A Guide to Forklift Preventative Maintenance

Category: Equipment and Solutions

In everything from warehouses and fulfillment centers to retail environments, forklifts are key assets that play a role in your ability to move parts and products. Doing so efficiently and accurately requires well-maintained equipment.

Why Is Preventative Forklift Maintenance Important?

Regular forklift maintenance is important for several reasons:

  • It maximizes uptime and productivity: The sudden failure of a key asset can easily grind productivity to halt in a busy warehouse environment. Preventative maintenance helps you spot problems and take corrective action before they lead to downtime.
  • It allows you to schedule more effectively: Similarly, preventative maintenance helps you anticipate how much life is left in a forklift’s wearable components. In doing so, you can plan repairs at a convenient time and minimize disruption to your operation.
  • It keeps your operating costs low: A small investment in regular preventative maintenance avoids the expense of sudden emergency repairs and can stop minor issues from becoming expensive problems. Additionally, well-maintained equipment will be more efficient and less expensive to run on a month-to-month basis.
  • It helps you get the most out of your investment: Finally, preventative maintenance is the best way to extend the life of a forklift. That means more value for your purchasing dollar and longer intervals between costly upgrades to your fleet.

At its core, preventative forklift maintenance is a strategic investment of money and time that helps keep your operation running efficiently and predictably.

What’s Involved in Preventative Maintenance?

The preventative maintenance needs of your fleet will depend on the make and model of forklifts you have, the amount of use they undergo and the conditions you operate in. While each facility is different, a typical forklift maintenance checklist will look at the following components:

  • Exterior: The first aspect of a routine forklift inspection involves checking its exterior components — such as its lights, tires, fork and tank — for proper operation and signs of physical damage.
  • Interior: An interior inspection will look at mirrors, gauges, the horn and other controls to ensure they are working. Technicians will also perform a brief test drive to try out the brakes, clutch and steering systems.
  • Engine and drivetrain: The next step in forklift maintenance involves looking under the hood to check fluid levels and inspect for signs of leaks and other issues.
  • Safety: Finally, a forklift inspection should confirm that all safety components are functioning and that a working fire extinguisher and first aid kit are easily accessible.

However, a thorough inspection is only one part of forklift maintenance. Other regular service responsibilities may include:

  • Lubricating the grease zerks every 500 hours
  • Changing the engine oil, air and fuel filters every 500 hours
  • Changing the hydraulic fluid every 500 hours

What’s the Best Way to Put Together a Preventative Maintenance Schedule?

The above is a basic forklift maintenance schedule template for a gas-powered model that sees regular use in a warehouse environment. Different models and applications may require more- or less-frequent service. The first thing to do when putting together a maintenance checklist is to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines. Then, speak with a qualified technician to determine if more frequent or additional checks are necessary.

NMC’s expert technicians can help you determine the best way to keep your costs down while ensuring all your preventative lift truck maintenance needs are met. Whether you initially purchased your forklift from us or not, contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our service professionals.

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