The forklift is an important piece of machinery in a business. It ensures that products are moving efficiently as they should. In order for a forklift to perform at peak and for the people operating it to be safe around it, it is necessary to carry out regular maintenance on it. Usually, when one buys a forklift, they sign a preventative maintenance (PM) contract with the seller. This seller gives you the right to have your forklift undergo maintenance every 90 days courtesy of the seller.
There are disadvantages to too much or too little maintenance. In the former instance, you stand to incur unnecessary costs while in the latter, you might be using a faulty machine thus endangering people in your workplace. Forklift maintenance companies recommend that your vehicle undergoes checks based on its usage and time intervals. But how are these measured?
Time intervals are measured in months and days while usage intervals are determined using pedal or key hours. And now you’re confused again because you’re wondering what the difference between pedal and key hours is. Well, pedal hours refers to the number of hours that the ‘dead-man’ pedal is depressed. Key hours are determined by checking the number of hours during which the forklift’s key switch is ‘on’.
There are certain things you should keep in mind when undertaking forklift repairs. These include:
Always ensure that you have shut down the engine, lowered the moving parts and released the hydraulic pressure before you commence any repair job on a lift truck. This is extremelyimportant and will help you avoid accidents during the repair.
Grease fittings should be cleaned before lubrication, and should be lubricated moderately. Excessive greasing is detrimental to the fittings.
Ensure that the hydraulic oil is clean at all times as hydraulic components wear out when contaminated oil is used on them. If you must store your forklift for an extended period of time, clean and lubricate it first.
Never crank the starter motor for longer than 30 seconds. Doing this will cause damage.
Ensure that you regularly check the tire pressure every day. In case you replace your forklift’s tires, make sure that these are of the same style and size as what the forklift originally came with.
Sometimes you might feel the urge to carry a lot of material or products with your forklift at the same time because you are constrained for time. Keep in mind however that overloading your forklift will mess the hydraulics and eventually it will be impossible to navigate your lift truck over rough terrain.
If you are wondering if it is time to dispose of your forklift, the following are important pointers as to when this should be done:
- When you notice that the machine is missing some bolts
- If the welds on the machine are broken
- When rubber has come off the tires
- When the overhead guard is damaged
- If one of the gauges is not functioning properly
In conclusion, on top of maintaining your forklift on a regular basis, it is necessary to pay attention to the machine you’re using so that you can catch any faults that develop in the interim periods of maintenance.