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Know When Your Forklift Needs Maintenance

Steve Dutton – Operations Manager Lift Truck Aftermarket Division

How to Know When Your Forklift Needs Maintenance

Forklift Maintenance

Even if you run the safest warehouse in the world your employees still have to deal with many risks some of which could be related to equipment failures due to lack of maintenance.

Reducing failures is actually easy to do if you have the right planned maintenance program in place. A safe well maintained forklift along with a trained operator will also reduce product and pallet racking damage.

When Does Your Forklift Need Maintenance

No matter what, you should always schedule planned maintenance even if your forklift is brand new or if the usage is very low.

You should always listen to the manufactures service interval recommendations but the rule of thumb is it should be serviced every 250 hours or 4 months whichever comes first. Under more extreme conditions such as working in a freezer or a processing plant the guideline may need to shorter to make the program more effective.

Let’s try to put this in perspective, most of us probably own a car and service it about every 10-15,000 kilometers well most forklifts clock hours not kilometers so let’s covert 250 hours to kilometers. Under normal driving conditions you would probably average about 60 kilometers per hour with your car so we will use that to convert the forklift’s 250 hours.

250 hours x 60 KM/HR = 15,000 kilometers

If you read your car’s owner manual you will see the manufacturer allows suggests maximum kilometers or maximum time whichever comes first for example 10,000 kilometers or 6 months well a forklift is no different except its 250 hours of use or 4 months.

What is done during a planned maintenance check up?

Your technician will follow a predetermined check list that is normally tailored to the equipment being serviced for example an electric or internal combustion forklift. These check lists have many items listed but really they all fall into two categories Safety and Prevention, Safety is the most important and the reason why a forklift needs to be looked at regularly even when usage is very low. Prevention comes down to lubrication and identifying potential problems early so they can be rectified before they turn into a high cost repair.

These check lists the technician uses evolve into a report that will tell you the current condition and potentially what might need to be done in the future giving you an opportunity to plan a maintenance budget.


Planned maintenance means you have a plan in place to take your forklift out of service so maintenance can be done, isn’t this a much better scenario than waiting till it breaks down in the middle of unloading a truck?

Planned maintenance doesn’t stop your forklift from wearing out but it sure slows it down and if you have an unfortunate accident you will be glad you did planned maintenance and can produce accurate records to prove it when you are asked to produce them!

Steve Dutton – Operations Manager Lift Truck Aftermarket Division