the thrust and the rotation of the caster. These rivets absorb most of the force during caster movement.

Be sure to distribute weight appropriately and select the most durable materials for your purposes when choosing casters.

Other Considerations

While you’re figuring out how to make casters quiet, think about the many aspects that may impact the noise level of the casters on your cart. Depending on where you need to use the carts or other wheeled items, you’ll want to consider the necessity of noise reduction in comparison to the overall load capacity of the cart.

For example, a hospital or inpatient facility where your staff moves patients from place to place would necessitate a quieter wheel and a less rigid caster than a warehouse where commercial parts and heavy machinery are moved around the building.

Larger wheels, sealed or unsealed bearings, load capacity, and other details can make a huge difference in the overall performance of the caster. Several other factors that impact the noise level of the caster include:  

  • Using the right cart for your weight load
  • Keeping the terrain free and clear of obstacles, dirt, and debris
  • Maintaining reasonable speeds when pushing the carts

These things also contribute to the overall safety that the product offers.

Safe Operation of Casters

Aside from quiet casters, safety is a major issue in the operation of casters. Unsafe operation of any kind of equipment can cause injury and cut down productivity.

Caster failure can cause costly injuries to employees and drive up insurance rates in the process. If you rely on casters to safely transport patients, you want to be sure that there won’t be any sudden stops or jerks that might injure the patient.

For safe operation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How large is the load you will be carrying?
  • What type of flooring will you be moving across?
  • What size wheel is optimal for the cart you’re using?
  • What environment will you be in?

There is a big difference between a cart that is carrying a 70-lb. load and a 200-lb. piece of machinery. Hitting a slick spot on the floor can be a disaster in either case. Maneuvering around cracks or holes in the path can help you avoid injury or damage to the load you are carrying. Look for high-friction casters that control skidding and sliding to ensure smooth, safe operation.

Still Have Questions?

It’s always best to be proactive and informed when dealing with casters and other equipment. No matter your industry, you probably have experienced the hassle noisy casters can cause. Follow this guide to make your casters quiet and ensure safe, quiet operation.

Be sure to check out your options for caster wheel brakes from Caster Central. We have a large selection of casters available to keep your business rolling.

Visit the Caster Central website or call (800) 445-4082 to learn more about how to make casters quiet.