Forklifts can be extremely reliable machines that can support the core functions of your business if they are looked after correctly. However, many managers find it difficult to keep on top of a regular service schedule as it can often seem like an unnecessary expense.
Ensuring the regular maintenance of your forklift is vital for the smooth operation of your business. In case you lack an in-house technician who is trained in repairing and servicing forklifts, it’s essential to find a reliable company that can provide these services.
However, the crucial question arises: How often should you service your forklift to keep it functioning at its best? This blog post aims to guide you on what to expect and when to seek forklift maintenance services.
What is involved in a forklift service?
This involves a thorough examination of the forklift’s exterior and interior components, including the forks, mast, carriage, and lift chains. The inspection will check for any signs of wear or damage, such as cracks, rust, or dents, and any necessary repairs will be noted for later attention.
Oil & Filter Changes
Similar to a car, oil and filter changes are critical to the proper functioning of a forklift engine. During a service, the engine oil will be drained and replaced with new oil, and the oil filter will be replaced as well. This ensures that the engine is running on clean oil, which reduces wear and tear and extends the engine’s life.
The battery and engine are the heart of the forklift, and they require special attention during a service. The battery will be checked for damage or corrosion, and its connections will be inspected to ensure they are tight and secure. The engine will also be checked for any signs of wear or damage, and any necessary repairs will be noted.
The forklift’s brakes are essential for operator safety, and they must be in good working condition. During a service, the brakes will be inspected for wear, and the brake fluid will be checked for contamination. Any necessary repairs or replacements will be made to ensure that the forklift’s brakes are working correctly.
The forklift’s tires are another crucial component that must be inspected during a service. The tires will be checked for wear and damage, and their pressure will be measured and adjusted as necessary. The forklift’s tires must be in good condition to provide adequate traction and stability.
Operator Safety Check
Finally, a forklift service includes an operator safety check. This involves a review of the forklift’s safety features, such as the seat belt, horn, lights, and mirrors. Any issues with these safety features will be noted, and any necessary repairs or adjustments will be made to ensure that the forklift is operating safely. This can also reduce the risk of forklift hazards arising.
What are the benefits of regularly servicing your forklift?
One of the most significant benefits of regularly servicing your forklift is that it can prevent breakdowns. By identifying and addressing issues during a service, you can avoid costly repairs or unexpected downtime. Preventing breakdowns ensures that your business can continue to operate smoothly, and your workers can remain productive. Take a look at how to avoid common hazards in this article.
Reduce Risk of Accidents
Forklift accidents can cause serious injuries or even fatalities, and they can also damage property and equipment. Regular servicing can help to reduce the risk of accidents by ensuring that the forklift is operating safely. A service can identify and address issues with brakes, steering, and other safety features, reducing the risk of accidents and improving worker safety.
Prolong the life of your Forklift
Regular forklift servicing can also help to prolong the life of your equipment. By addressing issues early, you can prevent them from causing further damage to the forklift’s components. This can extend the life of the forklift, reducing the need for costly replacements and saving your business money in the long run.
Improve Productivity & Efficiency
A well-maintained forklift is also more productive and efficient. By keeping the forklift in good working condition, you can reduce the time needed for repairs or maintenance, allowing your workers to focus on their tasks. A forklift that is running smoothly and efficiently can also move goods more quickly, improving productivity and reducing delays.
Finally, regular forklift servicing provides documentation of your maintenance efforts. This documentation can be useful for compliance with safety regulations, insurance purposes, and as proof of maintenance when reselling or trading in the forklift.
How to determine how often your forklift should be serviced.
The first and most important factor to consider when determining how often your forklift should be serviced is to check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Each forklift model is unique, and the manufacturer’s guidelines will provide you with detailed information on the service intervals and maintenance requirements specific to your forklift.
Frequency Of Use
The frequency of use is another important factor to consider when determining how often your forklift should be serviced. If your forklift is being used on a daily basis, it may require more frequent service than if it’s only used a few times a week.
Frequent usage can result in greater wear and tear on the forklift’s components, leading to a higher risk of breakdowns and maintenance needs.
The working environment can also have a significant impact on how often your forklift needs to be serviced. If your forklift is being used in a dusty or dirty environment, it may require more frequent service to prevent damage to the engine or other parts.
Similarly, if your forklift is being used in extreme temperatures, it may require additional maintenance to ensure it remains operational.
Age of Forklift
The age of the forklift is another important factor to consider when determining service intervals. Older forklifts may require more frequent service than newer ones, especially if they have been used extensively over the years. Older forklifts can experience more wear and tear on their components, leading to a higher risk of breakdowns and maintenance needs.
Keeping track of the maintenance history of your forklift can help you determine how often it should be serviced. By reviewing the service records, you can see how often it has been serviced, whether any issues have arisen, and if replacement parts have been genuine or aftermarket. Regular maintenance can help identify any potential issues before they become major problems.
Finally, monitoring the performance of your forklift can also help you determine when it needs to be serviced. If you notice any unusual noises, vibrations, or other issues while using the forklift, it may be a sign that it needs to be serviced. Addressing these issues promptly can help prevent more significant problems down the line.
Servicing Electric Forklifts – Is it any different?
While electric forklifts require different types of maintenance compared to internal combustion forklifts, they still need to be serviced regularly.
Some of the maintenance tasks that need to be performed on electric forklifts include checking and topping up the battery water levels, cleaning the battery and its terminals, inspecting and testing the battery charger, along with some of the usual checks such as checking the brakes, inspecting the tires, checking the hydraulic system, and performing any necessary repairs or replacements.
The frequency of servicing for an electric forklift may vary slightly from an internal combustion forklift, but shouldn’t be ignored.
When organising to have your forklift serviced, It is best to consult with forklift professionals. You should not attempt to service it yourself, as you can risk both the operational and safety ability of the forklift.
To summarise what has been said, regular servicing of a forklift is paramount to keep it functioning well and for a long time, to provide the most value to your business. Although it may seem like an unnecessary cost, regularly servicing your forklift can save you money in the long-run.
Finding a company you can trust to maintain your forklift fleet can make it easy. They will carry out all routine servicing as well as remind you when they’re due for their next service. Make sure only genuine parts are used as well.
Looking for a reliable forklift servicing company? Look no further than Centra Forklifts. Contact us today to chat about your forklift servicing needs.