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Complete Summer Forklift Maintenance Tips

This summer season has brought some hot, humid weather to the Chicago area.  The hot summer weather not only takes a toll on those who work outside, but it can also take a toll on your forklift equipment.  Excessive heat can put extra wear and tear on the forklift and increase the risk of damage to the engine, tires, and other parts due to overheating.  If you experience significant damage to your forklift, it can cause your company to fall behind with your work and force you to pay for expensive repairs.  Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help protect and maintain your forklift fleet through the summer weather.  The following forklift maintenance tips will help you keep your forklifts working properly though the summer heat.

Inspect the Forklift Battery

The battery is very important for keeping your forklift running but the extreme heat can cause some issues.  The fluids within the battery can evaporate in hot conditions, increasing the risk of corrosion and drastically shortening the life of the battery.  You must regularly check forklift batteries and their fluid levels during the summer to ensure that the fluids don’t reach dangerously low levels.  If a battery has low fluid levels, refill it and make sure the water you put in your battery is at the right pH level.  This is especially important for electric forklifts.

Check Fans and Belts

forklift-service-maintenance-repair-chicago-ilThe fans and belts within your forklift play an important role in preventing the forklift from overheating.  The internal fans circulate air to help keep the engine cool, and the belts move the fans and engine coolant.  Both parts are subject to minor damage from repeated use and need to be replaced every now and then.  Make sure you check your fans and belts for cracks, holes, or general wear and tear.  Damaged belts and fans should be replaced right away.

Check Wires and Cables

Extreme heat can cause the wires and cables within the forklift to become brittle and corroded.  If a wire breaks, it can cause your forklift to stop functioning.  You must check the wires and cables in your forklift to ensure that they are properly connected and not damaged.  You must replace wires that have become frayed or exposed right away.

Check Engine to Prevent Overheating

One of the biggest issues that can occur with your forklift in the summer is overheating of the engine.  Just like in your car, an overheated engine can lead to a range of issues, including shortening the life of the engine.  Follow these tips to help prevent your internal combustion engine from overheating in the summer:

  • Check your coolant levels often and add more coolant if the levels are too low.
  • Replace the forklift coolant fluid often because it can deteriorate and result in damage to the coolant system.
  • Inspect the radiator for any damage. If the radiator has been damaged, it will depressurize which can cause the coolant to stop flowing and lead to overheating.  A damaged radiator can also affect the transmission.
  • Check for cracks or holes in the radiator hoses, especially if your coolant levels are always low. If you find a radiator hose that is damaged, replace it immediately.
  • Check the fuel filters and oil levels on your internal combustion engine to keep it running smoothly.

Check Forklift Tires

The summer heat can lead to a few issues with forklift tires, including cracking or wear and tear of the rubber, and high tire pressure.  Check the condition of the rubber on the tires before using the equipment.  If the rubber looks worn out or cracked, it might be time for new tires.  Proper inflation is important as well for smooth operation and preventing accidents.  Always check the tire pressure before use because the summer heat can cause the tire pressure to rise and increase the risk of a blowout.  Let some air out of the tires if the pressure is too high.

Keep Your Workers Protected

Protecting your expensive forklift equipment from the summer heat is important, but not as important as making sure your workers are safe in the heat.  Heat exhaustion and heat strokes are common issues among those who work outside during the summer, and these conditions could have dangerous consequences.  Make sure your workers are properly hydrated during the day and allow them to take breaks in a cooler part of your building.  Also, assign the heaviest workloads for the mornings before the temperature rises.

If your company relies on your forklift fleet through the summer, make sure you follow these summer forklift maintenance tips to keep your equipment in working order in the summer heat.  Taking the time to do effective forklift maintenance will help prevent costly issues with your forklift that will affect your production.  If you do have any problems with your equipment, contact our experts at RHI Lifts for forklift repair and maintenance services in Chicago, IL.  We can provide a wide range of forklift repairs to get your equipment up and running again.