Post-Winter/Spring Forklift Maintenance Tips to Ensure Workplace Safety

Maintaining the health of your forklifts through regular maintenance is important. Winter weather may have a damaging effect on your equipment, resulting in everything from engine breakdowns to clogged fluids to dead batteries. These responsibilities are incredibly important since they can shield your company from unanticipated downtime, repair costs, and staff injuries.

There are a few crucial post-winter/spring  forklift safety precautions that you should complete regardless of whether you prefer to handle your heavy machinery maintenance in-house or with the help of a forklift servicing provider. Here are the top tips for winterizing your forklift.

Benefits of Forklift Maintenance 

For your operation, routine maintenance has several significant advantages, including:

  • Longer Service Life

Forklifts are just like any other piece of machinery. They need upkeep from time to time. A forklift will last longer and be more efficient if it receives maintenance regularly. This will increase maching uptime, lower costs, and yield higher returns on your capital investment. 

  • Improved Productivity

Uptime improves with regular maintenance. The forklift can produce more when it can operate more frequently. Additionally, proper maintenance planning can help you minimize interruptions to the production schedule.

  • Reduced Expenses

You are more likely to detect minor issues if you frequently service your tow motors. This includes widespread problems including leaky fittings, low fluid levels, and dirty and clogged parts. Early detection and correction of these minor issues can help you avoid larger, more costly repairs down the road.

  • Better Safety

Every business that utilizes forklift trucks has a moral and legal obligation to keep them in good working order. It is your responsibility to ensure that your team returns home safely after each shift, especially when operating a forklift in the snow or wet ground which has its own set of hazards. Regular maintenance enables you to spot safety flaws and fix them before they can be harmful or even fatal to a user or a pedestrian.

  • Increased Value

If you intend to resell your lift, a forklift in good condition will sell for more money than one in poor condition in the secondary market, allowing you to recover a larger portion of your initial investment. Additionally, if you’re only renting the machine, you’ll need to ensure that it receives routine maintenance. Otherwise, you run the danger of being stuck with a big fee once the lease expires and the truck is returned.

How Often Should Forklifts Be Serviced?

Winter may demand more frequent forklift maintenance
Winter may demand more frequent forklift maintenance

Winter and early Spring can be unforgiving to your machinery. Forklifts need to be completely serviced and maintained every 200 to 250 hours of operation, or approximately every 6 weeks. Even though these intervals are quite typical, there are some additional aspects to take into account when setting the maintenance frequency.

  • Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Every forklift must come with an operator’s manual. Each manufacturer and truck have different maintenance requirements, so always abide by the service interval guidelines and instructions as outlined in your user guide.

  • Fuel Type

Forklifts that run on internal combustion and those that run on electricity have distinct parts, so they require separate servicing schedules. Since internal combustion trucks have more moving parts than electric ones, maintenance could be required more frequently.

  • Length of Use

The forklift will need more regular maintenance if it is used longer and more frequently. This is important for businesses that operate their lifts throughout several shifts.

  • Service History

If the forklift has had poor performance in the past, requiring repeated servicing, or if the service records indicate that the same problem keeps coming up, you might need to keep an eye on them. Forklift hazard identification, especially during the cold months, is important especially if you’re getting the same complaints.

  • Operating Environment

Your engine may function poorly in temperatures lower than 32° F. Trucks operated in harsh locations will require more constant repair to guarantee forklift safety.

Post-Winter/Spring Forklift Maintenance Checklist

Post-Winter/Spring Forklift Maintenance Tips to Ensure Workplace Safety
Check if the key components are at their optimal capacity

To keep your equipment in great condition this season, pay close attention to these critical areas:

  • Battery

When taking care of your forklift battery, you use a load tester to make sure the battery is nearly at its optimum strength. The cables should be cleaned and examined for damage. If the battery is close to the end of its life, it could even be more affordable to replace it beforehand to prevent unneeded downtime when it fails abruptly in the middle of a shift. It’s also critical to understand that batteries are likely to drain more quickly when it’s cold outside.

  • Fluids

Inspect your antifreeze and coolant levels using a hydrometer to make sure there is adequate fluid considering your forklifts will be subjected to harsh weather. A good idea is to check hoses and other important parts for leaks or corrosion.

  • Tires

Check your fleet’s tires for the optimum air pressure because low tire pressure can happen during winter and early spring. Additionally, make sure your tires have deep enough tread so it has a proper grip on outside terrain.

  • Hydraulics

Joints can become stiff when it’s freezing outside. Maintaining smooth operations means ensuring that all of the moving elements of your forklift are properly greased. Check the hydraulics again in early Spring.

  • Lights

Keeping an eye on your lights is necessary all year long, but it is more crucial during winter and early spring. Daylight hours are significantly shorter and some weather conditions, such as snow and heavy rain, can make visibility difficult. It is best to switch to LED bulbs if your forklift  still has halogen lighting as they operate better in all weather conditions, shine brighter, and last longer.

  • Cab

For safety reasons, check that all latches are properly greased and that the heater and windshield wipers are operating as they should be in trucks with an enclosed cab and a windshield.

  • Operator

Operators may not be a physical component of your equipment, but you still need to give them specific instructions to be ready for  winter and early Spring. For example, if your lift truck operators are responsible for both indoor and outdoor tasks, you may tell them to dress warmly — add gloves to prevent numb fingers, and wear layers of clothing. Always ensure that your personnel are aware of the forklift maintenance schedule and equipped with the correct tools for the job, especially during more difficult weather conditions.

The cold temperature and unpredictable weather conditions during winter and early Spring can be troublesome for neglected  machinery. Successful forklift operation requires regular maintenance of the forklift. Deal with any problems as soon as they appear to maintain your forklifts in excellent operating order. 

Take a step further and establish effective forklift hazard control measures. Protect your forklift driver from injury by using Lakeport Metalcraft’s The Backbone — a rear post & guard designed for reach trucks and stand-up forklifts. Call us at 416-587-5809 and get your forklift rear guard in Toronto today!

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