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Forklifts, like any heavy machinery you own in your fleet, will
require regular servicing in order to keep them in top working condition, and
in order to prevent major breakdowns that could lead to costly accidents or
downtime. Ideally, your machine came with a recommended maintenance schedule
from the manufacturer that detailed what types of forklift service were
required and when they should be completed.

However, sometimes, companies become confused by the different
kinds of forklift service that their machine should undergo. For example, when
it comes to maintaining your machine, there are two types of service you need
to implement: Routine and preventative. Both of these types of service are
important in keeping your forklift working well, but they do vary slightly from
each other. Here is a look at preventative vs. routine forklift service.


Routine vs. Preventative
Forklift Service: Timing

Perhaps the biggest difference between routine forklift service
and preventative forklift service is the timing of these tasks. While each type
of service happens on a predictable schedule, routine servicing typically
occurs daily or weekly, on an ongoing basis, thus the name “routine.”

For example, your forklift requires daily inspections before
every single shift. These inspections involve tasks such as checking the tires
and the brakes, keeping the batteries charged or the fuel tank full, inspecting
the machine for broken or bent forks, and cleaning out the forklift to prevent
the buildup of lint and dirt that could contribute toward a fire.

Other tasks that your forklift may require on an ongoing basis
are the greasing of chains, the topping off of fluids, or lubricating the mast.
These simple forklift service tasks are performed frequently and regularly as part
of the routine of using your machine.

Preventative forklift service, on the other hand, while
occurring on a schedule, does not happen as part of the regular routine of
using the forklift. For example, your forklift will require regular oil changes
and filter changes. It will need to have certain hydraulic components or other forklift parts replaced, or at least checked.
You may also need to replace tires, air filters, batteries, and other
components on a regular schedule.

While both types of forklift service are necessary for keeping
your machine running smoothly, routine servicing occurs as part of your regular
use of the machine, while preventative servicing occurs less frequently. It is
the timing of the tasks that influences whether they are routine or


Routine vs Preventative
Forklift Service: Required Expertise

Another factor that contributes to whether certain tasks are
routine or preventative is the expertise required to complete them. For
example, routine forklift service is typically accomplished by you or your
operators, right there on the work-site, because these tasks do not require
extensive expertise to complete. The forklift operator can complete daily
inspections, because they are more than qualified to look and listen for
problems like cracks, bent forks, creaky brakes, low fluids, and so forth.

On the other hand, preventative forklift service tends to
require the assistance of a trained technician. This is why you sign preventative maintenance contracts with
reliable dealers (like Darr). Those contracts provide you access to trained
mechanics whenever a preventative task (such as an oil change) comes up on your
manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

Examples of forklift service that require the help of a
technician include oil changes, filter changes, tire changes, battery changes,
and any inspection or repair that occurs as the forklift begins to wear out,
but before any major problems or breakdowns occur.


Routine vs. Preventative
Forklift Service: Removal from Service

When it comes to routine forklift service, you typically do not
need to interrupt your regular use of the machine in order to complete the
required tasks. For example, daily inspections occur before the shift, but then
your operator (as long as the inspection was clean), can go ahead and use the
forklift for their daily tasks.

Preventative forklift service, on the other hand, even
though it does not typically involve repairing broken parts, may require brief
downtime for your machine. For example, you may need to remove the forklift
from use in order to complete an oil change or filter change as part of your
regular preventative forklift service. This removal from service, while maybe
not convenient, will prevent longer downtimes later by ensuring that your machine
runs properly for longer.


Routine vs. Preventative
Forklift Service: Purpose

Finally, routine and preventative forklift service differ from
each other in their purpose. For example, routine forklift service is completed
in order to identify any potential problems that may be just beginning to show
themselves in your machine. It also involves tasks, like greasing chains and
lubricating forklift parts, that are intended to keep these parts in top
working order.

Preventative forklift service, on the other hand, typically involves, as its
name implies, preventing larger issues by either addressing smaller ones or
completing work on parts before they cause major issues. For example, you
change the oil to prevent more extensive damage to your engine. You replace
filters in order to prevent the buildup of crud in your engine. You address worn
out tires or other parts in order to prevent total breakdowns that could lead
to accidents and lengthy downtime.

Routine and preventative forklift service are both critical to
the proper operation of your machine. As a result, you will need to arrange for
both of these types of service to occur on the recommended schedule. Adhering
to a preventative maintenance plan is important, as your warranty will not
cover issues resulting from improper equipment maintenance. If you need
assistance with preventative maintenance, do not hesitate to reach out to Darr.
We offer trained technicians and comprehensive packages to help you achieve the
best possible maintenance for your forklift and all the machines in your fleet. 

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