The Ultimate Guide To Preventive Forklift Maintenance

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In a busy warehouse, retail unit, or manufacturing plant, the breakdown of a forklift can cause a delay in operations, affecting the entire supply chain. Also, frequent breakdowns put the operators at risk of sustaining injuries. Hence, to avoid such situations and maintain the usual speed of operations, performing preventive maintenance of forklifts is necessary. Check out robotic grinding with Material Removal Automaton.

With regular servicing and other preventive measures, a forklift will run smoothly and offer a reliable service for years. But, when it comes to being proactive with maintenance, not every establishment follows the guidelines issued by OSHA (Operational Safety and Health Administration), and eventually suffers the consequences such as fines, asset damage, injuries, and in worst scenarios, even death. 

This brings us to the importance of preventive forklift maintenance. Here is how you should conduct preventive maintenance of your forklift:

Daily forklift inspections

Performing regular inspection is a sure-shot way of keeping your forklift in its best working condition. With regular inspections, you get to identify the problems before they convert into time and money-consuming hassles. 

Make it a habit to inspect your forklift every day before commencing operations to spot potential issues. Here is your inspection checklist:

  1. Check the fork and mast. They should not be worn, cracked, bent, or rusted. 
  2. Check for wear and tear of tires. They should be inflated. 
  3. Check for loose lug nuts and tighten them immediately. 
  4. Check the axles. 
  5. Check the condition of mast lift chains and rollers. If you find metal shavings or fillings, get them checked at a professional repair service. 
  6. Check the hydraulic lines for leaks or damage. Check the fluid level.
  7. Check the visible hoses and cables. 
  8. Check the lift cylinders. They shouldn’t be pitted. 
  9. Check the fuel tank for LPG/propane forklifts.
  10. Check battery charge level for electric lifts. 
  11. Check the seat belt. It should be functional.
  12. Check the guide rails.

Once you are done with the initial visual inspection, turn the forklift on and,

  1. Check the lights and horn.
  2. Check all the safety mechanisms. 
  3. Check the steering. It should be smooth and responsive. 
  4. Check the brakes, parking brake, and accelerator.
  5. Check the parking signal. 
  6. Check the functioning of forks by moving them up and down.
  7. Check the tilt control operations. 
  8. Check all the attachments by operating them. 
  9. Check the instruments and gauges. 
  10. Move the truck a little to check whether or not it is operating smoothly and check for any leaks. 

Monthly and yearly forklift maintenance

Follow the monthly and yearly maintenance guidelines dictated by your manufacturer to keep your forklift in functioning its best. Also, check the manufacturer’s recommendation for the same. 

Generally, your forklift maintenance scheduled after long periods of time should include:

  • Lubrication Check

Change the engine oil and check all the fluid levels. Change the oil and air filters. Lubricate the chassis-mast attachment. Clean all the breathers and battery terminals. 

  • Electrical Check

Check all the electrical units, including motors (steer, drive, hoist), contact tips, drive control system, commutator, blowout, switches, battery connectors, springs, etc. 

  • Hydraulic system Check

Check cylinders and valves for leaks, damage, and operation. Check all the hoses, tubes, and fittings. Check the pump for smooth operation and noise. 

  • Gas Check

Check radiator-coolant-hoses, muffler, belts, spark plugs, ignition switches, LPG hoses, clutch adjustments, fuel filter, and other units of the apparatus. 

  • Others

Check brake adjustments, attachment operation, lights, alarms, steering, horn, forks, pallets, chains and anchors, bolts and nuts, tires, etc.

Conclusion 

Preventive maintenance is important to ensure the proper functioning of your forklift, and more so if you have a used forklift because used forklift transmissions, tires, fork and mast, braking system, battery, and other parts pose are likely to cause problems. Remember, proactiveness maintenance and taking some key safety measures now would save you a lot of time and money while preventing trouble in future. 

We hope you use this information to plan a proper maintenance schedule for your forklift. 

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