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With that in mind, here are seven quick and easy ways to cut down on the expense of forklift maintenance and repairs:
- Look for Do-It-Yourself Repairs — Anytime you have to hire an outside repair company or contractor to work on your vehicles, it’s going to cost you more. Many simple repairs and maintenance — such as oil changes, refilling battery water levels, and maintaining proper tire inflation — can be don in-house at little or no additional expense.
- Optimize Workplace Conditions — Many common forklift breakdowns result from cluttered, unorganized or messy workplace conditions. Keeping your work areas clean and orderly can help avoid or eliminate damage caused by collisions, punctures, and run-overs.
- Invest in Operating Training — Forklift drivers abusing or mishandling equipment can cause damage or speed up wear and tear on your vehicles. Taking the time and effort to properly train and supervisor your operators will pay off down the road.
- Regular Inspections — The longer a vehicle goes without being thoroughly inspected, the more likely a minor repair can turn into a major problem. Require your operators to inspect their vehicles at the beginning and end of every shift and maintain inspection records to create accountability.
- Battery Care — Proper battery management can extend battery life. Have one manager or supervisor be responsible for maintaining the power stations in all of your fleet’s vehicles.
- In-House Repairs — Sending your vehicle out to be repaired is not only more costly but will leave your fleet short-handed until it can be returned to service. If you have qualified technicians on staff, consider ordering parts and doing simple repairs in-house to reduce costs and minimize downtime.
- Preventative Maintenance — Different seasons put different demands on the vehicles in your fleet. Schedule routine seasonal preventative maintenance before the winter and summer seasons begin in earnest, including fluid level and lubricant checks.
All of these maintenance and repair tasks assume you have people on staff who are qualified to perform them. If you don’t, you can still keep your repair and maintenance costs down by entering into a service contract with a qualified local forklift repair shop. Look for a comprehensive maintenance and repair support plan in which all designated repairs are covered by a single monthly rate.
Ideally, your preventative maintenance should be calculated into the overall cost of financing and managing your forklift fleet. That way, there can be no unexpected expenses that shrink your business’s bottom line.