We all understand that preventative maintenance and service pays off in the long run. But for whatever reason, many forklift operators and owners seem to believe that these pieces of heavy equipment are bullet-proof and can last forever. Unfortunately, this philosophy tends to backfire – costing retailers, manufacturers, and logistics companies thousands of dollars per year in unnecessary repairs.
Like any piece of equipment, spending a few dollars each month on replacing parts or cleaning components is the key to longevity. However, with a forklift, this routine task is amplified with regards to importance – as a major source of forklift warehouse accidents is parts failure. When you add up the cost of workers compensation claims, missed work, and repairing facility damage, skimping on the recommended service can pile up.
Let’s be clear – there is NO cost savings that justifies an injury of an individual in the workplace. But it is important to remember a few important tips that can help you reduce the potential of major component failure, regardless of what type of liftruck you own or operate.
Here are four simple forklift maintenance tips that all business owners and managers should activate – not only to keep repair costs down – but ensure a safe work environment for everyone.
First – Always Follow Manufacture Guidelines
Not all forklifts are identical. Yet, it’s assumed that maintenance and service inspections (specifically daily checklists) are universal. This critical error can end up costing your business a lot of unnecessary repairs – even if you opt for used forklift parts online.
It’s crucial to follow your manufacturers guidelines for daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annual, and annual safety inspections. While it’s easy to copy and paste a forklift inspection from an online catalog or other website, if it’s not specific to your exact forklift, items can be skipped.
While completing any safety inspection, make sure that each user or inspector wears the right safety or PPE – including eye protection, leather or rubber gloves, and the correct boots (especially if you’re replacing batteries). These tiny steps during routine inspections can reduce damage to major systems and accidents in the workplace.
Second – Don’t Skimp on Lubricants and Belts
A cost-savings technique used by many businesses is logistics or supply chain operations is using industrial lubricants and belts or hoses – that are ‘universal’ applications. This means they can buy a drum of hydraulic fluid or replacement belts that will “work” for everything. Forklifts are not as universally acceptable with the fluids (especially lubricants) used.
For example – the hydraulic fluid for a Toyota dual mast forklift is a different thickness or viscosity than a Hyster order picker. But there are some facilities – even worse, forklift repair companies, who subscribe to the one-size-fits-all school of maintenance. Don’t fall into this trap.
Third – Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Warehouses and most manufacturing facilities are filled with a lot of dust, dirt, and debris. Add the reality that many forklifts also operate outdoors, and the large amount of exposed lubricants, gaskets, and connectors, and you’ve got a recipe for dirty moving parts. As we all know – when moving parts are contaminated with dirt and debris, lubrication is reduced, friction is created, and premature parts wear and tear is often the result.
Make sure to use high quality cleaning agents when keeping your forklift clean, neat, and straight. It’s just as important to block out some time, whether it’s once per week, or month for routine clean-up.
Fourth – Keep Your Service Records Updated
Finally, to stay on top of your service records, make sure to have a clean and organized filing system. Whether it’s an online portal, Excel sheet, or a folder, take time to document each inspection, note any potential issues, follow up with those problems, schedule repairs quickly, and monitor forklift performance.
The simple act of organizing your required documentation when using a forklift in any work environment can help you diagnose possible issues in the workplace that lead to the damaged parts. It’s also a legal requirement in most states in the USA.
If you have some parts that are wearing out sooner than they should – regardless of the reason, consider used forklift parts that are refurbished by Atlanta Liftruck Salvage. Our company has been the go-to source for high-quality replacement liftruck parts that have been salvaged, refurbished, repainted and ready for service.
We offer a no-hassle 30-day return policy and always stand by the quality of each part we sell. If you have any questions about our forklift replacement parts or are looking for a hard to find component for an older lift truck, give us a call today.