If you own a forklift, you will eventually have to invest in some replacement forklift parts. Even the best maintenance can only forestall repairs and replacements for so long. Over time, you will need to locate high quality (preferably new) parts to keep your machine in top running condition.
Since the complete failure of certain forklift parts can lead to major accidents and downtime (i.e. brake failure can be catastrophic if it happens while a forklift is carrying a load or turning to avoid people), it is important to replace certain parts before they break down.
Of course, some parts last longer than others. The forklift parts that need more frequent replacement are usually those that experience the most wear and tear. Here are a few of the most commonly replaced forklift parts and some clues to watch out for that could signal your attention.
Most Commonly Replaced Forklift Parts #1: Lift Truck Forks and Masts
The forklift fork is the most recognizable part of the forklift. These forks, and the mast to which they are attached, are what lift and carry the heavy loads around the warehouse or the work site. Because they carry the loads all day every day for the machine, they are some of the most commonly replaced forklift parts. Over time, even the tough metal comprising the forks and mast will wear out or break down, requiring replacement.
Because the forks carry the forklift's load, it is critically important that you catch any problems before the fork breaks down entirely. Dropped loads can create significant damage to your products and seriously injure or even kill someone in the load's path. As a result, consider replacement of this forklift part whenever your inspection or use reveals metal-on-metal grinding noises, cracks in the mast or forks, uneven forks, irregular mast function, or other issues that are outside the regular operation.
Most Commonly Replaced Forklift Parts #2: Forklift Brakes
The importance of brakes is clear. As the forklift part responsible for slowing and stopping the machine, they are critical in avoiding collisions, safely navigating turns, and adequately delivering loads where they need to go. If the brakes give out, you could face the serious injury or death of your employees, and collisions that damage both the forklift and your products.
Impending brake failure should be evident if you keep up regular inspections and stick with the recommended forklift maintenance plan. However, consider replacing this forklift part whenever you experience grinding or loud noises when braking, squeaky tires, or any change in the performance of the brakes during use. You should also replace brake parts like pads and rotors when they begin to show signs of wear or thinness.
Most Commonly Replaced Forklift Parts #3: Tires
Tires may not seem as important to replace regularly as other forklift parts, like brakes. However, they also need to be changed whenever they show signs of wear and tear in order to prevent issues such as blown or flattened tires that can cause accidents or downtime. In addition, your forklift may experience further damage (such as broken axles) if the forklift is used while the tires are flat or damaged.
OSHA requires that any tires that are missing chunks of rubber must be replaced, and the forklift taken out of service until the replacement of the forklift part is finished. Other issues that may require you to replace the tires are bald tires, cracked tires, and tires that squeak or otherwise make strange noises while being used.
Most Commonly Replaced Forklift Parts #4: Oil Filters
Oil filters keep your engine clean by filtering out contaminants and particles from your oil. These particles, if left in the oil, can cause excessive wear and tear on your engine. Unfiltered oil can also prevent optimum performance of the engine and reduce your fuel economy.
Typically, your technicians replace the oil filters at every oil change. However, if for some reason they neglect that step, or you neglect your regular oil changes, you may experience signs from your forklift that all is not right with this forklift part. For example, you may notice an unpleasant odor from your engine or unusually thick and heavy exhaust.
Most Commonly Replaced Forklift Parts #5: Batteries
Finally, one of the most commonly replaced forklift parts is the battery. This part of the machine provides the power to the engine, which means that a broken or drained battery leads to a forklift that will not start.
Replacing this forklift part is relatively easy, as long as you have extra batteries on hand. However, taking steps to prevent problems with the battery, such as making sure all lights are off on the forklift before you leave for the night, can extend its life.
You will need to replace certain forklift parts occasionally. In particular, you will likely need to replace lift truck forks, brakes, tires, oil filters, and batteries more often than you need to replace other forklift parts. By staying on top of your forklift maintenance, and by spotting and acting on symptoms of problems early, you can prevent accidents and total breakdowns with these parts. If you need assistance finding a forklift part, reach out to Darr. We have an extensive inventory of more than 50,000 parts, experience in forklift repair, and the expertise to keep your machine running in top condition.