When your facility gets busy, it’s easy to overlook the importance of regular forklift maintenance or forgo maintenance checks altogether.
However, you should know that a thorough maintenance plan doesn’t just include professional inspections and repairs. Your team can play a vital role in keeping your forklifts operating at peak efficiency. With a few proactive guidelines, you can save time and money in the long run.
Keep reading for information on:
- The importance of scheduled forklift maintenance
- How often your forklifts should be inspected
- A forklift maintenance checklist all warehouse operators can take benefit from
Why Is Forklift Maintenance Important?
All industrial equipment needs maintenance every once in a while, but the consequences of not having an up-to-date forklift are more impactful than you may think. The average lifespan of a forklift is 10,000 hours, but most forklifts can last to around 20,000 hours with regular maintenance and careful handling.
In addition to a premature end to its lifespan, a neglected forklift is prone to symptoms like:
- An increased risk for drops and other accidents, leading to injuries and fatalities
- Frequent breakdowns, which slows operations due to frequent repairs
- A lower resale value – no buyer wants to see that you neglected your machine
- Fines for not operating a safe work environment and violating OSHA requirements
Thankfully, you can avoid the trouble with a simple maintenance checklist.
Do you experience symptoms of a neglected forklift often? Learn how we can help maintain your equipment.
Creating Your Forklift Maintenance Checklist
Formulate your planned maintenance checklist in three simple steps.
1. Implement a routine for your workers.
Encourage your team to look at critical forklift components twice a day—first, before they’re about to fire up a lift at the start of their shift, and second, before leaving at the end of the day. You can even implement a proactive “before and after” rule to ensure accountability across the board.
This quick inspection will ensure your forklift is operating as intended. If it isn’t, your workers should notify a supervisor to resolve the issue quickly. By inspecting equipment after use, they can ensure it’s ready for the next person who will need to use it. If it isn’t, the issue can be promptly resolved before it impacts workflows at your facility.
2. Inspect your equipment.
As your operators do their regular inspections, set clear guidelines for what they should look for. An electric forklift maintenance checklist should cover all the following components, including:
- All hoses
- Tire pressure
- Tire condition
- Fluid levels
- Fork condition
- Overhead guards
- Brake performance
- Seats and seat belts
- Noticeable damage
After checking each area, your team should feel confident operating a forklift.
3. Schedule commercial maintenance.
On top of your daily forklift inspections, you should prioritize scheduling forklift maintenance with a commercial service. As your facility gets busy, it’s normal for the most well-intentioned workers to make mistakes and overlook critical elements that could damage your equipment in the long run.
Setting up a forklift maintenance schedule with experts is the best way to extend the life of your equipment. These trained professionals are experienced with multiple forklift makes and models and have the insight to handle unique issues.
Be strategic. During busy times, scheduled maintenance tasks can sneak up on you, and it’s easy to skip them to maximize productivity. However, when you can anticipate service intervals, you can make the necessary preparations to ensure service and repairs don’t cut into your bottom line.
How Often Should Forklifts Be Professionally Serviced?
While all forklifts regularly need inspections, like any material handling equipment, there should be more in-depth maintenance ever so often. Daily checklists function well with checking obvious issues. Still, there are a few other factors like calculated age, mechanical condition, previous damage, and existing service record that can only be revealed with a closer look.
OSHA has provided forklift maintenance requirements for the following time intervals:
Considering that forklift lifespans are measured in hours, a good rule of thumb for monthly maintenance is every 200-250 hours of service. More strenuous inspections should be made, like:
- Monitoring your electric forklift’s battery health
- Adjusting the engine timing
- Changing the engine oil and filter
- Adding lubrication to the chassis and mast
- Inspecting the drive belt tension
- Observing the tilt, cylinder, and lift operations
As you schedule your monthly maintenance, consider blocking off enough time for your equipment to be checked diligently and thoroughly.
Quarterly, Semi-Annual, and Annual Inspections
Instead of going off monthly operations, you should plan your less frequent maintenance items according to your forklift’s specific needs. This is best determined by your forklift manufacturer’s guidelines or the insight of a forklift service professional.
Additional inspection items that typically come with these checks are:
- Deep cleaning of interior and exterior elements, like the radiator exterior
- An even more thorough examination of deep cracks in the structure
- Fluid replacement, including engine coolant, brake fluid, lubricants, water separators, etc.
- Battery and electrical system checks for electric forklifts
- Torquing the engine head bolts and manifold nuts.
Develop a Customized Forklift Maintenance Plan With Brennan
While we encourage operators to create maintenance plans to hold themselves accountable for their equipment’s health, the ultimate way to guarantee an efficient forklift system is by enlisting the help of professionals. That’s where Brennan Equipment Services comes in. If you’re in Indiana or Ohio and need assistance maintaining your forklift fleet, contact Brennan today.
Our forklift maintenance services cover it all. No matter the size of your fleet, we’re equipped to handle the most complex needs. Our professional mobile technicians will even help you develop a customized plan to keep your equipment at peak performance. We’ll work with you to show how regular maintenance keeps equipment in working order and extends the life of your forklifts.