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Make Your Forklift Look Brand New with a Fresh Paint Job
In most industrial settings, it doesn’t take long for a forklift to begin to look a bit battered and worn. But regardless of its condition, you can make your forklift look years younger simply by giving it a fresh coat of paint.
Know the Rules
Before you paint your forklift, you need to be aware of a couple of relevant rules from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration. First, OSHA Standard 1910.178 requires that all forklift labels and nameplates must be readable at all times. Painting over these labels would instantly make the forklift unsafe for operation, as far as OSHA is concerned.
So you will need to tape over any decals or nameplates so that they can be kept clear of any paint.
Use Approved Paint
Another OSHA rule regulates the type of paint you can use on a forklift. only noncombustible agents or solvents with a high flash point — defined as 100 degrees F or higher — can be used on forklifts. You also need to take the necessary precautions based on the toxicity of the paint. For example, if you are painting your forklift inside a garage or dock, you need to ventilate the area and wear personal protective equipment.
If you are using spray paint to paint your forklift, the room where you are painting must be kept separated from other business operations. And only battery-powered forklifts can be used in spray rooms. In fact, gas, diesel, or propane-powered forklifts aren’t even allowed to drive through paint or spray rooms because they don’t have the type of spark-limiting safeguards that electric-powered vehicles have.
It’s also a good idea to paint your forklift somewhere that you can leave the vehicle without moving it while it dries. Depending on the type of paint you use, this could take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days.
It’s Paint Prep Time!
Okay, so you’re finally ready to paint your forklift. The first thing you want to do is to give it a thorough cleaning. Uncouple the battery terminal and wrap them in tape so they don’t ground out. Scrape the grease away from the inside of the runners of the mast because this area is often dusty and gritty. If you want, you can use a steam cleaner or a chemical thinner to make this messy job easier.
You also will want to remove the forks and lower the fork holders onto pallets so you don’t have to worry about ruining the hydraulics.
Next, strip off the paint on the inside runners where the fork holders move and cover the inside where the fork guide runs with painter’s tape. You also want to tape over decals, plates, and controls. Take off anything you can from the vehicle — such as the seat or removable backup lights — but make sure you know how to reinstall them later.
Now all you have to do is to paint your vehicle.
After the Painting
Once the paint is completely dry, remove all the tape and clean any area you forgot about earlier.
Slapping a fresh paint job on an old forklift is a great way to make it look newer. With a little prep work and some common-sense rules, you can improve the look and feel of your vehicle. You probably will want to do this every five or seven years or so, at the very least.