To Lift Or Not To Lift: Getting Your Warehouse's Forklift Back In Working Order

Material handling equipment is an essential part of any warehouse, but they can still act up from time to time. If your forklift is slowing down work due to malfunctions or inability to start, you should consider the following steps to help diagnose common forklift problems.

Your Forklift Isn't As Strong As It Used To Be

The first thing you'll need to examine in this case is the age of your machine. Forklifts only last so long, and an older one might not be able to handle the same stresses it once managed with ease. If your company forklift is getting on in years, it might be easier on you financially to simply have it replaced.

If your machine is not very old or is brand new, problems lifting heavy merchandise are likely to do with a failure in the hydraulic system. Hydraulic problems can be simplified into two basic forms: clogs and leaks. With both, you may hear strange noises when you engage the lifting prongs, in addition to the weakness of the system.

A leaking hydraulic system fails to provide the necessary fluid for heavy lifting. It can also allow air into the lines, further preventing fluid from getting where it needs to go. A clogged system may increase pressure enough to vaporize the liquid in certain parts of your forklift, rendering it useless for lifting.

To check for leaks, run a cloth over the hydraulic line. If it has any hydraulic fluid on it, your machine is leaking. Checking for clogs is a little more complicated, since you'll need to open up the hydraulic pump. You may want to have your pump inspected by a professional to avoid damaging it.

You Can't Turn The Forklift On Or Keep It On

A forklift that won't start at all may have a dead or otherwise faulty battery, while one that turns on and doesn't stay on may have a failed battery or starter.

To determine whether your forklift's battery is operational, first look for any visible damage or corrosion. If you can't see anything wrong with the battery, you should test it out. It's okay if you don't have battery testing equipment: you can always put the battery from the defective forklift into a functioning one. If the functioning forklift does not start, you know you have a battery problem. Replace the battery with a new one and the issue should be resolved.

If testing or replacing the battery doesn't fix your problem, your forklift may need a replacement starter. This is especially common when the forklift starts and then shuts off soon after. If your starter needs replacing, you should contact a professional forklift technician as soon as possible.

Your Engine Frequently Overheats

If your machine is overheating more often than you think it should be, you may need to examine your radiator. Over time, depending on where you store your forklift, the radiator may get clogged with dirt and debris that cause it to function below capacity. You can fix this problem by emptying the radiator and gently pouring water over it. Be careful not to touch the fins directly, as it is easy to bend them out of shape. When pouring in the water, be sure to monitor your forklift's lines for any leaks.

If your radiator has no leaks, your machine likely has a malfunctioning thermostat. If the thermostat doesn't kick in when your forklift is hot, the radiator won't be able to cool it down sufficiently. Consider having a forklift technician come and inspect your thermostat in order to solve your overheating problem.

Whether your machine won't start, won't stay cool, or won't lift what it's supposed to lift, you may be able to diagnose the problem with a few easy steps. If you can't fix the issue yourself, your local forklift repairman will be more than happy to get your business back on schedule.