Forklift Battery and Tires

Properly maintaining the battery and tires are imperative for the safe operation of a forklift.

In the case of the battery you will need to determine whether it is feasible or not to regenerate the battery.


An important fact about batteries you may not be aware of is that they actually start to sulphate the day they are manufactured. This is important to know because the amount of

It is essential to properly maintain the forklift battery. (courtesy: Charles Green)

It is essential to properly maintain the forklift battery.
(courtesy: Charles Green)

sulphate on the battery can affect its recharging.

As you charge and discharge a battery more sulphates build up on its plates. This is because the charging technology is not yet 100 percent efficient. After each charge, a very small amount of sulphates remain unconverted. This builds up slowly and soon the sulphates resist the charging causing the battery not to get a full charge. As a result it will take more time to charge or discharge. For example, what was an 8-hour charge from 80 percent discharged can become a 3-4 hour charge.

This occurs because the charger reads voltage and resistance results in higher voltages tricking the charger into determining that the battery is fully charged. On many occasions the charger switches or turns off before the battery has gassed leaving the battery with not much more capacity than it had before the charge.

As a result, the battery is returned to service and forklift operators complain that the charge didn’t last.

In the past, batteries in this condition would have to be replaced. However, now it is possible to remove the sulphates from the plates, which returns capacity to the battery and effectively increases its life.

In order to determine whether it is more cost effective to refurbish the current battery or replace it with a new one needs to be considered. How you answer the following questions will effect your decision.

· What weights is the forklift lifting?
· How long does the forklift driver operate the lift during a day or week?
· Is the forklift driver capable of maintaining the battery on a regular basis to ensure that the recovered capacity is not lost prematurely?
· How long do you want the battery to last in terms of months or years before you replace it with a new one?

A secondhand regenerated battery can be the proper alternative and the savings can be substantial.

Forklift Tires

In the case of the tires, you will need to learn how to read the different warning signs that appear on cushion or pneumatic tires to determine when they need to be replaced.

Check tires regularly for wear, inflation, and other issues. (Maxam Tire at

Check tires regularly for wear, inflation, and other issues.
(Maxam Tire at

Cushion Tires

Warning signs that should alert you that a cushion tire needs replacement include:

· Simple wear. A typical cushion tire features 50 percent wear lines. When the top of the tire meets the lines, then you need to buy a new tire.
· Chunking and cracks. Due to litter debris or misuse of the forklift, huge chunks will appear in the rubber. This is a sign that the tire needs to be replaced.
· Flat spots. If tires are misaligned or spin or when the forklift comes to a hard or sharp stop flat spots will appear in the balder parts of the tire. This is another sign that the tire needs to be replaced.
· Tearing. Sharp objects can tear a forklift tire causing imbalance and extreme danger when driving. If you find a tire with a tear, replace it.

Pneumatic Tires

Pneumatic tires are more commonly used outdoors. Things to look for when determining whether or not to replace the tires include:

· Inflation. Under or overinflated tires will affect the stability of the forklift resulting in heavy wear or adversely effect the stopping power of the lift due to reduction of traction.
· Cuts. Cords or frayed cord piles on the floor of the warehouse on which the forklift is traveling can cut tires causing sudden loss of air and improper balance.
· Balding. Tires will wear unevenly. So it is imperative that the forklift driver inspects the tires often to ensure that they are smooth in the centers and show ample tread on the outside.
· Simple wear. You can utilize the 2-inch rule to determine the wear of the tire. However, it should not be the only thing you consider when thinking about replacing the tire. That is because pneumatic tires have a wider size variance than cushion tires and are built to last in tough environments.

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