Each component of a forklift truck wears down from regular use and requires replacement on an ongoing basis. Addressing these problems once they cause significant damage or hinder workflow can be costly and disrupt business operations.
Conducting routine maintenance can also help preserve warranties. This can be especially beneficial when upgrading equipment or selling old forklifts in the future.
Forks are subjected to tremendous wear and tear in a warehouse setting. Regular maintenance can help your team meet deadlines and stay on schedule by preventing unexpected breakdowns.
Inspecting a forklift daily before use is not only an OSHA requirement but also increases productivity by identifying issues before they interfere with operation. This prevents costly repairs, production shut-downs, and a higher resale value for your used equipment.
Check for cracks in the blade, shank, heel, and weld areas. Check for even blade height – each tip should rest at the same level. If they aren’t, the forks need to be replaced with new Caterpillar forklift parts. Use a fork-thickness caliper to ensure the metal isn’t too thin, as this reduces the fork’s lifting capacity. Also, inspect for tears on the surface of the tire. If they look worn to tearing, replace them immediately to avoid damage and injury. Also, inspect the tires for oil or grease stains that may affect the control of the truck.
Many forklift owners use pneumatic tires because of their traction and toughness across different driving surfaces. But these forklift tires can easily get damaged by scraping against objects as they traverse a facility floor if improperly maintained.
A forklift maintenance plan will pre-determine the expected lifespan of your lift truck’s tires, and you should replace them as soon as you see signs that they are nearing the end of their life. These include cracking, chunking, or tearing.
Forklifts should be inspected daily before each shift to ensure all safety features function correctly. A daily inspection will also allow you to catch any mechanical issues before they get out of hand and save money over waiting for a significant problem. This allows you to keep your equipment on schedule and preserve its warranty.
Many forklift accidents are related to the hydraulic system, involving brakes and attachments. This is why trained forklift professionals must conduct daily inspections and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. This will catch minor issues and fix them before they become big problems. This will save your business money by reducing customer injuries, inventory loss, and damage to storage facilities.
In addition to conducting daily forklift inspections, your staff should perform weekly checks and clean the forklift. This is an OSHA requirement and will help your forklift last longer. Cleaning the forklift will also prevent dirt and debris from getting into the hydraulic system, causing damage.
Other essential maintenance tasks include ensuring correct fluid levels, checking the tube rods for pitting and cracking, and adjusting the hydraulic pressure. Having your team take the time to do these tasks will keep your forklifts running smoothly, increasing productivity and making them more comfortable to operate.
As equipment that operates on electricity, forklifts should regularly be checked for potential electrical issues. A forklift with a damaged or missing wire can easily cause accidents, and a malfunctioning ignition system may result in a fire or explosion.
Performing regular forklift maintenance prevents these types of incidents from occurring and extends the life of the equipment. Keeping up with the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule will also help preserve your warranty, which is essential when replacing a forklift.
Maintaining your forklifts is essential to get the most return on your investment. Not only does this ensure your employees can remain productive on the job, but it also helps to reduce the chance of accidents that could lead to costly downtime and repairs. Having a regular forklift maintenance program can also increase your equipment’s resale value when it’s time to upgrade.