6 Do-It-Yourself Ways to Extend the Life of Your Forklift

5025585506_1310a294f5_mForklifts are a substantial capital investment for any business that uses the vehicles. So getting the longest, most productive life out of your lift trucks can only help your bottom line.

While major repairs and overhauls are often best handled by external forklift maintenance firms, there are a number of simple, easy fixes you can do yourself to extend the life of your vehicle. Here are six of them:

Maintain Your Facility

The wear and tear on your forklift will be harsher if your workplace facilities are not kept orderly and intact. One of the most common causes of avoidable damage expense is forklifts running over debris like wood pallets, plastic wrap, twine and banding.

These common warehouse items can damage radiators and axles, and even destroy the vehicle’s cooling system should they be blown into the engine compartment.

Train Drivers

Drivers need to understand that speed is not the same thing as productivity.

Plus, such normal, mundane tasks such as pre-operation inspections, safe load handling, fueling, battery charging and more are essential to the safe operation of your forklifs.

Safe Work Practices

Safety devices such as speed reduction systems, warning signs, traffic signals and others can contribute to reduced vehicle damage — as well as overall workplace safety.

Regular Inspections

It’s easy to take forklifts for granted. After all, they are heavy, durable machinery that are built to take abuse.

But all vehicles age. To help prevent costly repairs and damage to property, products and people, it is critical the daily or pre-shift inspections be conducted consistently.

Require all drivers and supervisors to regularly inspect masts, forks, chains, and tilt cylinders, at the very least. If you need a comprehensive checklist, you often can get one from your forklift supplier.

Battery Care

Many forklifts that operate in indoor facilities are battery powered. That’s because electric forklifts don’t release potentially harmful emissions, which can be dangerous in enclosed spaces like warehouses and docks.

The downside of using battery powered forklifts is the maintenance they require. Batteries need to be recharged frequently, and charging can take a long time.

In operations with large fleets, a separate battery changing room may be needed to facilitate the powering up of these vehicles. Even if dedicated forklift charging “nurseries” aren’t used, proper charging and battery techniques must be used. Otherwise, your forklifts can easily become damaged or even destroyed.

DIY Maintenance and Repairs

While big repairs typically will require a call to your forklift service provider, there are a lot of simple repairs that most facilities and maintenance staff can handle on their own.

When you work with your forklift every day, you get a feel for the machines. So there’s nobody better qualified to know when simple maintenance or adjustments need to be made. Keeping up with daily maintenance and minor repairs can help avoid larger, more expensive fixes down the line.

Follow these six simple DIY steps and you can keep your forklifts running longer and more efficiently without having to worry about prolonged downtime and more costly repairs.

 

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