Warehouses, manufacturing plants, and retail units depend on forklifts for transporting heavy loads. Day in and day out, forklifts navigate within the large set-ups to cut down manual labor. While regular maintenance keeps the forklifts in their best form and function, not paying attention to preventive maintenance and repair makes them vulnerable to breakdowns.
In the case that the situation could get out of hand, there are some essential warning signs to alert you in advance. Here are they:
Sign #1: Information panel warning light
To make it easy for you to gauge the need for maintenance or repair, the manufacturers provide warning lights. Spotting the warning lights is the easiest way of determining the need for maintenance or repair. These lights are the diagnostic system of your forklift and it indicates a problem whenever it lights up.
Warning lights lit up when the oil level is low, the engine has a problem, or tire pressure is not optimum. To spot these issues, all you need to do is keep a check on these warning lights.
Sign #2: Forklift chains
Forklift chains constantly move to keep your forklift moving. If lubricated and maintained properly, your forklift can offer six thousand hours of work time without posing any problem. But, if ignored, the chains become vulnerable to wear and tear and ultimately hinder the operation of your forklift.
Look out for signs like damaged links, kinking segments, rust, or corrosion. If you spot any of these signs, send your forklift for repair.
Sign #3: Puddled fluids
Move your forklift and check the ground. Puddles or trails of oil or other fluid beneath your parked forklift is a sign of leaking fluids. Leaking hydraulic fluid, engine coolant, or oil needs immediate attention. If not catered on time, leaks can damage your forklift transmission, hydraulic system, or engine.
So, whenever you spot fluid below your forklift, instead of topping it up, take it for repair to manage leaks.
Sign #4: Exhaust fumes
Unlike old forklifts, the more advanced models do not produce a lot of fumes. However, if you smell a strange odor, it may be indicative of engine issues. It’s important to deal with the problem immediately as it can hamper the health of the operator. If you have a gas or diesel forklift, keep your olfactory senses alert.
Also, optimize your warehouse settings as per the guidelines of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Maintain proper ventilation and indoor air quality to safeguard the health of the workers.
Sign #5: Shaky lifting
While lifting loads, observe the lifting motion — is it smooth or jittery? If the forklift shakes while lifting loads, get it checked immediately. Problems with chain, mast, carriage, or hydraulics hinder the regular lifting mechanism.
If ignored, it can take a toll on the safety of the operators.
Sign #6: Worn out forklifts
Lifting, transporting, offloading — your forklift manages heavy loads round-the-clock. Hence, the forks get weakened. In this case, if you let your forklift lift heavy loads, accidents are liable to happen. Moreover, with weak forklifts, the chances of damage to the load are often high. Also, with worn-out forks, the lifting capacity drops down by 20%.
To prevent any accident or damage to the valuable items, check the forks of the forklift. If they are bent, misaligned, or cracked, get the forks repaired or replaced.
The bottom line
Not paying attention to maintenance and repair of your forklift can hamper you and your work in more than one way. While it makes your workforce and workplace susceptible to damage, it also robs you of your valuable time and money. And, not to forget, it also damages your reputation in the market. Preventive care and proper training on driving a forklift are the best ways to make sure all of this doesn’t happen.
So, keep a check on these warning signs and take immediate action on observing any of these signs.