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3 Areas of a Forklift You Must Be Familiar With

3 Areas of a Forklift You Must Be Familiar With

Sep 30, 2016

People that drive everyday are very familiar with their cars.  They know exactly how all the controls work, how to read the gauges, how to check for potential problems, and also how the car is supposed run which makes any problems noticeable.  If you use a forklift for your job every day, you should have the same level of familiarity with your forklift that you have with your car.  Much like your car, your forklift requires regular maintenance and must be handled properly.  There are three very important areas of a forklift that you should become familiar with in order to keep your forklift operating and get the most out of it.  Knowing these three areas very well will help you take better care of your forklift and recognize when there is a problem.

3 Areas of a Forklift You Must Be Familiar With in Chicago ILFluid Reservoirs

The fluid reservoirs in a forklift are located in engine block, trans axle, and radiator.  Checking the fluids, including the gas, oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, battery acid, and hydraulic fluid should be part of your safety check before operating the forklift.  It is very important that all fluids are at the right level when driving the forklift because if any of these fluids are low, it can result in considerable damage.  Low antifreeze can cause the engine to overheat and low transmission or hydraulic fluids can cause damage to these systems.  Maintaining the level of fluids on a regular basis will help you become more familiar with the operation of your forklift.

Movable Parts

Forklifts consist of many moving parts that must all be in working order for the forklift to operate efficiently.  As part of your preliminary safety check, you should look under the hood and make sure the moving parts are lubricated and working properly.  If a part is not lubricated well enough, the friction can lead to damage.  Be sure to lubricate any forklift parts that need it and clean out any rust or oxidation buildup.

Dashboard Gauges

The dashboard in a forklift contains all the gauges, lights, and warnings that let you know how the forklift is operating.  It is important for you to not only pay attention to these gauges, but understand how to read them and what they are telling you.  If a certain warning light goes unnoticed, it can have very damaging or even dangerous consequences.  You should check all gauges and warning lamps right when you turn on the forklift and take care of any issues if there is a malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) on.  Most problems indicated by the warning lights are in a stage where they can be easily repaired, but ignoring these issues will only allow them to get worse.  You must also make sure each gauge and warning light works properly so that you are notified of any problems.  You can learn about each gauge and warning light on your forklift in the instruction manual.

If you are an everyday forklift operator, make sure you understand how to maintain these important areas of the forklift to keep it running efficiently for as long as possible.  Being familiar with these areas will help you learn more about how your forklift operates and recognize when your forklift needs maintenance.  Despite your best efforts to take care of your forklift, there will be times your forklift needs professional maintenance to get it back up and running.  Call the experts of RHI Lifts at (847) 447-0700 for reliable forklift maintenance and other Chicago forklifts services.

Signs That It’s Time to Replace your Forklift

Signs That It’s Time to Replace your Forklift

Aug 30, 2016

Forklifts are expensive pieces of machinery which is why many companies that use forklifts maintain them to keep them running as long as possible.  But like all heavy machinery, your forklift will eventually need to be retired and replaced.  The question is, when is it time to finally replace a forklift that has given you years of dependable service?  This can be a tough decision to make, but these tips will help you decide if it is truly time to replace your forklift.

Cost of Forklift Maintenance Becomes Too Much

All forklifts require a degree of maintenance throughout their operating lives to continue functioning efficiently.  However, your forklift will eventually become worn out to the point that continuing to maintain it is just too expensive.  Older forklifts may also experience unpredictable problems that are very expensive to fix.  At this point, it is often more cost effective to buy a new forklift.  New forklifts require very little and predictable maintenance for the first several years, and many of the parts will be under warrantee for a period of time to cover malfunctions.  If the maintenance costs of your old forklift are more than the cost and initial maintenance of a new forklift, it may be time to replace it.

Replace your ForkliftForklift Transmission Failure

Everyone knows that when the transmission of your car fails, it is time for a new car.  This same rule can be applied to forklifts.  Like in vehicles, forklift transmissions often fail after years of use and after any warranties have expired.  At this point, the cost of a new transmission is simply not worth it when the forklift is already old and might not have much time left even with a new transmission.  The amount of money it would take to replace the transmission can be used as a nice down payment on a new forklift.

Technology Becomes Outdated

Technology develops very fast, much faster than it takes for a forklift to live its entire operational life.  Generally, when a forklift is nearing the end of its life, the technology of that forklift is long outdated.  The maintenance and forklift parts for obsolete technology can become very expensive and it may be safer or more practical to upgrade to new technology.  New forklifts have the option of battery-powered instead of gas powered engines, which was not an option in the past, and modern displays and warning systems are much more accurate and easier to read.

If you are still using an old forklift that is costing you too much for parts, repair, and maintenance, it is time to consider retiring it for a new forklift.  You can actually save money by purchasing a new forklift that is more energy and fuel efficient than your older model with improved steering and braking systems for better and safer operation.  Call our professionals at RHI Lifts if you are considering a new forklift for your business in the Chicago area.  We offer new forklifts as well as forklift maintenance to make sure that your new machine runs for as long as possible.

5 Common and Avoidable Forklift Mistakes

5 Common and Avoidable Forklift Mistakes

May 26, 2016

Like any other type of vehicle, accidents can happen with a forklift and many of them are avoidable with proper forklift maintenance and operation.  Forklift accidents in the workplace can be very dangerous which is why operators go through training that includes forklift safety before getting their license.  Operators with experience know how to avoid mistakes that can lead to accidents by checking the forklift before using it and exercising caution.  However, because these mistakes are so common, it is important for forklift operators to know the most common mistakes and how they can be avoided.

Forgetting to Check Tire Pressure

The tire pressure of the forklift tires should be checked every time before use because maintaining good tire pressure decreases the risk for accidents while improving the fuel economy.  Forklift tires can be dangerous if they are under-inflated because this decreases traction which could lead to accidents, and also if they are over-inflated because this can cause your tires to blow out at the worst possible time.  Make sure you always check the tire pressure of your forklift with a gauge and adjust the tire pressure accordingly.

5-Common-and-Avoidable-Forklift-MistakesDriving Dangerously

Careless driving is one of the top mistakes made by forklift operators, particularly those with less experience.  This is normally the result of driving at too high of speeds which makes certain maneuvers very dangerous.  It can be tempting to move quickly on a forklift when there is a deadline approaching but it is best to never exceed the recommended speeds to avoid a major accident.

Forgetting to Check the Forklift Battery

Like the tires, the forklift battery should be checked before each use to make sure it has power.  If the battery loses power during operation, especially if it is lifting a load, the consequences can be dangerous.  Checking the battery, terminal, and power gauge before each use can help you avoid forklift accidents caused by loss in power.

Forgetting to Check the Brakes

The brakes are another part that should be inspected before each use of a forklift as they are subject to normal wear and tear and break failures can be catastrophic.  If you have to push harder on the break to get the forklift to stop, this could be a sign that your brake pads need to be replaced.  It only takes a few minutes to install new brake pads which can help prevent a major accident.

Not Using Turn Signal

Most warehouse settings involve foot traffic as well as traffic from forklifts which makes it important to exercise proper safety, including the use of turn signals, to avoid accidents.  This is one aspect of forklift safety that is continuously overlooked when using turn signals can easily prevent workplace accidents.  Even if the turn signals on the forklift are not working, you can still signal your turns with hand signals.

Forklifts are very important pieces of equipment in many warehouse settings but improper maintenance and handling can lead to serious forklift accidents.  You can help cut down on forklift related accidents in your workplace by making inspections of the equipment before use mandatory and emphasizing the importance of safe driving and turn signals.  If you have employees that need training to get their licenses, RHI Lifts provides complete forklift operator training that includes classroom study, a written exam, and hand-on training.  You can call us at (847) 447-0700 for more about our forklift operator training.