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Forklift safety is priority one for any warehouse as well as for manufacturers of forklifts like Toyota Material Handling USA in Columbus, Indiana. One of the most important components of a moving vehicle whether it is a forklift or not is the brakes. Just as it is important to check the brakes of your family car on a regular basis, it is just as important to check the brake assembly of your Toyota forklift.
Brake Assembly 101
In order to maintain the brake assembly of a Toyota forklift properly you need to know at least a little bit about it.
The two main components of a Toyota forklift brake assembly are the brake drum and brake shoes. When the operator applies the brakes of the forklift the brake shoes are pushed against the brake drum. The friction caused by the contact of the two parts slows down and ultimately stops the lift.
The brake shoes of a Toyota forklift are made of two pieces of steel. The section that is forced against the brake drum to decelerate the lift is the brake lining. Because friction is a main element in the operation of the brakes, the brake lining is wear and heat resistant. However, over time the brake lining will wear down and will need to be replaced. For the same reasons, the brake shoes also need maintenance and replacement occasionally. Allowing too much wear to occur before replacement of these parts can prove to be unsafe and can damage them resulting in a more expensive replacement.
Common causes of brake damage include:
· Driving with the parking brake engaged.
· Braking too hard without giving the forklift time to decelerate.
· Driving “two-footed” with the brakes partially engaged.
· Driver error leading to damage of the wheel cylinder and hub seals that keep the brake assembly properly lubricated.
If the forklift fleet manager notices that there is continual, excessive brake maintenance going on, then that may be a sign that the forklift operator is poorly driving the machine, which can be the reason for one or more causes of damage to the brakes. If the problems outlined above occur, then the forklift fleet manager should contact the local Toyota dealer to arrange for a forklift-operating course for the suspected driver.
It is also advised that the forklift operator perform a regular pre-shift inspection of the brakes. Adding this to the forklift driver’s responsibilities ensure that problems are discovered early before they can become a major issue and also ensures that he is aware of his lift’s condition. The inspection should include testing the brake pedal for proper resistance and inspecting the parking brake to ensure it engages correctly. In addition, a regular visual inspection of the brake shoes through the wheel hubs can identify problems before they get out of hand.
*These are not guidelines nor a “Do It Yourself” piece. Always consult with your owner’s manual and a certified Toyota Forklift mechanic prior to any work on your Toyota Forklift. It is strongly recommended to use only certified Toyota Forklift mechanics to service your Toyota Forklift.