Has your forklift’s battery died? Do you want to replace a lead-acid battery with a superior lithium battery?
Changing a forklift battery is one way to protect your employees and extend the lifetime value of your essential equipment. Fortunately, making a battery swap is a fairly straightforward process. However, there are some considerations you should keep in mind to ensure that the job is performed safely and properly.
Although the exact steps will differ according to the specific machine and manufacturer, our team has created a general step-by-step guide you can leverage to make sure that the job is done right.
Step 1: Know The Signs of A Bad Battery
The standard rule of thumb is that most forklift batteries will last for approximately 1,500 charging cycles. But the battery type, usage, and maintenance habits can significantly impact how long a battery will be able to power the equipment.
Because battery life may fluctuate, it’s important to perform daily vehicle inspections and routine maintenance, and pay close attention to the signs of a bad battery, which include:
- Decreased performance
- Shortened run times
- Spilled acid
Step 2: Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions
Today, a warehouse fleet may contain an array of different types of forklifts from competing brands. Each one of these machines will differ in several important ways, including the location where the battery is housed, the type of the battery, and the equipment surrounding the battery.
Naturally, the exact step-by-step protocols will vary slightly depending on the specific machine. Therefore, pay close attention to the manufacturer's instructions so that you follow the right procedure. Doing so will not only protect the vehicle but the mechanic servicing the forklift.
Step 3: Gather Your Tools And Materials
There will likely be several items you will want to have on hand as you switch out the battery; however, the exact list will depend on the forklift.
That said, common items that may come in handy include:
- Replacement battery
- A battery hoist or lift
- Battery wrench or socket
- Safety equipment and PPE
- Voltage meter
Remember, it always pays to be cautious and over-prepared, especially when working on heavy-duty machinery.
Step 4: Perform the Replacement
Once you have completed your preparations, you can get to work. To that end, best practices include:
Prepare the forklift – Make sure that the forklift is turned off and the key removed. Also, be sure that the parking brake is locked and the wheels are blocked so that the forklift doesn’t inadvertently shift or roll.
- If possible, consider elevating the forks so that weight is taken off the battery unit.
- Remove the old battery – Use a wrench or socket to loosen the battery’s bolts and brackets. Then, with the assistance of a battery hoist or lift, remove the old battery from its designated slot.
- Install and connect the new battery – After you have removed the old battery, you can install the new one. Carefully lower the new battery into its slot, aligning the battery with the housing compartment. Once slotted, you can reattach the hold-down bolts and brackets to secure the new battery in place. From there, attach the positive cable to the positive terminal and the negative cable to the negative terminal without allowing them to come into contact.
- Test the battery – At this stage, the forklift should be ready to go. You can test the battery by turning the vehicle on and allowing it to idle. After a few minutes have passed, you can test the battery’s voltage to verify that it’s in the optimal range.
- Prepare the old battery for disposal – Finally, depending on your state, there may be strict rules and regulations about the proper handling and disposal of batteries. Seeing as these vessels contain harmful toxins and corrosive materials, it’s important to practice proper handling, disposal, and recycling procedures.
Working With Value Forklifts
Proper replacement and disposal of your forklift battery empowers you to maximize the vehicle's utility and lifetime value while upholding worker safety. Performing preventative maintenance is the best way you can ensure that the forklift is always operating safely and efficiently.
Do you need to replace your forklift’s battery?
At Value Forklifts, we sell a wide assortment of high-power battery units. And, if you don’t know whether the time has come to repair or replace the battery, our team of professionals can work with you to make the optimal decision.