5 Extremely Common Forklift Problems & Faults to Look Out For.

5 Extremely Common Forklift Problems & Faults to Look Out For.

Forklifts can be dangerous pieces of machinery at the best of times, let alone when they’re not in full working order. So, unlike the t-shirt you’ve been meaning to throw out, or the film you’ve been thinking about watching, a faulty forklift shouldn’t be ignored. Instead, when there’s any sign of a problem with your FLT, the problem should be sourced and solved. To do that, it’s wise to know some of the most common problems your forklift may face, right?

Lucky for you, that’s why we’re here today. We’ve compiled a list of 5 extremely common forklift problems & faults to look out for. And we’re starting with:

Faulty Steering.

Operating a forklift can be difficult at the best of times. With their relatively small turning circles and surprisingly high speeds, forklifts require a “forklift license” to operate legally. Of course, this makes sense, as an agile machine carrying large and heavy loads in a space occupied by other workers can create many hazards. So, if the steering becomes faulty, or doesn’t feel right, this can be a real issue, no matter how small or minor it may seem.

As with any vehicle, this problem can widely vary, from not responding as sharply as it should, to the steering wheel not controlling the wheels at all. However, any issues with steering should be reported and dealt with as soon as possible, as even the smallest of issues can have disastrous consequences. Not only this, but a small issue won’t sort itself, and could develop into a much larger and more expensive issue down the line.

If the fault in the steering is due to worn out gears or mechanics, this will require a professional service to fix. However, it may be due to low levels of steering fluid, which a simple top-up will fix.

Start-Up Problems.

When a forklift displays any problems when starting up, you’ll want to get it sorted before proceeding to use it. Much like faulty steering, any problems starting up the forklift can usually be put down to one of two issues – low fuel, or an electrical issue.

If the FLT is low on fuel, it will struggle to start correctly. However, filling up the fuel tank will, of course, sort this. However, if the forklift continues to struggle and splutter when starting up, it’s more than likely to be an electrical issue.

Your first port of call should be to check the forklift battery. This is a delicate area and should only be performed by a qualified professional. Ensure the battery is connected correctly, and that there are no visible signs of corrosion – these are two of the biggest causes of a faulty battery. If you’re still unable to find the fault, perform a battery function test. Any engine performing at below 80% should be sent in for servicing, as this could very well be the source of the problem.

Lifting Issues.

Of course, one of the main benefits of a forklift is the ability to lift and move goods from place to place. So, if there’s a problem with the lifting aspect of a forklift, not only does the machine become problematic, but you’re also putting people at risk of injury. The most common problem you’ll encounter with the lifting mechanics (or mast) of a forklift will be either erratic lifting/lowering, or a complete failure to do either.

Usually, this is due to the hydraulic fuel levels, and can easily be fixed. Much like steering fluid or regular fuel, simply top up the hydraulic fuel of your forklift, and the issue should solve itself. However, if there’s a leak in the lift and tilt cylinder of your machine, you’ll need to get it seen to by a professional.

If the problem continues even after you’ve topped up the hydraulic fuel levels and you’ve checked for leaks, it may be down to the hydraulic systems and pump filters are clogged with debris. Simply cleaning and maintaining these will solve the problem and keeping on top of this will prevent further problems of this nature. However, overloading the forklift and exceeding the weight limits can also cause this problem. So, ensure you don’t exceed these.

Problematic Tyres.

Like any other vehicle, forklifts will run into tyre-based problems from time to time. Luckily, these follow the same rules as regular tyre problems and are usually solved the same way.

Checking the tyres regularly and replacing them when needed, as they will wear down just as any other tyre will. Performing your checks before operating a forklift will help keep this problem to a minimum and help to limit any possible risks or dangers of using a forklift. See, we told you it was much the same as other vehicles.

Overheating Engine.

If you’re using your forklift regularly and often pushing the weight limits, you may encounter a common problem – an overheating engine. When this happens, the forklift will completely shut down, which can be a huge problem if you’re mid-way through transporting or lifting goods.

The best way to avoid this is to not only stay within the machines operating limits but to also check the FLT’s coolant system and radiator. Once again, blockages in the inner workings of the forklift can also create this problem, so these are other areas you’ll want to monitor.

Lastly, check the machine’s thermostat when operating, as, when working correctly, the thermostat will detect that the engine is getting too hot, and inject it with coolant. So, if the thermostat isn’t working properly, this process won’t happen, causing the engine to overheat. You’ll also want to ensure that coolant is topped up and at an appropriate level before operating the forklift.

That’s our list. Think we’ve missed anything out? Let us know in the comments section below this post!

If you’re looking for forklift training, at either one of our approved training centres, or your own premises, click here. Or, to read more blogs all about forklifts and forklift safety, click here.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there.

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