Cleaning the Forklift Battery

The battery can be considered to be the heart of the forklift. Like a heart that pumps out blood, the battery pumps out energy. So keeping it in good condition is essential.

(courtesy: Charles Green)

(courtesy: Charles Green)

We all know about the common maintenance procedures concerning batteries. However, we may take for granted the need to bathe the battery to assure that it is clean.

It is imperative that a battery is cleaned periodically to prevent corrosion. If the corrosion is not cleansed, then the battery will suffer problems.

When you clean the battery depends on when its top is covered with dust, dirt, oil, and other foreign matters and when the electrolyte spillage collects.

A good rule of thumb as to whether the battery needs cleaning is if the top looks dirty or damp. This could occur as often as every two weeks or as sporadic as every six months.

Things you will need to do the cleaning include:

· Gloves
· Hot Water (130° F to 170° F)
· ½ pound of baking soda or household ammonia
· Detergent used for general cleaning
· 1 gallon of clear water
· Clean Paintbrush
· Wire battery terminal brush
· Damp cloth

Combine the baking soda, hot water and recommended amount of general cleaner with the clear water. This creates the solution you will use to clean the battery.

Remove the battery from a turned off forklift.

Make certain that the battery’s vent caps are tightly in place.

Use the paintbrush to spread the cleaning solution over the top of the battery. Make certain that you work the liquid under the intercell connectors and the terminals to loosen any grime build up and to neutralize the acid. The baking soda in the mixture will cause a fizzing action. Keep applying until this activity stops. If you use ammonia instead of baking soda, then there will not be a fizz.

Rinse the battery with clean, hot water through a low-pressure hose to remove all remnants of the solution and loose dirt.

You may need to cleanse the battery terminals with a wire battery terminal brush if there is an overabundance of calcium deposits.

Remove the vent top and wipe it off with the cloth and then return the top to the battery.

Reconnect the battery to the forklift.

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