As forklifts are utilized on a daily basis, some wear and tear will occur as part of everyday use. Like all machinery or vehicles, forklifts require maintenance, especially the moving parts as they get the most use. That is why it is essential to maintain your forklift properly. Following these tips will ensure the smooth and efficient running of your forklift and potentially reduce your overall operating expenses:
1 - Operator daily checks/inspections
Creating a daily check list with items that need to be inspected by the operator/driver prior to running the forklift will cut down on maintenance costs. There is a small time investment by your operator, however, by doing the inspection and help spot troubles and allow those troubles to be addressed. From top to bottom including the operator controls, lights, control panel, gages, wheels, forks, battery and all fluids (oil, battery water, transmission fluid, water, gear oil, lubricants, hydraulic fluid, coolant, etc.).
2 - Contact service/repair
During the daily check, if an issue is spotted or develops while operating the forklift contact a factory authorized service representative immediately. Be it error codes, warnings, mechanical issues – call for service immediately. Prolonging contacting service or continuing to attempt to operate a malfunctioning forklift may be dangerous and potentially create more down time and cost more money in the long run. It is a big mistake to neglect forklift problems, fix problems right away.
3 - Perform regularly scheduled maintenance/routine maintenance at required intervals
Keep your equipment in good working order by following the maintenance schedule/interval outlined by the manufacturer's operator manual. Make sure everyone involved in the operation of the forklift reads and understands the operator manual. Various maintenance procedures need to be performed at regular intervals as outlined in the operator manual otherwise issues/problems can occurs and cause unscheduled downtime for your forklift – costing you money.
4 - Inspect Forks and Lift Mechanisms
Be sure to inspect the integrity of the forks for wear and tear and have a certified maintenance mechanic review the lift mechanisms to ensure that nothing will impair lift capabilities. Any failure of this aspect of the forklift can lead to the inability to access pallet rack storage and inventory stored within it.
5 - Battery/Fuel
Ensuring that the your forklift is properly charged or fueled up. Some forklift run on batteries, make sure it is fully charged at the start of a shift (and double check battery water levels to make sure there is enough water in the battery). Take time to top up the fuel tank if the lift truck uses gas or fuel to operate.
6 - Tires
Keep those forklift tires in good shape. As noted in tip # 1 check the tires. Make sure the tire pressure is proper to get the best mileages from your forklift. Under-inflated tires can cause traction issues which can potentially lead to accidents. Over-inflated tires can explode/blow out creating downtimes. For forklifts that use solid rubber tires – inspect them for gashes/gouges – replace any damaged tires immediately to avoid potential problems. On electric or hand pallet trucks, replace casters as they wear.
7 - Brakes
Checking the brakes during the daily inspection/checklist is a must. Any braking issue that may arise needs immediate attention. Check brake lines/hoses for brittleness or cracking. Ignoring brake troubles can create situations that are hazardous or potentially deadly.
Investing time and effort into the upkeep and preventative maintenance on your forklift will more than pay off when you are able to keep it running safely and reliably.