Guest Post by: Tom Reddon
Just like your car at home, your forklift needs everyday maintenance to keep it running in tip-top shape. If not, it can break down and fail just when you need it most. If you stay on top of the maintenance tasks on a daily or weekly basis, you reduce your chances of that failure happening. It’s not as difficult or time consuming as you think. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strict training requirements in place for forklift operators who perform regular maintenance on power industrial trucks like forklifts, such as changing the batteries, handling propane tanks, fuel diesel or gas engines, or performing repairs. Check out these four maintenance tips to help improve your forklift’s efficiency:
1.Lubricate All Moving Parts
Just like a car’s engine and other parts can freeze up if not well lubricated, your forklift’s hydraulics and engine both need the same TLC. This involves making sure all moving joints are greased to prevent friction, and removing and replacing ball bearings that are worn out. In going along with this, check the fluid levels on a regular basis, such as coolant, fluid and motor oil for systems like hydraulics and transmission so that they work smoothly and efficiently. Freezing of the engine or other moving parts represents a serious, not to mention costly, problem that takes time and money to fix. Using your forklift every day? That’s how often you should perform these checks. It will give you peace of mind in the end.
2. Preparation Before Operation
Whether your forklift is powered by battery, liquid propane, gas or diesel, always make sure your source of fuel is topped off. For battery-powered machines, this means checking that the battery is charged at all times. Waiting until the battery dies or the gas gauge reads empty results in loss of productivity, increased wait times as you fill up or re-charge, and overall more headache for the operator. Avoid these delays by doing simple checks of the fuel source every day before usage.
3. Kick the Tires
Evaluate the pressure in the tires regularly. The right air pressure is key for optimal performance, so use a tire pressure gauge to check the level in air-filled tires, and inspect for slits or slashes if you have solid rubber tires. Replace or patch any tires that experience repeated leaks or that have obvious gashes in them. You may experience unbalanced operation with sub-par tires, which could pose a safety risk.
4. Check the Instrument Panel
You’ll always know when something is not functioning properly by looking at the gauge indicators, which may flash or beep when something is wrong. Keep an eye on that panel every day and address any issues that may come up right away. Fix whatever is malfunctioning to keep your forklift from experiencing further damage. Regular maintenance and repairs on your forklift can extend its life and lead to smoother operations in the future.
By following these simple steps daily, you can ensure the quality and efficiency of all your forklift operations.