It’s summer, a period when forklift maintenance becomes more important than at any other time of the year! Here are some tips that will help you throughout this hot period.
If you’re a forklift driver in summer, then this time of year has to be your favourite of them all. While everyone is in the office you are enjoying the sun driving around on your forklift.
However, this positive also comes with dangers that you have to be aware of. Temperatures rise throughout the summer and the heat can be difficult to work in when it’s humid. You can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and extreme fatigue. This can be a danger to you and anyone around you because of the type of vehicle you’re driving. On top of this, the summer heat can cause damage and wear to your forklifts if you’re not careful. Follow these top tips to make sure that you summer-proof your forklifts!
Although checking your forklift battery is typically part of everyday maintenance, it becomes especially important in the summer, because the heat can cause 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, and if you find that battery fluid levels are low, be sure you are refilling with water that is the right pH for your battery.
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.
Overheating is a major problem during the summer, and a radiator in good working order will help protect your forklift from meltdown. 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
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
- Squeaking noises that increase with engine speed
Are you 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 you do most of your work, and always carry a bottle of chilled water with you while at work. Make sure you 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, or later on in the afternoon when it has had an opportunity to cool.
Given our unpredictable weather you should plan ahead. If working outdoors why not consider a canopy option. These can be supplied and fitted onsite with various options from PVC to hard doors/windscreens.
Shrinkwrapping your overhead guard may be tempting, but please remember this drastically reduces visibility so this is not recommended.