DIY Forklift Repair: A Step-By-Step Guide

The value of a forklift in the warehouse is often overlooked. That is until this workhorse pulls up lame and causes downtime.

46% of unplanned downtime in the warehouse is due to hardware and equipment failure, forklift included. The downtime costs from loss of productivity, repairs, canceled orders, etc., can add up to $10,000 to $250,000 per hour!

It’s clear that keeping the forklift operational at all times is important to maintain the efficiency of the warehouse.

Even though the forklift is a sturdy beast, forklift repair is necessary from time to time. Knowing how to fix a forklift will significantly reduce downtime and your potential losses.

Here are some of the forklift mechanical or electrical problems you might encounter and how to troubleshoot them.

The Forklift Won’t Start

The worst start for a workday is when you try to fire up the forklift and you don’t hear the comforting rumbling of the engine. Starting problems can happen to both electric and internal combustion forklifts. If your forklift won’t turn on, here’s what you should do:

1. Check the forklift’s fuel source.

For electric forklifts, try to answer the following. Your forklift might just need a recharge.

  • Is it charged?

  • When was the last time it was charged?

  • Was there a power outage that interrupted the charge time?

For internal combustion forklifts, starting problems are a little more complex. Here are some of the things you should investigate.

  • Does it need a fuel refill?

  • Is fuel leaking from somewhere?

  • How are the oil levels? The fuel valve of some forklifts doesn’t open if the oil level is inadequate.

  • How old is the fuel? Old fuel doesn’t start easily.

2. Check the Battery

Try to use the auxiliary functions of the forklift such as the lights or the horn. If they don’t work, you may have a dead or corroded battery, or have a bad connection from the battery.

3. Other Causes

Other possible reasons for a non-starting forklift are overheating (from lack of coolant), or if you have a cold engine. Check coolant levels or move the forklift to a warmer location.

If after troubleshooting the forklift still won’t start, you may need to rent a forklift from these great options to mitigate the downtime.

Mechanical Problems That Need Forklift Repair

The two most common mechanical issues with forklifts are troubles with steering and mast failure.

Problems with steering are a frequent source of accidents that result in injuries to the driver or nearby workers. The culprit is usually low levels of steering fluid transmission. Other possible causes include rust in the steering mechanism, worn-out gears, and misaligned tires.

When the mast mechanism fails, the forklift will have trouble lifting or lowering its load. The first thing to check is the hydraulic fluid; make sure that it isn’t low. Deficient oil levels from an oil leak, for example, can wear out the hydraulic mechanism and lead to mast failure.

Save the Forklift, Save the Business

Getting timely forklift repair is crucial for the smooth operation of your warehouse. Try these troubleshooting tips to prevent costly downtime.

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