Hotter weather is just around the corner. Your forklifts and your warehouse need proper cooling procedures in place in order to avoid unnecessary and costly heat-related equipment (and driver) malfunctions.
Maintaining your forklifts should always be a priority in order to keep them running efficiently and safely – especially in extreme temperatures. Excessive heat exposure can lead to increased forklift engine wear and failure of parts, which in turn creates expensive replacements. We have a few seasonal preventative measures to add to your morning safety checklist.
First Thing First – Check the Battery
Though checking your forklift battery is typically part of everyday maintenance, summertime is a cause of concern for excess corrosion and low fluid levels. Extreme heat causes evaporation of battery fluids which can shorten the life of your forklift. Make sure you have the correct water levels in the battery cells. If you find that battery fluid levels are low, be sure you are refilling with water that is the right pH for your battery.
Inspect Cables, Chains and Connectors
Colder weather can cause cables to become brittle. The extreme shift in temperature can damage the wires and cables, so make sure you thoroughly inspect them to ensure they are intact. See to it that wiring isn’t exposed and that cable connections are firing. Inspect your forklift chains for any minor wear.
Protect Your Engine – Check the Oil
Having the correct oil for your forklift is essential to its functionality. Just like any other engine-powered machine, you want to be sure the oil is changed when recommended. A lack of engine oil (or old engine oil) can cause your engine to wear down and could also possibly lead to total engine failure.
Remember the Lifeline – The Engine
Overheating is a major problem during the summer, and a radiator in good working order will help protect your forklift from hot meltdown mode. If your coolant is low, be sure to check for any cracks before adding fluid. Thoroughly inspect your hoses for holes, cracks, or loose connections before you refill the tank and make sure you are using the right coolant for your specific forklift model. This is also an opportunity to make sure the radiator screen is free of any debris.
Fans & Belts – More Cool Essentials
Properly functioning fans and belts are needed to help keep your forklift from overheating. Engine fans help lower the surface heat of your engine, while belts keep coolant moving and add extra airflow over your forklift’s engine. Here’s what to look for when inspecting your belts and fans:
- Excessive wear
- Fraying in the belt system
Ensure your workers are cool, too!
Are your forklift operators taking precautionary measures to stay cool and hydrated? It’s just as important for drivers and workers to stay safe in extreme temperatures. Heat fatigue is a common issue for forklift truck operators. Consider placing fans in the parts of your warehouse where workers are the most. Make sure your operators are able to take breaks in a cooler environment throughout the day. If possible, schedule heavy workloads in earlier parts of the day before your warehouse has had a chance to heat up.
Good news – we give all of our inventory a thorough inspection during intake, as well as routine maintenance and a safety check before selling! If you’re ready to buy or sell material handling equipment, we’re ready to help.