How To: Performing Basic Maintenance on a Forklift
Forklifts are some of the most reliable and rugged machines used in many different industries; and a crucial factor in their performance and longevity is the level of maintenance received. Performing basic maintenance on a forklift regularly will detect minor issues before they become big problems that will affect productivity, and maintain optimum performance prolonging its longevity.
Types of Maintenance
Frequency of Inspection
The first step in setting inspection frequency, is making an engineering analysis of the forklift, consider the following points:
Conducting interviews with operating supervisors and maintenance personnel may also be helpful.
A maintenance schedule should list specific details of what is to be performed daily, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and yearly. A strict adherence program will aid in keeping a forklift in good working order, prolong its lifecycle and minimize its downtime and major repair costs.
There is daily maintenance that should be performed by a forklift operator at the beginning of each shift. Visual inspection to check for obvious damage, leaks and tire condition, safety lights are in good operating order, and the parking brakes, steering and horn work should be on the checklist. The operator should also raise and lower the forks – with and without a load – and check fuel, engine oil, hydraulic fluid and radiator water levels.
At 200 – 250-operation hours – a good point for conducting monthly maintenance and the following tasks to perform include:
At 250 – 600-operation hours – a good point for conducting quarterly maintenance and the following tasks should be include:
Every 1,000 – 1,200-operation hours – a good point for conducting semi-annual maintenance and the following tasks can include:
Every 2,000 – 2,400-operation hours – a good point for conducting annual maintenance and the following tasks can include:
Note: Electric forklifts have slightly different service intervals because of less moving parts.
If your facility uses forklifts regularly, it is a smart idea to have a qualified licensed technician inspecting and servicing them at every 250-operation hours. Knowing how to perform basic maintenance on a forklift is as important as keeping a copy of all maintenance records so you are prepared should OSHA ask for them. OSHA’s compliance section 1910.178(q) lists specific rules for industrial trucks maintenance and it would be beneficial for a company to become very familiar with them, so they are adhering to their strict rules.