Forklift Maintenance Tips: How to Extend the Life of Your Truck
In the industry, you might hear a common phrase: “Treat your forklift like you would treat your own car.”
That makes sense. Cars and forklifts have similar features – tires, signals, horns, steering wheel…you get the picture. But on the other hand, forklifts are often times put through much more rigorous work than cars. And really, forklifts do more in the workplace than a car could ever do. They help you be productive, efficient and safe and get a great deal of work done with ease.
It’s no secret that forklifts can be a major investment. And because of the value that they bring to an organization over time, it’s silly to ruin that investment through wasted repairs and replacement parts. That’s why we always recommend having regular forklift maintenance performed to avoid heavy spending in repairs or parts later on. It’s also great to ensure uptime and keep the equipment operating in the most productive way possible.
Here’s our list of the top 5 most important maintenance tips for your forklift:
To begin proper forklift maintenance, check to make sure tires appear to be in good standing. To achieve the most life out of tires, always be sure they are properly inflated or, if the tire is fully rubber, be sure there are no pieces missing or severe nicks or gouges. Uneven or improperly inflated tires can cause failure to turn the right way and heavy loads to be damaged during accidental shifts from an unbalanced forklift. Consequently, be aware that you will need to replace tires if they start to become bald, have flat spots, tears on the surface, or if the top of the tire now meets the wear line. Remember, tires are the only elements that are constantly touching the road or surface. It’s critical that they are in good standing at all times.
Like a car, fluids are essential to keeping your forklift operating as it should, and with safe engine temperatures. Check motor oil, coolants, and transmission and hydraulic fluids regularly. For some, “regularly” might be daily if the forklift has heavy use — for others who use their forklifts less, you can check fluids weekly or monthly. Speaking of fluids, be on the lookout for leaky hoses. Be sure to fix a hose leak immediately as it will only get worse over time. With proper fluid levels and hoses to operate those fluids, your forklift will continue to experience optimum performance.
Forklifts can be powered in a number of different ways. These include propane gas, diesel fuel, gasoline, and batteries. Always keep the forklift powered or charged with the proper fuel type, so that parts operate correctly. Don’t let gas levels get too low, especially during cold months. And consider higher quality gas types, depending on the make and model.
Be sure all joints and necessary parts of the forklift are greased to prevent friction or wearing out parts prematurely. This seems very basic but is often times one of the causes for many repairs to forklifts. Whether aerosol or grease, lubrication can be applied to a variety of parts within the engine or on the exterior, including the fork and/or extensions to ensure smooth, efficient movement at all times.
This is where the experts come in. Regular professional inspections should be performed to make sure all facets of the forklift are working properly. This can include testing signals, horns, checking fluids, making sure forks are aligned and lifting appropriately, testing safety features, and more.
Did you happen to hear a weird noise as the forklift turns? Does the alignment feel slightly off? Paying attention to problems when they’re small instead of waiting until things are worse can save you time and money in the long run. Likewise, it goes without saying, pay attention to the forklift gauges and lights found on the panel. These can indicate issues and alert you before they become severe. Regular inspections help detect issues early on and help get problems solved sooner rather than later – leading to cost savings down the road and a safer truck.
Every forklift has its own service requirements that vary in mandatory service checks from 250, 500, or 1000 hours. Know your forklift’s service needs, but also keep up on routine self-maintenance as it will lessen the cost of surprise service fees later on, and lengthen the life of your forklift investment.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of forklift maintenance experts and repair technicians. We are here to help!