Managing a fleet of forklift trucks requires regular maintenance. Keeping every machine operating to maximum efficiency is key to ensuring productivity and a good return on investment. The best way to keep your forklift fleet in optimal condition is by maintaining a strict and thorough regime of maintenance and repair.
Basic approaches often play a vital role in the day-to-day performance of forklift operations. Conducting all of the following checks, as well as reviews of peripheral accessories and tools, are a proven way to get the best out of your lift truck today and tomorrow.
Daily Forklift Checks
Check the engine oil to assure it is an appropriate level. This will maximize fuel economy and protect the engine block from wear and tear. To safeguard the forklift truck’s catalytic converter and prevent stalling, make sure the fuel levels are sufficient too. Cultivating an attitude of efficient fluid management will produce economical and eco-friendly results whilst enhancing safety.
Before starting work, take the time to inspect each tire to make sure they are pumped up and the tread is still sound. Flats and tyre blowouts result in costly down time and result in a bottlenecks in aisles.
Finally, be sure to check the safety features of the vehicle, including all sensors, alarms, indicators, brakes, and lights. Conducting these checks will limit the risk of a workplace accident or incident whether it be a collision, pedestrian being struck, or collateral damage as a result.
Weekly Forklift Checks
Weekly checks are much more in-depth. They are vital to the successful running of your forklift fleet, but since they can be exhaustive, you should only undertake them weekly to preserve cost effective use of time.
First, monitor and adjust hydraulically and transmission oil levels. This assures that the forklift is operating safely and safeguards the vehicle from transmission failure. Transmission failure can be extremely costly and even result in being forced to replace the forklift altogether. While checking the hydraulics, be mindful of oil lines and check for leaks and repair them as needed. Check battery terminals, power steering fluid level, and lift chain adjustment to conclude a thorough inspection.
Test your steering before starting the operations of the day by taking the forklift for a quick spin. The maneuverability of your forklift relies heavily on the responsiveness of your steering system. Check the steering by performing a few basic maneuvers. Pay particular attention to the way the steering wheel responds to your commands. If it revealed that more force is needed than usual, this could indicate a number of issues; including low tire pressure, bad wheel alignment or even friction in the gearbox, including problems with the power steering.
Just like any other vehicle, it is important to regularly test your brakes to see if they are working at optimum performance. First, check the foot brake by applying pressure to it. A working foot brake should not need too much pressure applied to it for it to respond.
Then, check your parking brake to ensure the vehicle will not move when you need to stop, especially on an incline. While checking the brakes, make sure the brake lights are in proper working order, replacing bulbs if needed.
A Guide to Forklift Checks
Faults Previous Day. Check the previous page (or book). This will identify what may have been wrong the previous day or shift. You should check these items carefully to ensure that the fault has been rectified.
Obvious Leaks. Check the floor, beside and under the truck.
Hydraulic Fluid Level. Check the level in the reservoir.
Mast and Carriage. Visually check for any damage or foreign items. Check also for appropriate lubrication.
Chains and Fixing Bolts. Visually check for damaged links, obvious stretching, and appropriate lubrication. Visually check the fixing bolts for any sign of damage.
Forks. Visually check for any sign of cracks, especially at the heels, or any other sign of damage or excess wear. Check securing pins.
Backrest/Extension. Visually check for damage or debris. Bent or otherwise damaged metal is weakened and may be dangerous.
Attachments. Check for the actual security of the attachment, at its fixing or locking points, and check any hydraulic or other connections. Some attachments may need additional checks. Only check and use attachments if you have been trained to do so.
Tires/Wheels/Nuts. Check all tires for obvious damage, including cuts and tread wear. Check pneumatic tires for the correct pressure. Check wheels for damage, especially to the rims, and check that wheel nuts are tight.
Seat and Seat Belt. Check that the seat is correctly fixed to the truck and not loose or damaged. Check that the seat belt or other restraint is properly secure and functions correctly.
Steering. Check the steering feels normal and there is no undue play or unusual movement.
Service Brakes. Check the brakes feel normal and work efficiently.
Parking Brake. Check the parking brake works efficiently and releases correctly.
Operating Controls. Check that all foot and hand controls operate correctly and are not obstructed in any way.
Operating System. If the truck is fitted with computerized systems check to ensure that they have initialized and are working correctly.
Warning Lights. Check for the correct operation of all warning lights. If the light stays on, and you are not sure of its meaning, check the user manual or seek further advice. Do not use the truck with a warning light illuminated if you do not know it is still safe!
Gauges/Instruments. Check that all gauges and other instruments are working correctly.
Lights/Beacon. Check for correct operation.
Horn. Check for correct operation.
Alarms. Check for correct operation.
Other Warning Devices. Make sure you know what is fitted to the truck. Check all for correct operation.
Safety Guards and Covers. Check all are properly fastened and secured. A flapping cover can be a hazard to your colleagues as well as yourself.
Bodywork. Visually check around the vehicle. Damaged bodywork may indicate other problem areas on the truck. Check the areas carefully. Damaged bodywork may indicate damage to racking or other equipment. Report what you find so that your supervisor can check it out.
Fuel Level. Check the level and refuel as needed. Remember to wear protective gloves and keep away from cigarettes or other fire hazards.
Engine Oil Level. Check and top up as needed.
Coolant Level. Check and top up as needed.
Battery. Ensure the battery is secure and clean. Check the level of distilled water and top up as needed. Wear eye protection and gloves.
Fan/Other Belts. Check for correct tension and obvious damage.
Inching Pedal. Check for correct operation.
LPG Bottle Security. Check the bottle is secure and clamps are fully tightened. Ensure connections are secure.
Electrolyte Levels. Check the electrolyte levels of all cells.
Cable Connections. Check they are clean and properly secure.
General Cleanliness. Ensure the battery area is clean and clear from debris.
Battery Security. Ensure the batteries are secure within their compartment and that any protective hatches are properly closed.
Other items may need to be checked. These may be listed on a separate sheet. Discuss this with your supervisor.
Remember, if you are not sure about anything at all, ask your supervisor.
These are just very general lists of things that need to be done. The most important aspect of using these vehicles is doing so with a safety-conscious attitude. If you’re looking for a fully maintained and inspected forklift truck to boost your fleet, check out our extensive stock today.