The Importance of Regular Maintenance for Used Forklifts

A man operating a forklift.

Numerous businesses rely on forklifts to perform a variety of material-handling duties. These machines are capable of lifting and transporting hefty cargo, but they require routine maintenance to operate efficiently and safely. Neglecting forklift maintenance can lead to expensive repairs, downtime, and incidents. In this article, we will examine the significance of routine maintenance for used forklifts and the advantages it offers.

Components of Regular Maintenance for Used Forklifts

Used forklifts should undergo routine maintenance that includes the following components:

Fluid Levels

Fluid levels are essential for the correct operation and maintenance of a forklift. To function properly, forklifts require multiple types of fluids, including oil, hydraulic fluid, and coolant. These fluids aid in lubricating moving parts, transmitting power, cooling the engine, and preventing component injury.

Checking fluid levels and filling them off as needed should be part of a forklift’s routine maintenance. Insufficient fluid levels can lead to overheating, equipment failure, and even accidents. To ensure that the forklift operates safely and effectively, it is essential to monitor the fluid levels and refill them on a regular basis.


Filters are essential components of the engine and hydraulic system of forklifts. They are designed to prevent dirt, dust, and other contaminants from penetrating the engine or hydraulic system and causing damage to the components. Filters aid in maintaining clean fluids and safeguard the engine’s internal components from wear and tear.

Filters can become clogged with debris over time, reducing their effectiveness and causing engine damage. Regular forklift maintenance should include inspecting and replacing filters as needed. A clogged filter can reduce performance, reduce fuel economy, and even cause equipment malfunction. Therefore, it is crucial to routinely inspect and replace the filters to ensure that the forklift operates smoothly and efficiently.


Tires are essential to the safe operation of a forklift and are an essential component. Regular forklift maintenance should include monitoring tire pressure and tread depth, as well as replacing damaged or worn tires. A forklift’s equilibrium, traction, and steering can be compromised by underinflated or worn tires, which can lead to accidents.

Regularly inspecting tire pressure and tread depth ensures the forklift’s optimal performance and safe operation. Before each use, forklift tires should be inspected and replaced if the tread depth is less than the recommended level or if they are damaged or punctured.


Brakes are indispensable for the secure operation of a forklift. Regular forklift maintenance should involve inspecting the brake system for wear and replacing worn brake pads or shoes. Failure of the brakes can result in accidents and cause severe apparatus damage or operator injury.

Regular brake system inspection and replacement of worn brake pads or cleats ensures that the forklift’s braking system functions properly and provides maximum safety. Regular inspection of the brakes should be performed as part of the routine maintenance program.


Checking the battery’s condition, including its charge level and connections, and replacing it if necessary, should be part of a forklift’s routine maintenance. A faulty or depleted battery can result in equipment failure or accidents, and regular maintenance ensures that the battery is always in excellent condition. Regularly inspecting the battery’s charge level and connections, and replacing the battery, when necessary, ensures that the forklift is always available for safe and efficient operation.

Electrical System

The electrical system of a forklift is essential to its operation, as it provides electricity to components such as the lights and horns. Regular maintenance should include inspecting the electrical system’s components and repairing or replacing damaged or defective parts to ensure the forklift’s safety and efficiency. Inadequate electrical system maintenance can lead to equipment failure, accidents, or outages.

Forks and Mast

The forks and mast are integral parts of the material handling mechanism of a forklift. Regular forklift maintenance should involve inspecting the prongs and mast for damage, such as cracks or bends, and replacing them as needed. During material handling, a damaged fork or mast can cause instability, leading to accidents and equipment failure. Regular inspection and replacement of the prongs and mast ensures that the forklift is always prepared to handle materials in a safe and effective manner.

Operator’s manual

It contains vital information regarding the maintenance requirements and operation of the forklift, such as safety guidelines and maintenance schedules. Regular maintenance of a forklift should involve perusing the operator’s manual and adhering to the maintenance schedule specified in the manual.

Failure to adhere to the instructions in the manual may result in hazardous operation, equipment failure, or costly downtime.

Advantages of Regular Maintenance for Used Forklifts

Improved Security

Regular maintenance ensures that a forklift is in excellent working condition, thereby reducing the risk of accidents resulting from equipment failure. The brakes, steering, and other critical components of a well-maintained forklift contribute to its safe operation. In addition, maintenance examines the forklift’s safety features, such as its lights and warning devices, to ensure that the operator can see and be seen, thereby reducing the risk of accidents.

Increased Productivity

Regular maintenance ensures the effective operation of a forklift. A well-maintained forklift is less likely to malfunction or break down, thereby decreasing downtime and increasing productivity. In addition to inspecting the forklift’s engine and other critical components, maintenance can improve fuel economy and reduce operating expenses.

Increase Lifespan

Regular maintenance can significantly extend a forklift’s life expectancy. By identifying and addressing potential issues early, maintenance can reduce the need for costly repairs or replacement by preventing the occurrence of more severe problems. Regular maintenance also ensures that a forklift operates at peak efficiency, thereby reducing component wear and extending its duration.

Reduced Maintenance

A malfunctioning forklift can cause significant delays in operations, which is costly for any business. Regular maintenance can prevent unanticipated failures and reduce the need for emergency repairs, which can result in extended outages. In addition, regular maintenance can help identify issues before they become serious problems, thereby reducing the risk of downtime resulting from extensive repairs or replacements.

Compliance with Regulations

The operation and maintenance of forklifts are governed by regulations and standards to ensure their safe operation and reduce the risk of workplace accidents and injuries. Failure to comply with these regulations may subject the business to hefty fines and legal complications. Regular maintenance is required to ensure that forklifts comply with these regulations and standards, thereby reducing the likelihood of incurring penalties and legal repercussions.

For instance, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations stipulate that forklifts must be inspected prior to each shift and any defects or issues must be resolved before the equipment is used. Regular maintenance of forklifts ensures that they are in excellent working condition, thereby reducing the likelihood of defects or problems that could result in noncompliance with OSHA regulations. Businesses must prioritize regular forklift maintenance to comply with regulations and avoid fines and legal issues that could damage operations.

Improved Resale Value

A forklift that has been properly maintained retains its value better than one that has not. Regular maintenance ensures the forklift is in excellent condition, thereby reducing the likelihood of unanticipated breakdowns and repairs. When it is time to sell the forklift, a well-maintained forklift is more appealing to potential purchasers because they can trust that it has been properly cared for.

This confidence can result in a higher resale value, as purchasers are willing to pay more for well-maintained equipment. A forklift that has not been properly maintained, on the other hand, may have a shortened lifespan and require more extensive repairs, reducing its value and making it less appealing to potential buyers. Regular maintenance is necessary not only for the safe and effective operation of a forklift, but also for preserving its value over time.

Enhanced Operator Satisfaction

Regular maintenance can increase operator satisfaction by ensuring a forklift’s seamless and efficient operation. Well-maintained forklifts are less likely to malfunction or break down, reducing operator frustration and stress. Additionally, routine maintenance can improve the ergonomics of the forklift, making it more comfortable and less tiring to operate.

Enhanced Reputation

A business’s reputation is crucial, and a well-maintained forklift can contribute significantly to its enhancement. When a forklift operates safely and effectively, it reflects favorably on the company and demonstrates its dedication to safety and quality. This commitment can enhance the company’s reputation and increase the confidence of its customers and stakeholders. In contrast, improperly maintained forklifts can cause accidents and product damage, which can result in negative publicity and reputational harm for the company.

By investing in routine maintenance and ensuring that forklifts operate safely and efficiently, businesses can improve their reputation and demonstrate their dedication to safety and quality, which can ultimately contribute to their success.

Bottom Line

Used forklifts require routine maintenance, which provides numerous benefits to businesses that rely on them for material handling duties. Maintenance ensures that a forklift operates safely, effectively, and dependably, thereby reducing the risk of accidents, boosting productivity, and extending its lifespan.

In addition, routine maintenance ensures compliance with regulations, increases resale value and operator satisfaction, and improves a company’s reputation. Therefore, businesses that rely on forklifts must prioritize routine maintenance as a vital aspect of their operations.

If you’re looking for used forklifts that abide by these regular maintenances, National Forklift Exchange can help you get one!

About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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