Preventative maintenance for electric forklifts is vital for protecting your investment.
By identifying and addressing potential issues early on, before they become major problems, you can extend the vehicle’s lifespan, reduce the cost of expensive repairs and replacements, prevent downtime, ensure efficient performance, and, most importantly, keep your staff safe.
Each machine in your fleet should be serviced frequently.
To that end, here are some tips and best practices to prepare your electric forklift for service.
What Is Electric Forklift Servicing?
Forklift servicing is the practice of regularly inspecting and maintaining various parts of the forklift to ensure it is always in safe operating condition. Parts to prioritize may include the:
- Drive train
Specific servicing tasks and protocols will depend on the make, model, and brand of forklift.
That said, some widely–applicable best practices include the following—
#1 Clean and Water the Battery
Forklift operators should check, clean, and charge the battery as a part of their weekly routine operation. Maintaining the battery by regularly removing accumulated debris can prevent corrosion, which can negatively affect performance and lifespan and create safety hazards.
Additionally, if your forklift runs on a lead–acid battery, you should water the battery once a week. Depending on the age of the machine, the water levels will drop after 5 to 10 charges.
The cells in these batteries contain a mixture of sulfuric acid and water. When the battery is in use, the water in the cells can evaporate, which can inhibit its performance. To prevent this, you should regularly check and carefully top up these cells with distilled water.
#2 Take Care of the Batteries
In addition to cleaning and watering the batteries, you also should train your forklift operators to treat their machines with care, especially during charge–ups.
For example, it is generally recommended that you avoid fully draining the battery, as most manufacturers suggest keeping the charge above 25%. And, as you charge, make sure to not unplug the battery before the process is finished. Doing so could shorten the battery life.
#3 Pay Attention to Indications of A Bad Battery
The expected battery life cycle depends on the type of battery.
According to the manufacturer TCM, “Lithium–ion batteries usually last for 2,000 to 3,000 charge cycles, while lead acid batteries for 1,000 to 1,500 cycles.”1
It’s important to note that a battery’s lifespan can be affected by factors such as the type of battery, maintenance practices, and how the vehicle is used. In addition to monitoring the total number of charges, you should be aware of signs that the battery may be failing, such as:
- Spilled acid
- Decreased battery life
- Changes in vehicle performance
In addition, obvious marks of sulfation and corrosion are indicators of inadequate cleaning practices and could also shorten the battery life.
#4 Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions
Each vehicle should come with a manual outlining the manufacturer’s recommendations for servicing and maintenance best practices. Despite the fact that these vehicles have many similarities, they also have unique requirements due to their specific compositions and parts.
Top manufacturers will have designed, built, tested, and serviced tens of thousands of your exact model. As a result, their servicing recommendations are based on a wealth of experience working with the forklift’s unique specs. The manual can act as a “black box” of information, providing valuable insights and guidance to ensure the vehicle is properly maintained.
Value Forklift—Your Forklift Partner
Prioritizing electric forklift servicing is one way you can ensure their safe and efficient operation. Proper maintenance and care can help extend the life of the forklift and prevent costly repairs and downtime. But, no matter what, there will come a time when parts need replacing.
Do you need a new battery? Want to upgrade from an older forklift model to a newer one?
At Value Forklift, we sell high-power battery units, as well as high-quality, low-cost forklifts. You can also sell or trade-in your existing forklift. To learn more about our services, contact us today.