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Electric Forklift Maintenance Basics

Electric forklifts are a popular choice of machine thanks in part to the fact that they require less maintenance than do internal combustion forklifts. Due to having fewer moving parts, the engine itself does not require the same kind of regular preventative servicing as do the internal combustion engines. That reduced maintenance translates into saved time and money for companies that use electric forklifts.

However, electric forklifts still require some maintenance. In particular, the batteries and other electrical components require regular care in order to operate at maximum efficiency and in order to maximize their overall lifespan. Here are some of the basic maintenance tasks required for electric forklifts.

 

Water your electric forklift battery regularly.

It might seem strange to think about watering a battery. However, the batteries on electric forklifts must be submerged in water at all times in order to prevent overheating and in order to preserve the life of the battery components. As a result, you will need to check the water levels at least once a week. A good rule of thumb is to check the battery's water levels every 10 charges for newer machines, and every 5 charges for older machines.

The water should be about a quarter-inch above the lead plates inside the battery, and about a half an inch below the battery cap. Water levels lower than this mean that your battery needs to be watered.

In addition, you should always top off your battery after a charge instead of before. Adding water right before charging can create water spillage as the water expands during charging. Adding water afterward prevents these problems and ensures that the water level is high enough even after the water expansion from charging has stopped.

Finally, always use pure distilled water in your electric forklift battery. Water with a pH of between 5 and 7 that is free from impurities will protect your battery from damage and extend its lifespan. With the right water, and the right watering techniques, you can ensure that your battery lasts as many years as possible, while avoiding potentially big issues such as overheating that could lead to damage and downtime for your machine.

 

Follow all other preventive maintenance tasks for your electric forklift battery.

Watering your battery is not the only maintenance task required for your electric forklift battery. There are other preventative maintenance steps to take to extend its life and keep it operating smoothly. For example, the following is a list of tasks that should be completed regularly:

  • Monthly cleaning
  • Equalizing (for electric forklift batteries that allow it)
  • Regular technician checks
  • Use of proper charging techniques and equipment

In addition, your electric forklift battery may come with additional instructions or recommendations for maintenance. Observing these recommendations and following any suggested schedule will ensure the health of your electric forklift battery for the foreseeable future.

 

Blow out your electric forklift regularly.

Dust and dirt are the enemies of any forklift, whether electric or internal combustion. The buildup of dust within the machine can lead to a fire hazard, as well as interfere with the efficient operation of the machine's components.

For electric forklifts, dust and dirt buildup can be particularly hazardous to the machine's electric components. A layer of dirt can effectively trap heat against the electric components. That heat can then lead to overheating and breakdowns. In addition, the heat can cause these components to break more easily.

All of these issues can significantly shorten the lifespan of your electric forklift. That is why you should blow all the dust and dirt out of your forklift regularly. Keeping the electric components free of dirt can prevent larger problems later on, and extend the life of your machine.

 

Check motor cable connections on your electric forklift.

The motor cables carry the electricity from the battery to the motor. However, over time, the movement of the forklift, along with heating and cooling during charges, can cause these cables to loosen.

When the motor cables are loose, the current flow is interrupted and can interfere with the operation of your electric forklift or even contribute to a fire. Loose motor cables can even damage or destroy your machine.

As a result, you should regularly check the motor cable connections on your machine. A simple check and tightening, if necessary, can prevent downtime from machines that will not start or operate properly due to an interrupted flow of electricity to the motor.

 

Conduct comprehensive maintenance on your electric forklift.

Finally, maintaining your electric forklift should include a comprehensive maintenance plan that includes all the other elements of the forklift (such as the tires, forklift forks, etc.). These elements will need regular inspection and repair just like they do on an internal combustion forklift.

As a result, conducting daily checks of these elements, and investing in a comprehensive maintenance plan that allows you to service these elements regularly, can help you extend the life of your machine and prevent major accidents and downtime.

If you need help maintaining your electric forklift, do not hesitate to reach out to Darr. Our technicians are thoroughly trained on both internal combustion and electric forklifts. We understand how to help you get the most out of your electric forklift. We also offer comprehensive maintenance plans that allow you to receive the help of a qualified technician on the right schedule for your machine.

Take care of your electric forklift to enjoy all the years of life it can give you. From watering your battery, to maintaining your battery, to blowing out dust, to checking motor cables, and maintaining other elements of the machine, this care will pay you back many times with a machine that works smoothly and inexpensively for years.