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Forklift Maintenance: Fix the Little Problems, Avoid the Big Problems

Owners of warehouses, large stores, and factories know how important a forklift is to the everyday operations of their business. Used to move wooden pallets of goods, a forklift is an absolutely essential piece of equipment. If it breaks down, an important step in the production line is halted, costing the company time and, perhaps more importantly, money.

The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure holds just as true for heavy machinery as it does for health. Just as it’s necessary to perform regular maintenance on your car, it’s necessary to perform the same types of maintenance on a forklift as well. Here are a few simple but essential things to do in order to keep a forklift in good working order.

Oil and Lube

A forklift has lots of moving parts, all of which need grease to reduce friction, keep the machine working properly, and prevent damage. Checking the lubrication on a regular basis and adding more when it’s needed is a small but crucial step in keeping a forklift running properly. Fluids need to be checked and filled as well. These include transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, and oil. How often should they be checked? If the forklift sees heavy use on a daily basis, it’s a good idea to check levels at the beginning or end of every work day, fill them when they're low and replace them after the recommended usage.

Gauges and Parts

As with a car’s dashboard indicators, it’s essential to pay attention to what a forklift’s instrument panel is communicating. Got a warning light or other indication that something isn’t working properly? Don’t let it go, look into the problem and take care of it. Or, if a part is worn down or not working properly, fix or replace it. Problems may seem minor at first, but fixing them before they become major problems can save more lengthy and costly repairs that take a forklift out of commission later on. Furthermore, one worn or broken part can affect other parts in the forklift, and a small issue can snowball quickly if it’s not addressed.

Check the Tires

The tires on a forklift need to be checked regularly for proper air pressure and wear. Again, if a forklift is used on a daily basis, the tires should be checked every day. Improper air pressure or uneven tire wear can cause lead to an increase in fuel usage, and therefore fuel cost). Perhaps more importantly, though, these things can lead to an imbalance in a forklift, which is a potentially dangerous situation.

Worn forklift tires must be replaced. The best way to change forklift tires is by using a hydraulic forklift tire press. This is a machine that removes and replaces tires on a wheel faster and easier than someone doing it by hand. A hydraulic forklift tire press uses 100 tons of pressure or more to get the job done safely and efficiently.