Show Your Forklift Some Love with Regular Maintenance.
Whether you’re purchasing or renting your first forklift or adding to your current fleet, understanding the basics of forklift maintenance is critical to making sure you’re getting longevity from your lift truck. Just like any other vehicle, forklifts require regular maintenance and repairs to perform well. Following a consistent maintenance schedule is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of your lift truck. And always be attentive to OSHA's rules for maintenance of industrial trucks, found under the compliance section 1910.178(q).
Here are five general tips for forklift maintenance that will help keep your vehicles in good working condition:
Forklift Maintenance Tip 1
Just as you change the oil in your car, you must also regularly change the oil in your forklift. To increase fuel economy, you should be changing the oil in your forklift approximately every 250 hours of operation. Doing so will also help to prevent problems with your engine and decrease performance issues.
Forklift Maintenance Tip 2
Similar to changing your oil, changing the brakes on your forklift is extremely important. Maintaining quality brakes will ensure that your employees are safe and that your forklift will respond as necessary in any environment.
Forklift Maintenance Tip 3
Accidents can occur if your forklift has old tires or tires that aren’t inflated properly. You should check your tire pressure regularly by using a tire pressure gauge. Doing so will guarantee that your tires aren’t over-inflated (which can cause a blowout), or under-inflated (which can easily lead to an accident).
Forklift Maintenance Tip 4
Check your antifreeze regularly to prevent your forklift from overheating, especially when you need it the most. Be sure to top off as needed, and check for leaks that may cause your levels to drop unexpectedly.
Forklift Maintenance Tip 5
If you have an electric forklift, be sure to check the battery often. If it’s old or corroded and not putting out proper voltage, your forklift will not run at its correct capacity—or not at all. So it’s essential to clean the corrosion or replace the battery entirely. Be sure to continuously check the water levels in each cell of the battery.
These tips touch on the importance of a good maintenance routine to keep your forklift running at top capacity. If you have a lift truck in your facility that gets regular use, it's a good idea to have a fully-trained technician look at your lift every 250 hours and follow industry best pratices.  Keep a copy of the items inspected and be prepared to show it to OSHA should they ask.
There are many things to consider when purchasing, leasing, or renting a forklift. In addition to the initial cost of a lift truck, it's important to look at the forklift dealer’s ability to service you. At Action Lift, we offer wide-ranging maintenance plans—planned maintenance (PM), full maintenance (FM), complete maintenance (CM), time & material (TM) plans—all tailored to our customers’ needs. To keep your downtime to a minimum, turn to Action Lift for your forklift parts and service!
 Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift). OSHA eTool. Provides information on OSHA's Powered Industrial Truck requirements [29 CFR 1910.178] and industry best practices.