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Forklifts are the workhorses of the material handling industry – and rightfully so. Their popularity can be attributed to their versatility and durability. While they can be used for many applications and serve a wide array of purposes, a lift truck’s most important job is to efficiently transfer products from one location to another. While modern-day forklifts are sturdy machines, there are still a lot of moving parts involved. With the large loads and heavy usage that these lift trucks are expected to handle, it only makes sense that forklift repair and maintenance is necessary with such a powerful piece of equipment. Read on as we discuss how to repair the three most common issues with forklifts.


Common Forklift Repair Issues

The general rule of thumb regarding forklift troubleshooting is that you should always repair your forklifts as soon as you notice a problem. While it might be easy to put off fixing minor issues in a busy warehouse environment, it is not a wise decision, as delaying repairs can exacerbate the problem, resulting in more expensive repair costs, extra downtime for your machine, and even hazardous conditions for operators. Even if only one part of your lift truck is not functioning properly, it can quickly lead to issues in other areas of your forklift. Outlined below are three common problems and how to address each one.

Steering Problems

Forklifts can be difficult to maneuver at times (especially in tight spaces), making it extremely important to keep the steering functioning smoothly. With that said, it’s not always easy to spot an issue with the steering. One of the warning signs you can look out for is strange sounds that occur when turning the vehicle. These noises can indicate an issue with the hydraulics that regulate the steering pressure or rust in the steering mechanism. Other steering issues include:

· Worn gears

· Loose or worn out pressure valves

· Misaligned tires

· Low steering fluid levels

To remedy the issue of low steering fluid, simply add more. However, if the fluid is thick and gunky, you need to completely change out the fluid. Unlike fluid level problems, worn gears and hydraulics typically require the know-how of an experienced forklift mechanics to fix.

Starting Problems

Forklifts that won’t start can cause unnecessary job delays, slower order fulfillment, and a decrease in employee productivity. Luckily, troubleshooting starting problems is a lot easier than you might think.

Electric Forklift Starting Problems

If you have an electric forklift, the issue is likely related to the battery. Be sure to note when the lift truck’s battery was charged last and if the procedure was performed correctly. If you test the brakes, lights, and other auxiliary functions and they aren’t working, you should either fully recharge the battery or entirely replace the battery with a freshly charged one (if you have one available to use).

Internal Combustion Forklift Starting Problems

Starting issues tend to be a bit more complicated when it comes to internal combustion lift trucks. The following items may be the culprit of a forklift that won’t start:

· Old fuel in the vehicle’s tank

· A fuel leak

· Low oil levels

If none of these factors seem to be the reason that your forklift won’t start, check the coolant level. A radiator blockage or lack of coolant can cause your lift truck to overheat and fail to start. Adding coolant or cleaning the radiator may solve the problem. It is also important to note that if the radiator is heavily corroded, you should replace it.

Mast Problems

The mast on a forklift is the frame that facilitates the lowering, lifting, and tilting of the machine. The carriage and forks are attached to the mast and are powered by a hydraulic piston when lifting a load. Some common mast problems include the following:

· Not lowering or lifting properly

· Jerky lifting and lowering (forklifts should lift and lower smoothly)

· Not lifting quickly enough

The first course of action when you’re experiencing issues with the mast is to check the hydraulic fluid levels. If that looks good, move on to inspecting the forklift chains to see if there are any rusty, worn, or damaged sections that should be replaced.

Keeping any eye out for small forklift repair issues can help to prevent big problems from forming later. With that said, the fast-paced warehouses and job sites where lift trucks are found aren’t always conducive to noticing minute details. Fortunately, if you need assistance keeping up with regular maintenance or repairs, Darr Equipment has your back. Our product support allows you to customize a forklift repair and maintenance program that suits your business needs while maximizing productivity and minimizing downtime. Contact us today to learn more.

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