How to know if your Forklift Equipment Needs Servicing?

As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to get your forklift serviced every three to six months. This does, of course, depend on how many hours of usage it gets in a month. Obviously, the higher the number of hours, the sooner it may need to be serviced.

A forklift does not need to be necessarily showing signs of disrepair for it to be taken into a service. Sometimes the forklift may look, and operate, fine. That being said, you may notice the exhaust either looks or smells unusual, and you may also start to notice that the forklift doesn’t sound right.

In any case, by having regular maintenance checks, any potential problems can be resolved before they become expensively problematic. The advantage of which is it can help to prevent any damage being done to other parts of the machine. Another advantage is that preventive or preemptive maintenance can save money by reducing downtime and repair costs.

7 signs your forklift needs to be serviced

Aside from the regular three to six monthly maintenance checks, what signs should you be paying attention to? Well, there are a lot of things that can indicate your forklift needs to be serviced. Here are seven which are fairly good indicators that it is time to get your forklift serviced.

  • Oil leak

If your lift truck is leaking it will leave a trail of oil along the floor. This is hazardous for people who could slip and fall because of this leak. It can also be hazardous for other forklifts.

If oil is leaking it means there is less oil lubricating the mast as it extends. This can cause increased temperature and friction which will result in other parts of the forklift becoming damaged.

While some drivers attempt to manage this problem by adding more oil rather than repairing the oil leak, this is not a good idea. Especially as the oil leak could be a warning signal of potential hydraulic system failures. And also, because it doesn’t stop the oi pooling on the floor which is an occupational health and safety issues.

Don’t take any risks, if you notice an oil leak, get your forklift repaired. Not only is this the safest option, it can also help improve the economic lifespan of your machinery.

  • The forks are worn

Forks can get bent or worn as they are unloading, transporting, or picking up pallets. Obviously, a damaged fork will not work as well, and there is a heightened risk the load could be dropped or damaged during transportation.

If you notice dents in the fork, surface cracks, or misalignment—take the forklift for a service. However, if you have a fork wear caliper you will want to measure the heel and the blade for wear. If the caliper measure 10% wear, then your forklift capacity has been reduced by about 20%. This is a sign that the forklift needs to be replaced.

  • Chain is damaged

The chain on forklifts, when properly lubricated, can withstand around 6,000 hours of work. If you notice kinking, rust, or corrosion, these are signs that the chain should be replaced. Failure to replace the change often results in the chain failing, which causes damage to the forklift as well as the load it might be carrying.

Other things to look out for include: wear on pinheads and link plates as well as the elongation of the chain. Any or all of these signs could mean that the forklift chain is damaged, which means the forklift needs servicing.

  •  Strange exhaust fumes

This only applies to forklifts that are diesel or gas powered. It’s particularly important that you pay attention to any exhaust fumes that seem unusual as this can be a sign of engine problems. 

  • Rough or rugged application

Planned maintenance is designed for an average amount of hours for a standard application. So, if you’re using your forklift for an above average amount of hours in non-standard terrain, then you may need to rethink your maintenance schedule.

  • Spongy breaks

Just like an automobile, the breaks on your forklifts are vital to the safety of operating it. IF the driver notices that the breaks are becoming weak or soft, then it is definitely time to have the fluid, breaks, and the rest of the forklift serviced.

  • Forklift sounds changes

Knowing how the forklift sounds normally, should mean that you know what it sounds like when something is off. So, if you do hear change in the normal sound, then it’s a good idea to have a service inspection or maintenance check.

Type of forklift maintenance

There are five types of forklift maintenance: preventive, predictive, proactive, lubrication and reactive. Each the first four have their advantages, mostly in how they are able to treat an issue before it becomes expensive, or the damage becomes irreparable.

The other advantage is that preventive, predictive and proactive maintenance is often cheaper and requires less downtime.

Frequency of inspections

How often should you get your forklift serviced? To determine the frequency of inspections it is necessary to do an engineering analysis. To do so, consider the following points:

  • Severity of service
  • Safety requirements
  • Age, conditions and value
  • Hours of operation
  • Past maintenance work order
  • Susceptibility to damage, wear and getting out of adjustment

Another useful thing that helps determine the frequency of inspection and maintenance is to interview operating supervisors and maintenance personnel.

Servicing Forklift Equipment

Southern Lift Trucks offers upkeep, gear fix and repairs for all kinds of forklifts, including: flying lifts, work force lifts, scissor lifts and much more. We are also about to help with forklift engine repair on a wide range of gas, diesel, electric and LPG engines.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you with your forklift repair needs, please call us, or alternatively,  you Can fill out a forklift service request form.

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FAQs about Forklift Servicing

How do I know my forklift needs servicing?

The easiest thing to do is talk with the driver. If the chains are worn, of oil is leaking, fumes look or smell wrong, or the breaks are not working well, then it’s time to get your forklift serviced.

What’s the best type of servicing to get?

The best type of service for your forklift is either preventive or preemptive. These are cheaper, involve less downtime, and can increase the economic lifespan of your forklift.

How often should I get the forklift serviced?

This depends on how often it’s used. There are two ways: time and hours used. You should get it serviced monthly, quarterly, six-monthly and annually. Or, after 200, 400, 600, 12,000 hours of use.