Maintenance Checks Assure Smooth Forklift Operation

In order to avoid problems that could lead to down time, it is recommended that you check your forklift daily. (Courtesy: U.S. Pacific Fleet - flickr.com

In order to avoid problems that could lead to down time, it is recommended that you check your forklift daily.
(Courtesy: U.S. Pacific Fleet – flickr.com)

Maintenance of your forklift should not be taken casually. Something concerning forklift performance needs to be checked out every day as you follow a weekly upkeep program.

Those who know their forklift understand that certain items may need a more extensive analysis than other items. For example, tires, hydraulic hoses, and the battery need a more focused maintenance effort.

Tires are always in contact with the floor, a roadway, or a cemented incline. So tire wear is a major issue. Make sure that the tires are rotated and that they have proper air pressure during routine maintenance. Improperly inflated tires can result in load shifts, bad turns, and accidents.

Hydraulic hoses are constantly channeling fluid and damage should be recognized early to prevent leaks that could cause worse problems.

You could say that the battery is the heart of the forklift. Its energy needs to be distributed through out the machine to assure proper operation. Make certain that the battery has water every day and provide fresh water inside it once a week. Top the battery up after charging and don’t opportunity charge it because that will reduce its life cycle.

Your daily maintenance routine should include a check of the fan and alternator belts, engine and hydraulic oil, radiator and battery water, brake fluids, and tires and don’t ignore the safety equipment –- seat belts, mirrors, turn and back-up signals, horns, rating plate, and the battery emergency disconnect. Loose belts can lead to engine overheating or poor alternator performance and broken belts cause down time. Check all pivot points and lubricate if needed. Pivot areas carry the machine’s counterbalance and can grind down into metal filings if not kept lubricated. Pay attention to strange noises that occur as you operate the lift and troubleshoot them as soon as possible.

Inspect dashboard gauges and lights to ensure that you are getting proper readings of critical lift functions.

Regularly check and lubricate wheel bearings and check brakes at recommended intervals. If wheel bearings have external grease fittings, check for free play first before greasing. Wheels without external grease fittings should be removed, inspected and repacked with grease at recommended intervals.

Check to see that the forks of the lift are straight and if they are not, replace them. The forks keep loads stable. If they are damaged and no one notices, then you have an accident just waiting to happen.

Keep the radiator and transmission cooler clean. The engine fan can suck all sorts of dust and debris off the floor that can get stuck in the radiator and cause the engine to overheat and hydraulic oils to breakdown too fast. So use compressed air to blow away debris from the radiator and transmission cooler at least once weekly.

Unlicensed and untrained workers should not operate a forklift. If they do, safety of others and the condition of the lift can be adversely affected. Not only will unlicensed and untrained operators offer a safety problem, they will not know how to properly perform a maintenance check enhancing the chance that problems can arise.

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