3 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Forklift

A forklift is a serious investment, costing anywhere between $15,000 and $100,000. If your company is investing in a forklift, you want to ensure that it is a workhorse for your company for years. To get you started, here are three tips to help extend the life of your forklift and potentially avoid costly repairs.

Go Paperless 

For decades, heavy equipment maintenance consisted essentially of periodically checking off list on a clipboard every few weeks. This system's shortcoming were numerous: frequent operator changes made the process nebulous (whose responsibility is it to maintain the records?), and processing the checklist takes time to manually process (whose responsibility is it to process the maintenance records?). This breakdown in responsibility for maintaining your forklift can lead to serious mechanical issues. 

Switching to a paperless maintenance system drastically improves the efficiency of maintaining and process maintenance records. Whether your company equips each forklift with an tablet device or provides a smartphone to your workers you can use a digital system to update daily maintenance records by:

  • designing a basic digital forklift maintenance log. 
  • teaching each forklift operator how to access, complete, and send the digital maintenance logs. 
  • assigning one member (or team) to process these maintenance logs. 
  • communicating your forklift's maintenance logs to the mechanical specialists who help repair/maintain your company's heavy equipment.  

Making this system work requires clear and consistent communication. Spending a few days educating and instructing all parties involved can pay tremendous dividends.  

Go Synchronize 

Heavy equipment, just like your car, computer, or microwave oven, comes with an owner's manual. In your owner's manual you will find repair tips, operator instructions, and suggested preventative maintenance milestones. You can make the most of instructions by:

  • instructing workers how to use the forklift. Even if you're using experienced forklift operators, every forklift has its quirks. Most heavy equipment companies will provide technical support and training to help make sure that their customers are using their products correctly. 
  • observing for signs of potential mechanical issues. As mentioned previously, having paperless maintenance logs can help your company seamlessly and quickly address any potential forklift maintenance needs. Teach your operators to look for the following signs: 
    • Vibrations—excessive vibrations are a sign that gears, bearing, and other systems are in need of immediate attention. 
    • High Temperatures—high temperatures are another sign that your forklift is not operating normally. If left unchecked excessively high temperatures can permanently damage sensitive internal components.
  • following appropriate milestones: it's common knowledge that your automobile needs its oil changed every three to five thousand miles. Your forklift has similar maintenance milestones. When designating the responsibility of processing and responding to forklift maintenance logs you should also create a reminders for the maintenance milestones suggested by the manufacturer. Not only will adhering to these milestones help keep your forklift running smoothly, but your forklift's warranty may hinge on you heeding the manufacturer's suggested milestones.

Go Clean

Most people think of a forklift as purely utilitarian. Who cares how it looks as long as it runs, right? Although your forklift doesn't need to look spic and span keeping it clean can actually make it safer to operate and run more smoothly. You can keep it cleaning by performing regular power washes. 

Power washing your forklifts foot holds, grips, and other surfaces can prevent slippery and potentially dangerous grease deposits from forming on your forklift. When you power wash your forklift spend time dislodging accumulated grease deposits that may have formed near the machine's joints and other recessed locations. To increase the efficacy of your power washing you should consider dousing the vehicle with a degreasing agent and using scalding hot water.

These are just a few ways to save money on your forklift costs. For more information, go to sites that sell or repair forklifts.