Warehouse forklifts have become a necessity for every industrial and manufacturing businesses. Common usage allows:
- workers to easily move heavy goods and supplies within the workplace
- a reduction in employees’ workloads by accomplishing a task solo rather than requiring a team
- an easy progression of the daily workload within the warehouse to the supply chain.
Just like any vehicle big or small, a forklift has many benefits, but it also has its limitations. If the vehicle is not well maintained it will break down and may cause delays in deliveries, cause injuries and even death. But if monitored and regularly maintained, these issues can be prevented.
With forklifts being used daily in most industrial and manufacturing sites, it will experience normal “wear and tear” and will require troubleshooting and fixing. If you’re a forklift operator, you need to be aware and have a little basic knowledge about how your forklift works to check these issues and identify what needs to be done to fix it.
Common Forklift Problems You Can Avoid
1. Mast or Lift Problems
The mast is the lifting mechanism and frame of the forklift. If the forklift is not rising or lowering properly, or it if does so but erratically, this may indicate hydraulic problems. The hydraulic system may be malfunctioning. Thus, it’s advisable to repair the leaking cylinder and replace the defective forklift parts like the oil filter and oil seals.
2. Faulty Steering
There are different causes as to why the forklift steering may not work properly. One can be low levels of steering fluid transmission, which causes the steering wheel not to transmit directional changes fast enough. Check the levels and top up if needed. Another reason is worn-out gears in the forklift which for this one, requires professional service and repair.
3. Engine Overheated
One of the most common cause of an engine overheating is a broken radiator or radiator blockage. Over time, dirt and debris will build inside the radiator and can block the ports which results in overheating. Check if there’s caked mud or dirt in the radiator ports. If there is, gently clean it with fresh water and be careful not to damage the radiator fins while cleaning. If the same thing happens after cleaning, it’s possible that there is corrosion in the radiator which prevents water or coolant from circulating. You can have it repaired or replace it.
Also have the thermostat checked because it should open when the triggering temperature is sensed, which allows the coolant into the engine.
4. Worn-out Tyres and Suspension
Even though a forklift does not travel far, it is used daily and carries heavy loads which put stress on the tyres and in time, they will be worn out. It’s best to replace any worn out tyres to ensure traction and forklift handling stability. Same thing with the suspension systems. Suspensions also react to the load and provides stability to the vehicle.
5. Starting Issues
This could be due to two issues, the truck could be out of fuel or it may be an electrical problem. If it’s a fuel problem, just top up or have the carburetor changed if it has one. If it’s an electric forklift, you need to check the battery first. Make sure that it’s connected properly and there is no corrosion on the terminals and casing. Also check the electrolyte level on the battery, top up if needed. Don’t forget to perform a battery function test. If it operates less than 80%, have it replaced. If it still doesn’t work, have it checked and serviced professionally.
Keeping an eye on these issues will save you a lot of money and if not fixed, it can be expensive for the business to purchase parts and payouts for injuries. Experienced forklift operators who know about the problems and good service will surely keep the forklift operations safe and sound.