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Prospero Girardi: How to maintain your forklift

Wednesday, 19 Jul 2017 ( #830 )
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Prospero Girardi
Prospero Girardi is the Director of Hitec Lift Trucks, a supplier of forklift trucks for hire and purchase, as well as a provider of forklift training, and many other materials handling products and services.

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When safely operated, forklifts help take the weight off staff and can get the job of multiple people done quickly and efficiently. However, as complex pieces of machinery, they do tend to wear out and break down over time. That means it is crucially important to create a regular maintenance schedule to ensure your business’s forklifts are kept in the best possible shape.

To help you do this we have compiled some of the most important things you need to cover to keep your forklift truck in full working order.

Ensure moving parts are well lubricated
By their very nature, forklifts have a number of moving parts. As these moving parts tend to take much of the strain of constantly lifting and lowering heavy pallets and materials, it is extremely important to make sure that these parts are as well lubricated as possible. This helps fight against the damaging effects of friction which will break down your forklift quicker than you think. So with this in mind, regularly grease all fittings on the forklift and ensure any worn-down ball bearings are replaced straight away.

Regularly monitor fluid levels
As with any motor vehicle, the fluid levels in a forklift are vital to its performance. They ensure the engine runs smoothly and that the working parts perform efficiently. So make sure that all the various fluids are regularly topped up. These include everything from the motor oil and coolant, as well as the transmission and hydraulic fluids.

Check gauges and lights on the dashboard
When it comes to any piece of machinery, problems do not always become immediately apparent. This means it is always a good idea to check all gauges to see if there are any problems. The lights and gauges on a forklift panel are often the first indication of a malfunction. So, even if the forklift appears to be operating fine, watch these gauges and get the vehicle checked on the first indication of a problem.

Keep the tyres inflated
This may seem obvious, but it doesn’t make it any less important. Always make sure that the tyres on your forklift truck are fully inflated, have sufficient air pressure, and are in good condition. Poorly maintained and unbalanced tyres could easily see the forklift topple over, causing significant danger to staff, as well as damage to the warehouse and any goods the truck is carrying.

Always use quality parts
All businesses have financial pressure, and cutting corners on quality parts can sometimes seem like a price worth paying. This is not the case with forklifts. As a vital tool for your business and a potential safety hazard, only ever use the finest parts available. Not only will this keep staff safe, it will save money in the longer term as your forklift will break down less frequently and require less costly repairs. This is also true of a forklift that is regularly checked, even when there are no problems.
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