Daily, Monthly, and Lifetime Forklift Maintenance Essentials

A specially equipped Toyota forklift handles potentially explosive materials at the Van Gansewinkel facility in Moerdijk, the Netherlands (Photo courtesy of Pryoban)

Like any other piece of mechanical equipment, forklifts require a lot of maintenance in order to work properly. Anytime there are moving parts rubbing against each other, it pays to pay attention to wear and tear and address issues before they become a problem.

Regardless of whether you own or lease your forklift, it’s important to establish and follow a regular maintenance schedule in order for your vehicle to perform optimally. Routine maintenance can help your forklift last longer and run more efficiently.

One-Time Maintenance

So how can you tell which forklift maintenance tasks are required for your specific model vehicle and how frequently they need to be performed? That’s easy! The vehicle’s manufacturer can tell you.

The company that built your forklift knows best how to keep it running its best. Check your owner’s manual or the company’s website for the kind of regularly scheduled maintenance your vehicle requires.

In some instances, following the manufacturer’s maintenance guideline’s isn’t just a good idea to keep your forklift in optimal running condition, but it may also be among the terms of your warranty. Failure to perform routine tasks may affect your ability to make claims later.

Weekly Maintenance Tasks

Depending on your forklift’s manufacturer’s recommendations, there are some tasks that should be performed every week. These can include things like checking hydraulic hoses for cracks, splits, or weeping fluid. Damaged hoses need to be replaced right away in order to prevent bigger problems later.

Another common weekly task is to check the forklift’s tires for wear. Forklift operators tend to drive their vehicles the same way every day, so tires can form pattern wear. For example, if the operator makes mostly right turns, it can cause the outside edge of the right front and rear tires to wear more quickly than the other tires.

Rotating tires according to a regular schedule can help prevent wear patterns from forming and can extend the life and enhance the performance of your forklift’s tires.

Daily Maintenance Tasks

There are certain maintenance tasks that probably need to be performed every day, or ever before and/or after every shift. For example, if you have an electric forklift, checking the battery levels can help prevent the vehicle from running out of juice while out on the job.

Similarly, checking the diesel or LP levels of your gas or propane-powered vehicles will ensure you always have enough fuel to get the job done.

Forklifts require a lot of maintenance. Use your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule as the basis for your monthly, weekly, daily, and per-shift maintenance checklists.

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