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Your complete guide to forklift servicing

Forklifts, like any other piece of machinery, need to be checked regularly. By carrying out scheduled forklift servicing, you maintain safety standards and ensure that it won’t let you down the next time you are trying to move your goods or other heavy equipment. The maintenance checks have to be done regularly depending on the manufacturer’s directives on servicing. A well-maintained forklift will yield better results, thus serving you for a longer time while putting you and your employees’ safety first. In addition to scheduled you should always check factors including; tire condition, seat belts, fluid levels, forks, breaks and hoses before commencing the day’s work. Be sure to also fix any issues that you might notice in time to avoid more significant damage

Who can service my forklift?

Forklift servicing falls under five categories of maintenance; reactive, predictive, proactive, preventative, and lubrication. Before taking your forklift for service, ensure you get the right person for the job. Forklifts have both electrical and mechanical parts meaning you not only need a mechanic but a technician too. Not all businesses have an in-house mechanic or technician. It is therefore of importance that you get a renowned specialist who understands things to do with forklifts and is reliable.

Routine checks you should know about

Forklift manufacturers usually give out a maintenance schedule which you are supposed to adhere to as you make use of the equipment on a day to day use. The different parts of a forklift have different time intervals in which you have to perform maintenance checks and thus, servicing. Depending on operational components of the forklift, the time interval varies with most manufacturers putting it at 200 hrs, 600hrs, and 1200hrs, and others placing at a daily basis, monthly and quarterly, all these varying with the manufacturer and quality of parts.

Daily checks

This consists of the “fragile” parts, in short, those with the likelihood of wearing or need constant replacement. It is advised to check, service or change them occasionally to avoid greater damage. These parts include;

• Engine oil, radiator water, fuel, and hydraulic fluid
• Obvious damage
• Drive train
• Horn
• Breaks
• Steering

At 200 hours or monthly

This type of servicing is done after 200hrs on some more complicated parts that do not wear out quickly, including:

• Lubrication of the chassis
• Replacement of the engine oil
• Clean the air, fuel and oil filters
• Check the entire steering system
• Check the electrical system

At 600 hours or quarterly

After about 600hrs of service, you are advised to service your forklift’s more complex parts i.e.

• Cleaning the radiator exterior
• Replacement of hydraulic filter
• Adjustment of your clutch
• Check your spark plugs
• Inspect the handbrake
• Check the lift and tilt cylinder operation

At 1200 hours or semi-annually

Depending on your manufacturer’s advice, there are some parts which need to be serviced and things to be done at least once every month or after 1200hrs of working with including;

• Hydraulic oil filter
• Torque the engine manifold nuts and the head bolts
• The transmission’s oil and filter
• Drive hubs
• Brake fluid

Why should you service your forklift?

Prevent sudden failure

Forklifts do a lot of work, most of which can’t be done by hand. Because of the heavy loads carried, the forklift might experience a lot of wear and tear on the tires mostly and other mechanical parts. You wouldn’t like to wake up with your day already planned then you find a broken machine. However, with constant routine servicing, you will greatly avoid these early morning disappointments and have your equipment ready to work at any time.

Prevent employee injuries

Who knows what could go wrong with a malfunctioning forklift. Maybe a loose fork or a punctured tire might cause a loss of control which may result, if serious, to a fatal accident involving your employees or even you. With routine servicing, you can avoid such cases offering you or your employees a secure working environment.

Identify forklifts to be cycled out

Exchanging your older forklift with a new one is hard for most people because many fail to realise when a forklift needs to be replaced. Identifying it before time helps save on the cost of trying to maintain a broken down forklift in situations where the only solution is purchasing another one. Identification at an early stage helps you plan earlier for the purchase of a new one.

Reduce maintenance costs

Preventive measures are better taken early during use and would cost lesser than a complete breakdown. Service your forklift daily or weekly, which saves you the cost of repairing a broken-down machine with a long list of issues. In simple terms, fixing a faulty part is cheaper than replacing the whole part.

Tips for forklift servicing and maintenance

Cleaning your forklift

Cleaning your forklift is far more important than just improving its look. Cleaning daily or weekly comes in handy in that it prevents the building up of combustible substances or blockage of radiators which are among the few issues that can cause errors in functioning. It is also easier to identify any faulty visible parts when your forklift is clean. Cleaning here isn’t just about washing the outside. It includes blowing out the radiator, wiping dirty parts and changing the dirty filters.

Deal with issues immediately

Daily checks won’t be valid if the encountered errors are not dealt with promptly. Be sure to service your forklift immediately the faults are identified regularly and thus preventing larger problems that may arise. This has proven to be advantageous.

Signing up for a forklift maintenance plan

This is especially handy if your manufacturer doesn’t offer servicing in your area of operation or doesn’t have a maintenance schedule. You could sign up with the nearest forklift servicing company for a comprehensive maintenance plan. With this plan, you’ll have qualified technicians working on your forklifts every after a given period ensuring your forklifts are in an excellent working condition. You can also combine this with the manufacturers’ schedule to attain the best results.

Daily inspections

Before commencing daily work, conduct a thorough check on your forklifts. This helps in the early identification of errors like erroneous brakes, thus ensuring your safety while it’s in use. The best way to make this work is by drafting a checklist which assists in ensuring everything is checked and working correctly.

Check your tires regularly

Any actively functioning equipment with tires will have them worn out frequently. This is because of the constant motion which might cause deflation, spring leaks or loosening. Tires are critical for the perfect performance of the forklift.

Adhere to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule

Most manufacturers give a schedule to be followed while using their forklift to ensure it’s in good working condition. Depending on your manufacturers’ directives, be sure to take your forklift in for checks which ensure things such as the oil, tires, fluid and filters are checked and changed.

Advantages of regular forklift servicing

Increased productivity and performance

A well-maintained forklift ensures a perfect flow of work. This is simply because you won’t experience unnecessary breakdowns that can lead to a whole day with no work done. Having already planned your servicing in due time, you can easily adjust its work schedule and thus prepare for that day or hours with a forklift. This proves to be better than a sudden breakdown with loads of work to be done. Your forklifts also get more uptime which is as a result of the frequent servicing, which increases work speed and thus, productivity.

Reduced maintenance costs

Prevention has always been better than the cure. The same goes to replacing a part which could have cost less if you identified and repaired earlier. With regular maintenance, you lower the overall cost of maintenance by fixing the smaller issues earlier on.

Longer forklift life

A well-maintained forklift will have you using it for the longest time possible. This is only possible through regular servicing. With a daily, monthly or quarterly plan, you increase your equipment’s life the same way it is for you when visiting a doctor. Forklifts need care too and by that, means maintenance and servicing. Instead of performing serious repairs that might not be successful, early servicing ensures you notice these problems and do the necessary repairs before a permanent loss.

Increased residual values

At times you might want to sell your forklift to get a newer one of the same brand or a different and better brand. The price at which you sell your used equipment should be closer to the one you are going to spend on buying a newer one. That’s where residual value comes in. With a well serviced and fully functioning machine, you are more likely to get a better offer than an already broken down forklift. Regular maintenance makes this possible in that by the time you have opted to sell your forklift, it will be in good condition and thus a higher selling price which is beneficial to you when reselling or doing a trade-in.

Increased facility safety

Equipment failure can bring grave consequences with broken down or failing machines causing severe accidents in your facility. A regularly maintained forklift can save you all this stress of having to deal with casualties and unplanned compensations for injured employees. Servicing your forklift earlier improves the safety of its operator and other people around the facility.

In conclusion

As a warehouse owner, you’ll be more comfortable knowing your forklift or fleet is well maintained and working properly.

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