As winter approaches, it is crucial to ensure that your lift trucks are properly maintained to prevent unexpected downtime, repair costs, and employee injuries. Whether you have a forklift service company handle the maintenance or prefer to do it in-house, you shouldn’t overlook pre-season tasks. These tasks help ensure your fleet is ready for the colder months ahead. For instance, ensuring you have the right forklift tyres is essential for overall performance. The right tyres will ensure your forklifts perform optimally in wet conditions ensuring high productivity. Besides the tyres, here is how you can maintain your forklift during winter.
Parts To Focus On
While winter months bring relief from hot weather, they also come with the reality of harsh outdoor weather. These are the key areas of the forklift you should focus on to ensure the safety of the workers and overall efficiency.
- The Lights
Forklift lights are essential, but when winter hits, ensure they are working properly. Sometimes the day visibility can be poor or get dark faster. It would be best if you had the proper lights when this happens.
- The Tyres
The winter period requires low tyre pressure. So, check and ensure your forklift fleet has the right air pressure. Additionally, ensure the treads on the tyres are deep to contain the traction of outdoor surfaces.
- The Battery
Ensure the battery is at maximum strength, clean and check the cables for any damages. If the forklift battery is almost at the end of its life, it’s better to replace it than have it break down during operation. Also, please beware that the battery discharges quicker in cold conditions.
- The Cooling System And Antifreeze
Forklift manufacturers in India design most forklifts with antifreeze for extremely cold conditions. And since the equipment will be working in these cold temperatures, ensure the antifreeze and the coolant are adequate for your intended tasks. Overall, inspect the hoses for any leakages or damages.
- The Hydraulics
Ensure the moving parts of the forklift have proper lubrication. This will keep the equipment working efficiently as moving joints tend to stiffen in colder temperatures.
- Operator Preparation
Your operators may not be part of the forklift but aid the equipment’s operation. Always ensure the operators have the proper guidelines and tools to operate in these conditions. Ensure they dress warmly and appropriately to work both indoors and outdoors.
Forklift Maintenance Tips
Once you know the forklift parts that need extra care and attention and tend to them, it’s time to ensure the forklift remains in good working condition to complete the task. So, you can use these winter maintenance tips to help you.
- Inspect The Brakes
Brakes are vital for forklift operation, especially during winter. Reliable braking can help prevent injuries and accidents. So, always inspect the brakes before using the forklift and ensure they are working well, and if there is a need for repairs, make them before shift time.
- Prepare The Working Area
If the working area is covered in ice, de-ice it before the operation begins. This will make the surface safer for the forklift tyres and ensure the operators’ safety. Failing to de-ice the working area can create obstacles that may pose hazards even if you have the best-suited forklift.
- Let The Forklift Warm Up Before Use
Before starting the operations, it’s crucial to let the forklift engine run for a while. This lets its system and the hydraulics warm up for the operation. Failing to conduct this step can increase the machine’s wear and tear and fuel consumption.
- Change The Oil
All types of machinery require a regular oil change, and forklifts are one of them. Changing the oil will help keep the engine running smoothly and prevent any build-up that could otherwise cause problems.
- Plan For The Weather In Advance
Winter months can be harsh early on; sometimes, you might get caught unprepared and unready. It’s best to prepare in advance, in the warmer months and while the sun is still up. Ensure all the forklifts have up-to-date maintenance, all parts are working properly, and operators understand what to do when the time comes.
You must maintain a proper maintenance plan to beat this weather and still meet your warehouse operations. Avoid cutting any corners, as this could lead to costly mistakes. Ensure the operators drive with caution and have proper winter clothing. Hi-vis clothing is also essential for conditions when visibility is an issue.