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Changing a tire or making repairs under your forklift requires the proper lifting equipment. Never use an automobile jack to lift a forklift.
Because of their counterweights, forklifts generally weigh significantly more than cars or pickup trucks. This is especially true when compared to newer model cars and trucks, many of which have cut weight to attain fuel standards. The jacks included with today’s cars and truck tend to be relatively weak compared to those that came with vehicles 20 or 30 years ago.
A jack specifically designed for a forklift is an essential tool for safely making repairs that require lifting the vehicle.
Forklift Jack Safety
A forklift jack is engineered to lift the heavier weight of a forklift safely. But’s not the only tool you need to change a forklift flat. You also will need wood blocks for blocking as well as wheel stands and possibly jack stands.
Other safety considerations include:
- Never attempt to work beneath a forklift that is not properly blocked and supported under its frame
- Don’t try to jack up a forklift that is parked on a ramp, incline, or on gravel or crushed stone. Safely drive the forklift to level, solid ground such as concrete or asphalt before attempting repairs.
- Make sure the jack is rated for a minimum of 1.5 lift capacity of your forklift’s weight. For example, if your forklift weighs 9,000 lbs, use a jack with a maximum lifting capacity of 14,500 lbs.
- Keep in mind that removing major parts of the forklift such as the mast or drive axle will change the vehicle’s center of gravity when you remove it. Make sure the forklift is supported under the counterweight to prevent it from tipping backward or forward while you are making repairs.
Never use an overhead chain as the sole means of support when lifting a forklift to do repairs such as tire replacement. Use only a rated forklift jack and blocking materials made of solid oak or other hardwood.
Forklift Jacking Procedures
Before using a forklift jack, turn the vehicle off, lower the forks all the way, and engage the parking brake. Place wood blocks beneath both sides of the wheels to prevent movement.
Use the forklift jack to lift the wheels. Once it has reached the appropriate height, place blocks beneath the counterweight and frame to support the lift truck. Be careful not to place the blocks beneath the fuel or hydraulic tanks, but the frame itself. Make sure the vehicle is completely stable before taking any further action.
Because of their great weight, it’s imperative that you take extra care and precaution when making repairs. Don’t attempt to crawl underneath the forklift unless it is thoroughly supported and stable. Also, don’t work alone. Have somebody else present at all times.
Always follow the forklift manufacturer’s instructions for making repairs to your forklift. Check to see if there is any specific information for lifting your model of vehicle with a jack prior to attempting repairs. If you are unsure or inexperienced, rely on a certified forklift repair person to make the repair for you.