As winter rapidly approaches and as the days are getting shorter, weather conditions can get a lot worse, along with cold temperatures. This has an impact on equipment used both inside and outside as well as the working environment. But how can you continue your operations safely and productively? In this blog, we want to provide you with some winter forklift maintenance advice that will help you, your forklifts, and your drivers get through this winter.
What is forklift maintenance?
Forklift maintenance is a combination of inspections, preventative repairs, and a regular schedule of servicing as set out by the manufacturer.
A company's safety management plan frequently includes regular forklift maintenance to make sure the machine is safe to run and doesn't pose an unreasonable risk to the operators, other employees, products, or equipment. You are required by law to perform routine maintenance and any required repairs on your forklifts.
Planned forklift truck maintenance
It goes without saying that regular maintenance and servicing your fleet of lift trucks will take time and money. However, a service contract is the most economical and effective approach in the long run to maintain optimum fleet performance, prevent costly breakdowns and emergency repair costs. Service contracts are typically billed at a monthly, fixed rate allowing better cost transparency.
To keep your fleet moving, Toyota offers a range of tailored service packages, regardless of the types of forklifts in your fleet, so you can find the right reach truck forklift servicing package for your business.
Thorough Examination - LOLER and PUWER
A Thorough Examination (LOLER) is similar to an MOT for your car. It is a legal requirement if you own, lease or hire a forklift truck. It is your legal responsibility to ensure your forklift truck passes a Thorough Examination inspection, periodically. At Toyota, we’re accredited by the CFTS to carry out a Thorough Examination for you, on any make of truck.
Lift truck battery care
Batteries can be one of the most expensive components of an electric forklift truck, however correct maintenance will increase life, reduce downtime and costs, and improve operator safety.
Cold weather causes numerous problems for forklift batteries, including shortening the battery’s life span and reducing its capacity to charge.
Although you might store your truck outside, try to keep it in a dry area to prevent moisture from building up, and never leave the battery outdoors to prevent it from freezing. The most effective solution for preventing your battery against damage during the winter is to keep it warm.
A forklift battery that is losing charge quickly and not holding a charge is usually in need of maintenance. It is important that a batteries water level is maintained to ensure proper performance.
Forklift tyre care
Before starting to use your forklift truck, trained forklift operators should ensure all tyres are fully pumped up, and that the tread is still in good condition to maintain adequate traction on operating surfaces. Flat tyres and tyre blowouts not only cause costly downtime, but may also lead to potential accidents in the workplace.
A daily visible inspection of tyres should be adequate to pick up on general wear and tear; however, you may wish to carry out a more in-depth tyre check on a weekly basis.
Find out more about looking after your tyres during winter in our blog.
Cabs and lighting
Ensuring that your lights are working properly is essential all year-round, but it is even more important during the winter months. Not only can limited visibility be a factor of certain weather conditions but as the nights draw in it gets darker earlier.
It may also be worth considering a switch to LED bulbs if your forklift still has halogen lights. The performance of LED lights is unaffected by freezing conditions, while lasting longer and providing greater visibility.
For vehicles that have an enclosed cab and windshield, be sure the heater and windshield wipers are functioning properly and that all latches are properly lubricated for safety purposes.
Find out more about cabs and lighting in our blog.
Cooling System & Antifreeze
Check your antifreeze and coolant fluid levels to make sure there is enough fluid during periods of extreme weather conditions. Checking for leaks or damage on hoses and other important parts of the truck is also recommended.
Check and double check
Forklift safety is important in every operation, but even more so during this time of year. Try to start each shift with a series of checks to ensure that all equipment is safe to operate. You can simply follow the supplier’s recommended daily/weekly checks as outlined in the operator’s manual.
You should also allow the forklift to warm up properly, which is important for the engine and hydraulic system.
For more information, or to book a LOLER service, get in touch today.