A forklift is one of the most useful tools for any warehouse or supply chain owners. Just like any other machinery, a forklift needs to be maintained properly and checked regularly for safety, longevity for a higher return of investment. If you’re spending more on fixing your forklift, you may be doing something wrong or not putting enough time to have it checked and maintained.
Every complex machine will wear out and break down over time. So it’s logical and practical to have a maintenance schedule to ensure your forklifts are kept in the best possible shape.
Below are some of the most important things you need to check to keep your forklift in tip top shape.
Tips To Maintain Your Forklift
1. Remove Dust
When cleaning a forklift remove all the loose dirt and rust from the surface of the machine. Dusting from the top and working all the way down should get rid of the grime and dirt that is stuck on the forklift’s surface. Dust and rust removal clears the way for more detailed cleaning.
2. Check Tyre Pressure
If the forklift rubber tyres are made from hard and solid rubber, there’s no need to check for tyre pressure but check for wear and tear. Check any cracks and chips and see if the wear is uneven. If the forklift is using inner tubes, then you have to check the tyre pressure regularly. Having the right tyre pressure prevents premature tyre wear and fuel economy.
Under inflated tyres can cause poor traction that can lead to accidents. Whereas over inflated tyres could blow out, cause injuries and put the machine out of commission. Check tyre pressure once a week and inflate it to the right tyre pressure. Recommended tyre pressure is between 120-125 psi.
3. Make Sure All Moving Parts Are Lubricated
Forklifts have many moving parts and these parts tend to take much of the strain from lifting and lowering heavy pallets and materials, plus friction causes wear and tear. Make sure that every moving part is well lubricated to minimise friction, overheating and premature wear. Grease all the fittings and replace any worn down ball bearings are replaced right away.
4. Change Fluids and Oils Every Three Months
Forklifts uses hydraulic fluids, transmission fluids, coolants, motor oil and others. In time, these fluids dries up or loses its viscosity which affects the performance of the forklifts. Change the oil regularly will prolong the machine’s life and maximise utilisation. If used daily, have the fluids replaced every 3 months.
5. Use Pressure Washing
Pressure washing the forklifts is one of the best ways of removing built up dust and grease. It’s one of the safest way of cleaning a forklift because there’s almost no need for having contact with the machine preventing some contaminants to get in contact with you. Hot water pressure is a very effective way of dissolving grease and oil while removing dirt from all the crooks and crannies of the machine.
6. Check The Lights And Gauges On The Dashboard
Some issues in a piece of machinery don’t always become immediately apparent, thus it’s always a good idea to check the gauges if there’s any issue. The lights and the gauges on the forklift’s dashboard are often the first indication of a malfunction. Even if the lift is functioning fine, these indicators show that there is something wrong with the machine, thus it’s better to have them checked always.
7. Check The Brakes
Brakes are one of the most important parts in your forklift. Faulty brakes will cause accidents and some may even result in serious injuries or deaths. If you’re noticing some brake issues, have it checked immediately and have it replaced if needed.
8. Check The Engine’s Coolant Levels
Just like owning a car, always check the coolant’s level before using the forklift. The coolant prevents the engine from overheating and helps prevent corrosion. Engine overheat, usually happens in the middle of intense operations, thus to avoid this issue, it’s necessary to inspect the radiator and reservoir for any form or leaks that could cause the coolant levels to go down. Use a 50/50 ratio of water and coolant in the reservoir. A concentrated mix can ruin the forklift engine performance.
9. Make Sure The Forks Are Straight
Uneven forks is a big issue because it will cause the load to fall over, cause accidents and waste time and money for everyone. Just a small bend in the forklifts can affect its performance thus, make sure the forks are straight or have them replaced.
10. Always Get The Best Quality Parts
Using quality parts on your forklifts will save you money in the long term with less breakage and less repair issues. Adding to this, if the forklift is regularly checked and maintained then you will get great life value out of your forklift.
These maintenance tips should give value and performance to your forklift. But if you’re not sure, consult your forklift dealer or any experienced forklift mechanic who can help you take care of your equipment.