Fork Lift Association & Thorough Examination

A Non-Mechanics Guide to Forklift Maintenance

Whether you have one, or a fleet of forklifts, aside from servicing by a qualified forklift specialist, regular maintenance is vital for three main reasons, including:

  • To ensure safety

  • To ensure effectiveness

  • To ensure a healthy return on your investment

But, what if you’re not mechanically competent, especially when it comes to a vehicle as complex and technically advanced as a modern forklift?

For those non-mechanics amongst us, there are basic maintenance checks that aren’t that difficult, but still go a long way to prolonging the life of your forklift, and helping to ensure its safe operation.

But first…

Before going into detail about basic forklift maintenance for non-mechanics, let’s take a look at the servicing requirements of a forklift in the UK.

Under UK regulations around the use of lifting equipment, having your forklift serviced by a qualified forklift engineer, is a legal requirement.

Forklift servicing will cover areas such as hydraulics, the mast and other load-bearing elements, the chassis, brakes, tyres, steering as well as a range of other components that act to make sure your forklift is compliant with the law, safe, and has a long and effective working life.

How Often Does a Forklift Need Servicing?

The frequency of servicing for your forklift, is dependent on various factors, including:

Manufacturers Recommendations – Your forklift, just like your car or van, will have recommendations set out by the manufacturer to ensure the safe and effective operation, some of which will be a stipulation of the warranty.

Hours of Use – Again, just like with other vehicles, the more use you get out of your forklift, the more often it’ll need servicing.

The Age of the Forklift – When well looked after, forklifts can go on operating for many years, but, the older the machine gets, the more regular it’ll need to be serviced to ensure safe, continued use.

Forklift Maintenance Checks You Can Do

Forklift servicing should always be carried out by a qualified forklift engineer, but as a forklift owner, there are certain maintenance checks that you or your staff can, and should carry out on a daily and weekly basis, and include checking:

Engine Oil Level – A quick check of the engine oil level prior to operation, helps with fuel economy and also helps prevent premature wear and tear within the engine block. The process of checking is a simple dipstick check, and if it’s low top it up using the manufacturer recommended fluid.

Hydraulic Oil Level – A forklift can’t operate without sufficient hydraulic oil, for both its steering and safe lifting capabilities. As with checking the engine oil levels, this process simply requires parking on level ground, locating the dipstick and pulling it out to see if it’s at the correct level. If the level’s low, top it up, but make sure you use fluid recommended by the manufacturer.

Fuel Level – Before operating your forklift, always make sure you’re not running too low on fuel, as this can have a detrimental effect on the catalytic converter, and cause unexpected stalling.

Tyres – Before each shift, have a walk around the forklift and check each tyre is correctly inflated, that the tread is in good condition, and that there are no visible signs of damage, such as blistering.

Safety Features – The safety features that are easy to check on a forklift include things such as parking brakes, horn, indicators, alarms and sensors.

Steering – If the steering feels much stiffer than usual, or less responsive, it’s always worth getting it checked out by a trained forklift mechanic. It may just be a result of under inflated tyres, or an easily remedied faulty wheel alignment, but it’s always best to be sure.

Contact Us

For forklift sales, hire, and servicing in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, contact Beds & Bucks Forktrucks today, either via our website contact form, by email, or by phone to speak directly to one of our knowledgeable and helpful team.

A Non-Mechanics Guide to Forklift Maintenance