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Forklift seats are one of the most frequently replaces pieces of equipment on any lift truck. That makes sense because they are the one part that takes most of the abuse day in and day out.
Not only are operators constantly climbing in and out of the cabin while moving pallets and other loads, but because most forklifts don’t typically have the elaborate suspension and spring systems that other vehicles have, the seats take the full impact every bump and turn the vehicle experiences.
Managers of busy forklift fleets with vehicles running three shifts around the clock may need to replace their seats once every couple of years, if not more often. When they do, they usually discover that they have many different options to consider.
Forklift Seat Materials
While it may seem like every forklift seat is made out of the same type of generic, black vinyl, it’s not true. Although they aren’t as popular, there are cloth forklift seats and some that are made of a combination of vinyl and cloth.
Leather seats may be a popular option for cars and trucks, but they aren’t typically used in forklifts. The goal of most fleet managers is efficiency and economy, not luxury and style. Plus, vinyl seats are every bit as comfortable as leather seats and cost a fraction of the price.
Some models of forklift seats come with the option of side rails. These can help stabilize the operator and offer additional comfort for their elbows and arms as they spend hours behind the wheel of their vehicle. They also are convenient for holding on to while turning around while backing up.
Most forklift replacement seats don’t offer the option of side rails. If they do, consider the physical size of the operators who will be driving the vehicle. If they are too big, side rails may be more of a discomfort than a help.
Before ordering forklift replacement seats, check to see if the existing seats you are replacing come with built-in seat belts or if the seat belts are attached to the vehicle itself.
If they are attached to the seat, you probably will need to buy a replacement seat that also has built-in seat belts. Conversely, if the seat belts are attached to the vehicle rather than the forklift seat, you probably don’t want to buy a forklift replacement seat that has a second set of seatbelts already attached.