Your forklift is only as good as the battery that is powering it.
In order for your forklift to stay operational and fulfill routine tasks, it needs power. It almost sounds like a no-brainer, right?
Well, believe it or not, batteries are one of the most overlooked components on a forklift. In fact, we often take them for granted and simply assume that when we turn the key, the forklift will always start up for us.
But if your old used forklift battery hasn’t been maintained or replaced over the years, it might just be on its last leg.
To help you prolong the life of your used forklift battery, we have compiled 4 tips that you can put into action right away.
Routine maintenance is critical
The truth is, most people are not exactly gentle on their heavy machinery.
There is a tendency to look at heavy machinery as big, unstoppable tools that can just operate endlessly. But this simply isn’t the case and when routine maintenance on pieces of large equipment is overlooked, things begin to break down through moderate wear and tear.
An old, used forklift battery is no different.
Batteries break down in a number of ways given enough time and usage. One of the most common ways this happens is when they begin the process of sulfonation. This is most recognizable by the build-up of crystals of sulfuric acid on the battery terminals. When this happens, the battery will not be able to hold a charge and will quickly stop working.
Performing routine maintenance on your battery and brush the terminals with a metal bristle brush can go a long way in preserving your forklift battery life.
Keep your forklift battery charged
One thing that not many people realize is that the amount of discharge from your battery directly affects wear and tear to other parts of your forklift.
The way this works is that when your battery is holding below a roughly 20-30% charge, it forces other parts of the machine to work harder and under more strain as there is simply not enough energy to power its functions. Not only does this mean the machine is pulling harder on your battery, but also that it can lead to other, more problematic issues such as engine burn-out.
When your forklift is not in-use overnight, charge your battery to avoid this all-too-common mistake.
Small charging sessions is bad for your forklift battery
While keeping your forklift battery charged to an optimal level is certainly beneficial, it should not be done in increments.
It is far too tempting to charge your battery during your lunch break or when you have no pallets to pull, but you really should avoid doing this as this is highly detrimental to the lifespan of your battery. If this is done repeatedly, eventually, the battery will stop taking a charge altogether.
Instead, charge your forklift battery overnight and let it get a full charge.
Don’t let the battery water level drop
Your forklift battery contains water that covers metal plates that can easily dry out when exposed to air for any prolonged amount of time.
When these plates dry out, they become extremely brittle, are more easily damaged and will not be able to hold a charge.
If you notice the water level in your forklift battery is starting to get low, add some distilled water to the recommended level for that battery. Do not use tap water to refill your battery as tap water contains chemicals and sediment that will degrade the battery further, resulting in it breaking down much quicker.
Once you’ve done this, keeping an eye on these water levels should be included in your routine maintenance. Refill them as needed to keep them running smoothly and capable of powering your forklift. Neglecting to do this can very quickly result in the need to replace your used forklift battery.