Forklift Maintenance Tips to Improve Safety, Performance

forklift maintenanceEach year, more than two million work-related accidents occur in the United States. Educating employees about safety is crucial in preventing such incidents. Forklift maintenance is another vital component. Without proper maintenance, forklifts may contribute to an increased risk of accidents on the job. 

Regular forklift maintenance is vital for keeping machines operating safely and correctly. When maintained properly, forklifts can offer years of reliable, safe service. Neglected machines, on the other hand, break down more frequently, need to be replaced sooner, and put operator safety at risk. The next time you’re preparing a forklift for maintenance, keep the following tips in mind:

1. Perform Daily Inspections Before Use

A good way to identify potential issues early on is to perform daily inspections of your forklift before putting it to use. Spotting leaky hoses or faltering breaks ahead of time can seriously mitigate the very worst workplace hazards. This isn’t just a standard forklift maintenance recommendation – it’s actually an OSHA requirement. Such inspections ensure that forklifts are operating correctly and are safe to use. Be sure to check out the hoses, tire pressure, seat belt function, fluid levels, brake performance, and forks before using your lift each day. Our handy forklift inspection checklist can get you started on the right path!

2. Look to Manufacturer’s Recommendations for Guidance

Forklift maintenance recommendations vary from machine to machine. If you’re eager to keep your lift on track, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations. For instance, most forklift manufacturers advise an in-depth inspection or service after a given amount of time (oil changes, for example, are typically recommended every three month) or after a certain amount of usage (after 250 hours, for example). By following service recommendations provided by the manufacturer, you can ensure years of safe, efficient use of your lift. 

3. Replace Tires Regularly

Tires are among your lift’s most important components. In order to bring the vehicle to a complete stop, you’ve got to have proper tire grip. Like with any tire, forklift tire treads wear out over time and need replacing. Overlook this vital piece of forklift maintenance and operators may experience accidents. 

Even when tires aren’t in need of complete replacement, it’s important to check the tread and tire pressure regularly. If you notice that tires are frequently losing pressure, you may have a leak on your hands. While some tire leaks can be patched, replacement is often the only solution.

4. Keep Forklifts Clean

Many operators fail to realize how important it is to keep forklifts as clean as possible. When forklifts are covered in dirt and debris, they’re more likely to overheat and malfunction. Rather than dealing with the damage done by overheating, maintaining a clean forklift is a proactive way to stay safe and productive on the job.

It’s not just the outside of the forklift that needs to be cleaned regularly. The inside also needs to be decluttered frequently. A trash-filled cab can prevent operators from using all of the controls properly. While forklift maintenance and cleaning can be time-consuming, it’s well worth the effort.

The Impact of Forklift Maintenance 

preparing a forklift for maintenanceImagine a forklift worker with the most up-to-date OSHA compliant certification (we know exactly how you can get this training). This worker always does the “right” thing behind the wheel. They never go above the recommended speed. They always use their safety signals. They always put safety first.

Now, think about how safe they’d be able to drive a forklift with a flat tire, or a loose hydraulic fluid hose, or a broken backup alarm signal. All of a sudden, a safe situation becomes dangerous because of poor forklift maintenance!

How does forklift maintenance improve safety, and also save money in the long run? And how can you get started with your forklift maintenance plan?


OSHA’s online Powered Industrial Truck resource has plenty of great information. We recommend regular checks if you ever have any questions about your forklift safety.

The safety organization’s Pre-Operation e-tool is an outstanding resource that explains how different aspects of forklift maintenance and inspection can increase safety, and also create good habits for your entire company to follow.

By inspecting some key forklift components and safety accessories, a forklift maintenance plan helps prevent breakdowns, injuries, and accidents. Regular forklift maintenance – at least 3-4 times per week and at least 10-12 times per month – helps ensure a safer, more efficient forklift fleet. Just some of these parts include:

  • Lowering control
  • Brakes
  • Steering mechanism
  • Backup alarms
  • Other safety signals (lights, horns, etc.)
  • Tilt control

Make sure your forklift fleet has a regular maintenance schedule, and you’ll not only avoid accidents and injuries, you’ll also save money, too! Properly inflated tires, fluid changes, and other maintenance activities help forklifts perform longer. Just like your automobile runs better (and longer) with dedicated maintenance, the same thing is true with forklifts.

If you want the best way to increase safety and save operating costs, it’s pretty simple: get on a regular forklift maintenance plan!

How FLC Can Help With Safe Forklift Operation & Maintenance Procedures

A well-planned forklift maintenance program, like a thorough OSHA compliant training course, takes care of all the details. With our forklift training program, you’ll acquire the skills & knowledge you need to operate any forklift safely. Plus, you’ll also learn about the most recent OSHA compliant forklift maintenance policies. From properly inflated tires to regular fluid checks, we’ll show you how to create, implement, and maintain a forklift maintenance plan for your entire company!

Check out our courses and sign up today. puts you in the driver’s seat (literally) with your forklift career. With our training, you’re able to get a better job just about anywhere in the country. And for employers, helps any employee obtain OSHA compliance in less time than you think!

If you have any questions about our forklift training program or forklift maintenance in general, give us a call at (888) 278-8896.

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