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Forklift Maintenance

Filed under: Forklift Maintenance & Upkeep

The level of maintenance a forklift receives is a crucial factor in its performance and longevity. Forklifts are among the most rugged and reliable of machines and are designed to operate in tough conditions. However, forklifts need to be regularly serviced; there is no substitute for good maintenance. It ensures forklifts can perform at optimum levels; it can detect and rectify minor problems before they affect productivity, and will prolong a forklifts life.

This week’s blog will look at the importance of maintenance and will provide maintenance schedules and tips.


Maintenance Types

• Reactive
• Preventative
• Predictive
• Proactive
• Lubrication

Inspection Frequency

The first step in determining the frequency, in which a forklift needs to be inspected, is to make an engineering analysis of the equipment, considering the following points:

• Age, condition and value
• Severity of service
• Safety requirements
• Hours of operation
• Service record
• Susceptibility to wear, damage and getting out of adjustment
• Past maintenance work order

It is also helpful to conduct interviews with maintenance personal and operating supervisors.

Maintenance Schedule

A maintenance schedule should specify tasks to be performed daily, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and annually.

Adherence to a maintenance program will help keep a forklift in good condition, prolong its useful life and minimise downtime and costs associated with major repairs.

Daily Maintenance

Forklift operators should perform daily maintenance at the beginning of each shift.

They should visually inspect for leaks, obvious damage, and tyre condition, the operation of safety lights, service, parking brakes, horn, and steering. They should then check the mast operation by raising and lowering the forks both with and without a load, and finally check the levels of engine oil, fuel, radiator water and hydraulic fluid.

checking forklift oil

Monthly Maintenance

Performed after every 200 hours of operation by a trained mechanic and can include:

• Lubrication of chassis and mast components
• Replacement of engine oil
• Cleaning of the air filter element
• Adjustment of engine idle speed and ignition timing on engine powered trucks
• Inspection of lift and tilt cylinder operation, drive belt tension, and for engine powered trucks, spark plugs, distributor point, cap and rotor

Quarterly Maintenance

Every 600 hours and can include:

• Inspection of pedal free play, hand brake, lift chain tension, mast operation, carriage rollers, lift and tilt cylinder operation, hydraulic oil pump, differential and transmission oil, fuel filter, positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve, and hoses on engine powered trucks
• Cleaning the radiator exterior and replacing the fuel filter
• Replacement of the hydraulic filter
• Draining of the water separator on diesel trucks
• Adjustment of the clutch release bearing (standard shift trucks), mast support bushing, tilt cylinder pins and chassis links

Semi-annual Maintenance

Every 1,200 hours and can include:

• Inspection of the brake booster operation
• Torqueing the engine head bolts and manifold nuts
• Replacement of brake fluid, wheel bearing grease, engine coolant, fuel filter, fuel strainer element and water separator on diesel trucks

Maintenance Tips

• Keep forklifts clean so it is easier to detect worn or defective parts. Clean with water, not flammable liquids.
• Use only a trained, qualified person to inspect, maintain or repair forklifts.
• Use only licensed gas fitters to repair and/or replace parts on LPG forklifts.
• Establish a procedure for dealing with unsafe or damaged forklifts, including tagging the vehicle and reporting the problem to the appropriate person.
• Use only qualified tyre fitters to remove and fit tyres.
• Keep all moving parts well lubricated.
• Keep your forklift charged or fuelled.
• Ensure forklift gauges are functioning properly at all times.


Proper maintenance of a forklift will help prevent major downtime and repair expenses.

What do you do to maintain your forklifts?



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Your article has been extremely informative and it was very helpful, great article. Keep it up!

J. Guthrie
September 30, 2014 - 2:54 am

  Thank you for the deatiled tips for maintenance

Tom Thomas
April 14, 2016 - 8:28 pm

I think it’s interesting that forklifts need to be maintained. It makes sense, since they are basically a car with an attachment. They have all the parts that cars have!

Braden Bills
August 25, 2016 - 1:12 am

          Your article has been extremely informative and it was very helpful, great article. Keep it up!
This information is very useful for ever. not only today .
Thanks .

June 29, 2017 - 6:50 pm

Very nice blog…I was looking some lubricants for reducing friction

Meghan Joyce
August 17, 2017 - 4:56 pm

  We have recently started a Lube Analysis program and are finding the Hydraulic fluid in our trucks are very dirty, we are a cast iron foundry so there is a lot of iron and silica dust in the air. We are currently looking to upgrade the filtration of the hydraulic fluid in our fleet of lift trucks and are having great difficulty even finding specifications on the existing filters and breathers let alone locating suppliers or part numbers of better filters. Our fleet consists of Yales, Cats, and Royals. If anyone has ideas or insight it would be most appreciated.

Robert Peterson
September 20, 2017 - 1:46 am

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