When to Repair or Replace Your Forklift

Posted by: admin on October 21, 2014

Much like cars, forklifts benefit from regular maintenance. This includes oil changes, tire & fluid checks, light and warning indicator replacements and many other useful “tricks of the trade.”

When to Repair or Replace Your Forklift

When to Repair or Replace Your Forklift

When is the best time to repair your forklift? And after so many repairs and maintenance, when should you start thinking about replacing Old Reliable?

OSHA (Occupation Safety and Health Administration) has a handy forklift safety check guide on their website, and many supervisors and company safety administrators use this information as a guideline for their own forklift maintenance schedules.

OSHA recommends a daily check before a forklift is used. This can be during the morning, afternoon or evening shift, just as long as it is done once per day. Based on these OSHA checks, you should repair and fix your forklift if any of the following things are not working properly:

For the tires, here are a few things to look for:

  • The 50% wear line just above the tire size—if the top of the tire meets the wear line, it is time to replace them.
  • Pieces of rubber starting to fall off. This is caused by debris and other objects on the floor which the forklift drives ov
  • Tears or flat spots on the surface of the tires.
  • Underinflated nor overinflated pressure.

When checking the forks, if you see any of these signs, they need to be replaced or repaired:

  • Surface cracks.
  • The blade or shank isn’t straight.
  • The fork angle from blade to the shank is not straight.
  • There is a difference in height.
  • The positioning lock isn’t in working order.
  • The fork blade shows signs of wear.
  • There is wear on the fork hooks.
  • The fork marking is not readable.

Look for these signs when inspecting the safety attachments:

  • Seat belts and similar restraints are torn.
  • Horns and backup alarms do not sound when the forklift moves/reverses.
  • The fire extinguisher has expired—the seal on the neck has weakened.
  • Warning lights do not flash.
  • Directional signals and brake lights do not light up.
  • Mirrors are broken.

Look for these signs when inspecting hoses that need repair:

  • Abrasions; blisters; nicks; cracks; cuts; hardness, or color changes.
  • Leaks—look for puddles of fluid around the equipment, low fluid levels in the reservoir, or greasy/dirty hoses.
  • Contact with other hoses or metal parts.
  • Close proximity to a high heat source.
  • Twisting or kinking–make sure there is enough slack to allow for length changes under pressure.

The tank inspection involves:

  • Make sure the fuel tank is not dented in any area.
  • Make sure the fuel tank is secure, the valve open, and check the fuel level.
  • Check the hydraulic tank’s oil level and for any leaks.

Additional areas to inspect on a forklift before operating include:

  • The air cleaner indicator—clean or change it as needed.
  • The radiator’s coolant levels and for leaks.
  • Make sure the overhead guard isn’t damaged.


Once you’ve finished performing these maintenance checks, you may wonder if they are truly worth it. Here are a few of the many benefits you can experience with preventative maintenance:

  • Efficient production.
  • Improved use of in-shop maintenance personnel with less emergency work.
  • Increased control of spare parts inventory and reduced parts usage.
  • Less downtime with equipment that is being repaired with scheduled inspections.
  • Increased life expectancy of forklifts and other equipment.
  • Fewer costs given to premature purchases of new equipment.
  • Reduced repair costs from less frequent equipment breakdowns.
  • Reduced number of injuries and fatalities.

Your sound judgment combined with regular checks will ultimately determine when your forklift needs repaired and replaced. Hopefully this blog points you in the right direction!

Safety is related to proper forklift maintenance – in fact, they often go hand in hand. CertifyMe.net offers outstanding training for all skill levels of forklift operators. Our training modules feature a 100% pass rate and have been used by many well-known companies, including Harley-Davidson, Jenny Craig, Siemens, Fuji Film and others.

To speak with a CM training specialist, please call (888) 699-4800. Our contact page also has valuable information for anyone looking to become OSHA-certified today.


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