Don’t Make These 6 Common Forklift Maintenance Mistakes
Forklift maintenance is all about investing your money wisely. Forklifts are expensive, especially when something goes wrong. And forklift repair, depending on the severity of your problem, can set you back thousands if you don’t identify issues quickly.
In this article, we discuss the six most common forklift maintenance mistakes and how to avoid them.
Why do Forklifts Need Maintenance?
Your forklift should be checked annually to ensure there are no brewing issues. With the right frequency of checks, you can ensure your forklift is still compliant with safety standards and operating optimally and efficiently.
Forklifts are equipment, and all equipment should be checked regularly to stop faults that could result in costly forklift repair in the future.
Which Parts of a Forklift Need Maintenance?
Every part of your forklift should be checked regularly for damage and unusual behaviour. There are several things you can do day-to-day to ensure your forklift is still working properly. But you should have a professional inspect the heavier machinery once a year or when you suspect something might be wrong.
It is safe for you and your staff to inspect and maintain some parts of your forklift. Many of the tasks you can do day-to-day to keep your forklift healthy are similar to car maintenance, including checking parking breaks and checking fluid levels.
Some of the other day-to-day checks you can do yourself include:
- Lubricating moving components
- Switching out engine filters
- Ensuring the hydraulics system is secure
- Checking spark plugs, mufflers, ignition switches, filters and belts
- Testing alarms and lights
How do I Know When my Forklift is Due for Maintenance?
If you have no record of when a forklift maintenance service was last performed on your machine, you should stop using it immediately and call a professional. If you can’t be sure when your forklift was last inspected, it is not safe to use it.
Aside from this, your forklift will indicate when something is wrong. These warning signs include:
- High emissions
- Strong odours or vapours
- Rocky or slow movement
- Cracked and brittle hoses
- Unusual sounds
- Rapidly rising engine temperatures
- Inconsistent braking
Each of these symptoms can be indicative of a different problem. So we recommend booking your forklift into a reputable forklift repair facility to investigate.
What are the Forklift Maintenance Mistakes, and how can I Avoid Them?
Those who are negligent of the needs of their forklifts often encounter the most issues. Wear and tear over years of constant use is natural and expected. But negligence can significantly shorten the lifespan of your machines and make forklift maintenance less effective.
Avoiding the following mistakes is vital to ensure you curb costly forklift repair, and that your forklift lasts as long as it’s meant to.
1) Ignoring warning signs
Turning a blind eye to increasingly problematic operations is the biggest mistake forklift owners make. If your forklift is presenting any of the concerning symptoms we detailed above, waiting and hoping they’ll go away will only worsen your problem.
Forklift maintenance is essential to ensure these problems don’t arise, to begin with. But we do understand how busy the workplace can be and how seemingly insignificant issues get forgotten about during busy periods.
However, warning signs shouldn’t be ignored once identified. As long as you send your machine for a forklift maintenance service as soon as you notice a problem, you are not intentionally putting your employees and the lifespan of your forklift at risk.
So, as soon as you realise your forklift is behaving unusually, have it checked by a professional.
2) Taking the cheaper route
As we mentioned previously, forklifts are expensive. But trust us when we say that paying for annual forklift maintenance will make far less of an impact on your wallet than extensive forklift repair.
It is unwise, albeit cheaper, to ignore red flags. But once you realise there is an issue, it is short-sighted to opt for a cheap forklift maintenance service.
Reliable forklift maintenance engineers charge what they’re worth and ensure to do the most thorough inspections possible on your forklift before releasing it to you.
However, cheap forklift engineers are more likely to cut corners and pay less attention to detail, which can be dangerous.
So, it is essential you avoid the cheap route and invest in proper forklift maintenance to ensure your forklift meets regulatory requirements and won’t break again within a month.
3) Inspecting your forklift yourself
Unless you are a trained forklift engineer, it is ill-advised to try and identify the source of your problem yourself. This is not recommended for two reasons.
The first of which is that in trying to remedy the issue, you could unintentionally make it worse. The second is that assuming the reason for the fault could have you spending an unnecessary amount of money.
You may believe that a particular component could be causing issues. But it may be another part entirely. However, by the time you have discovered the truly faulty part, you may have wasted money replacing a perfectly decent part.
The best advice we can give on forklift maintenance is to have a reputable professional look at your forklift. Simple oil changes can be done by anyone who is trained to do so. But diagnostics and part replacements should be done under the advice of an expert.
4) Neglecting older forklifts
If you have seven forklifts in your fleet, there is no sense in focusing your forklift maintenance on your newer models alone. Older models are more susceptible to faults. So it’s important you have an annual forklift maintenance service for each of the forklifts in your fleet, not just the newer models.
As older forklifts are more vulnerable when regular servicing isn’t conducted, they are more likely to break down.
Depending on the length of time your forklift has gone without maintenance, some of its components may be broken beyond repair. And it can be difficult to find replacement parts for older models.
So to save yourself money long-term, ensure to regularly maintain your older forklifts as well as your new ones.
5) Half-hearted solutions
Performing shoddy forklift repair is almost as useless as doing no maintenance at all. Let’s say your hoses are cracked. Applying a thick coating of tape is not a sufficient long-term solution to keep them working. In that case, only a total replacement will do the job.
If, during your forklift maintenance, you realise that replacement seems more cost-efficient and less time-consuming than trying to fix the problem, replace the part. It is a waste of time and resources to try and fix a part that is simply too far gone.
6) Not letting go
Sometimes, no matter how much forklift maintenance or repair you put your forklift through, it cannot be returned to its former condition.
Knowing when your forklift is too far gone is something many businesses avoid confronting altogether due to the costs involved with purchasing a new forklift.
However, if you know it’s time to let go of your forklift, look no further. Because Trucks Direct UK has a large fleet of new and used forklifts for affordable prices. Whether you’d like to make an upfront payment or sign onto a finance plan, we can help.
See our selection of forklifts on our website, and visit our buying guides to discover the most popular forklifts of 2023.
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