Forklift maintenance is not just essential: it is also recommended by OSHA, and for a good reason. The maintenance process detects issues before they lead to major accidents at the worksite, thereby ensuring peace of mind to both your workers and inventory.
However, it cannot be denied that forklift maintenance can eat up a major part of your budget. Hiring a forklift technician to visit and check your forklift regularly, apart from conducting your own inspections, is expensive.
Luckily, there are many ways to reduce forklift maintenance costs. If you review concerns such as the cleanliness and repair of your floor, the training of your forklift operators, and your maintenance contract, you can keep your forklifts in good working order with reduced maintenance costs. Here’s how…
Keep Your Floors Clean and Repaired:
Keeping your floors clean and repaired is a hidden factor making a huge difference to your forklift’s performance. Dust and dirt can cause fire breakouts, and contribute to wear and tear on the machine. You can prevent the issues caused by dirt, debris, and dust by cleaning your forklifts daily, as well as keeping your floors clean and repaired.
For instance, pieces of wood, plastic, and other debris on the floor can impact the tread of the tires and increase their wear and tear. Plastic is also likely to get stuck around ball bearings. Dust and dirt can accumulate on the forklift. Cracked or damaged floors can create shocks that can impact the sensitive internal systems of the forklift.
By taking care of the floors, you minimize the amount of damage the forklifts sustained day to day, thereby avoiding small repairs and their associated costs.
Improve Employee Training:
Serious employee training can minimize maintenance costs in two ways. Firstly, you can teach workers what to check when doing routine inspections and how to perform maintenance correctly. Secondly, employee training will instruct them how to operate a forklift in a safe way to avoid accidents as well as damages. Properly trained operators can identify problems early on and more safely drive the forklift to prevent issues in the first place.
Avoid Mixed Fleet:
Having forklifts of multiple brands in your fleet can be stressful when it comes to maintenance. If you have a stock of truck parts inventory at your facility, owning a mixed brand of forklifts can be more costly to maintain inventory across different brands. This holds even if all you keep filters and a few other replacement parts in the stock.
Also, it cannot be denied that you may have to spend on the training of your operators on each type of forklift. Therefore, to save on forklift maintenance, limit the types of forklifts you own to one or two brands.
Perform Daily Inspection:
Make sure to perform a pre-operation inspection before operating the forklift to make sure that things are working fine. Oils, water, tires, and safety parts like seat plates, mirrors, and rating plates should be inspected beforehand to ensure the fine performance of your forklift and the safety of the employees.
Use the Right Truck for Every Job:
Not all forklifts are the same. Narrow aisle trucks, order pickers, reach trucks and more all are meant for a particular purpose on the worksite.
If you use the inappropriate truck for the job, you may unintentionally increase the maintenance cost of your forklift. Instead, use the right equipment for the job at hand. While it might make you buy a new forklift, you can save money on maintenance in the long run.
Take Care of Your Batteries and Chargers:
Taking care of your batteries and chargers also help you save on the forklift maintenance costs. For instance, watering the battery timely, avoiding opportunity charging, and using the right charger for your batters can improve your battery life. This way, you will be paying less for forklift maintenance costs associated with batters and chargers as they are likely to last longer.
Reassess Your Maintenance Programs:
Have you reviewed your maintenance program recently? While you are likely to forget it, this is an important thing to keep track of.
Think over these factors:
- Does your maintenance program let you pay a monthly fixed cost for all the repairs and maintenance? Total maintenance and repair programs let you, for one monthly fee, get both regular planned maintenance and breakdown service for the duration of the agreement.
- Is your existing maintenance program flexible? For example, a service technician can visit your worksite according to a schedule that meets your particular operational needs and does PMs.
Practice Preventative Maintenance:
Apart from helping you eliminate the problems before they become big, preventative maintenance is important to reducing maintenance costs. Simple preventative maintenance keeps small issues from growing larger, expensive ones. They also help increase a forklift’s lifespan, ensuring a greater return on your investment.
Therefore, establish a checklist of necessary maintenance tasks, as well as the frequency with which you will require to perform them.
Some common things to be included in your preventative maintenance plan are:
- Changing the hydraulic fluid in the engine and mast
- Changing the filters
- Oiling mast chains
- Changing brake pads
The Bottom Line:
So you must have understood how to reduce the maintenance cost of your forklift. Apart from saving you money on servicing, these tips can improve the performance of your forklift. However, it is equally true that there is no alternative to regular forklift maintenance. When you rely on lift trucks to stay productive, maintenance helps prevent downtime and costly repairs. These tips are only to reduce the maintenance costs or the necessity of maintenance occurring frequently.