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Proper forklift maintenance might seem like an expensive inconvenience. Taking the time for daily checks, setting up a comprehensive maintenance plan with qualified technicians, and paying to replace hoses, fluids, forks, or tires that have not yet broken might feel like an inefficient use of resources.


The reality, however, is that proper forklift maintenance is critical to preventing costly breakdowns and extending the life of your lift trucks. With the right maintenance schedule, you can catch small problems before they become big issues. 

Here are a few of the major forklift breakdowns that you can avoid with proper maintenance, as well as a look at how avoiding these breakdowns can also prevent larger impacts on your company’s productivity and safety.


Brake Failure

Brake failure can be catastrophic and potentially create deadly workplace accidents, in addition to sidelining your lift truck indefinitely. The best way to avoid these kinds of problems is to have forklift maintenance conducted on your machines according to schedule. For example, testing the brakes every day can help you identify soft or leaking brakes early on, while changing rotors and pads when they become worn can prevent more expensive damage.


Broken Forks

Bent or broken forks can also be expensive repairs. Perhaps even more expensive is replacing products that are damaged or broken when the forks fail, and dealing with workplace accidents as a result of fork failure. Forklift maintenance, like checking forks daily, promptly replacing forks and parts that are cracked or weak, and sticking to industry standards when it comes to replacing thinning forks can prevent breaks (and their consequences) before they happen.


Hose Failures

Similarly, cracked or broken hoses can put a forklift out of commission for a long time, and cost significant amounts of money, especially if the failure results in further damage to the lift truck. Proper forklift maintenance can catch weakening hoses before they give out, while replacements on schedule can make issues much less likely to occur.


Cracked Tires

Tires are another vital component of lift trucks. When they give out, the forklift may become impossible to maneuver and workplace accidents are likely to occur. In addition, driving on flat tires can wear out other parts of the forklift, leading to costly repairs. Forklift maintenance, on the other hand, can catch cracked tires, replace balding tires, and prevent any major issues from occurring.


Engine Failure

Small problems, like low fluid levels, or unchanged oil, might not seem like a big deal. However, they can become a big deal if they lead to major issues, such as cracked engines. Forklift maintenance can prevent these big issues by regularly changing oil and keeping fluids topped off.


Workplace Accidents

Of course, the mechanical issues that occur with lift trucks that are not properly maintained can be expensive and time consuming. However, there are other problems that improper forklift maintenance can cause that have nothing to do with the mechanics of the forklift.

For example, a broken forklift can cause workplace accidents. Brake failure can lead to an out of control forklift. Broken tines can drop heavy loads. Bald tires are more likely to skid, and dirty machines are more likely to contribute to fires.

These types of accidents can cost you more than money, which means that forklift maintenance is critical to workplace safety. Protecting your employees should be a top priority, and taking care of your machines is one of the easiest ways to do so.


Loss of Productivity

A broken forklift is a forklift that is not working to advance your business or the efficient operation of your warehouse. When your forklift is out of commission, the amount of work your employees can finish in a day goes down. That means that you might lose out on contracts, fall behind on orders, or need to temporarily sideline employees who could otherwise be working for you. In order to avoid these problems, the best method is to conduct regular forklift maintenance that will keep your machine from experiencing unplanned downtimes and loss of productivity.



Problems created by broken forklifts can lead to downtime for the lift truck. While your forklift is being repaired, you will need to spend money on a rental or lose money while the forklift is out of commission. While a forklift maintenance plan will cost you some money, you will actually save money over the expenses of having your machine out of commission.


OSHA Compliance

In addition to being a good idea in order to prevent mechanical and workplace problems, conducting regular forklift maintenance is important because it is required by OSHA. For example, you are legally required to inspect your lift truck forks annually, replace certain parts when they begin to show wear, replace lift truck forks when they get too thin, and more. By ignoring these maintenance tasks, you run the risk of violating OSHA regulations, which can lead to penalties.

It is always a good idea to keep your forklifts in good repair. Doing so allows you to avoid major problems that could lead to workplace accidents, lost productivity, downtime, and more. In addition, industry regulations require you to perform certain maintenance tasks on your lift trucks.

All of this means that you need a comprehensive forklift maintenance plan in order to keep your lift truck in good working order. This plan allows you access to skilled technicians who can affordably and professionally keep track of your maintenance schedule, make any necessary repairs, and ensure the smooth operation of your forklift. And that can mean more peace of mind and more savings over neglecting forklift maintenance. 

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