Winter is just around the corner, and while everyone has started feeling the chilly weather, your forklift is no different!
Forklifts are powered-industrial trucks and an essential piece of equipment used in many companies for material handling. Whether it is transportation, warehousing, or other fields, it simply makes life easier and safer for employees. Knowing the importance of these incredibly useful machines, you have surely marked your calendars to take follow-ups with their maintenance.
However, as soon as winter arises, the care and maintenance of forklifts become challenging. The smooth operation of these machines greatly depends on the entire system, including tires, batteries, lights, hydraulics, etc. Another point is worth mentioning that it also depends on how an operator operates it!
So, make sure your forklift is all set for the winter, which is something absolutely crucial to avoid downtime, cold-weather headaches, and unexpected repair bills.
Here’s a list of things that you need to check:
Low temperatures certainly reduce the tire pressure, which in turn increases wear and tear. An underinflated tire has poor traction, and zero friction, which poses severe accidents in snowy conditions.
On the other side, an overinflated tire can bust out, causing vehicle fire and explosion. Air pressure tends to fluctuate and get lower in the cold winter weather. Thus, checking the air pressure of the tires once a day is essential. Not only checking tire pressure is important, but forklift training for operators is also imperative. After all, proper training can only help operators handle the lift safely and correctly.
During winter, issues with battery are common since engines need more power to start during the cold weather, and battery output drops heavily.
So, it is highly recommended to test the battery with a load tester to ensure it’s near to maximum strength. Check the cables and terminals if there is corrosion. If there is not much damage, it may be inexpensive to deal with and help avoid possible downtime.
Of course, thorough maintenance and care of the battery are even more crucial for electric forklifts. Keep in mind that batteries usually discharge quickly in extra-cold weather.
Engine and Hydraulics
Lowest temperatures can slow or jam the moving parts. So, make sure that they are always appropriately lubricated. Be aware that hydraulic systems need more time to warm up, so try to leave it to rest without a load for several minutes before operating it. You can then operate each hydraulic function to allow the oil/fluid to circulate.
Low visibility often becomes an issue in cold temperatures. Good lighting plays a vital role in the safe handling and operation of a forklift, especially when the sun rises late and the nights draw in earlier.
So, make sure that the lights on your forklift are clear and functioning correctly. It’s a good idea to replace the halogen lights with advanced LED bulbs that are not only long-lasting and brighter but also work much better in winter.
Read More: OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer
Snowplough the Areas
Make sure that the work area is clear of snow, mud, and other debris to avoid wear and tear on essential undercarriage components. Check for adjustment and proper track tension daily. Undercarriage breakdown will quickly cease the operation of your forklift. Keep in mind that you can count on Quality Equipment/Forklift to help get it to winter-ready.
For forklifts with enclosed cab, check the door latches are lubricated, heaters are working correctly, and the windshield wipers can move and handle the adverse weather.
If it does not have an enclosed cab, you can invest in a corrugated plastic cover instead of a vinyl wrap, which can tear easily and less effective when it comes to protecting the windshield from the exterior elements.
Timely Services and Inspections
Being watchful for maintenance needs is crucial as winter can be harsh on starters and chokes. A routine inspection will keep all equipment in safe working order.
While these checks are necessary, winter brings a flurry of extra activity in your forklift safety and maintenance needs. Do check with your supervisor for any other parts that should be inspected!
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