Working With Forklifts – 4 Common Problems You Encounter

23 Mar 2017

Maintaining forklifts

Forklift has always been a necessity for many industrial and manufacturing firms due to its ability to reduce staff’s workload as well as increase efficiency in moving heavy goods and supplies from one point to another. However, as forklift is often heavily used, problems will often come up causing increased downtime and safety concerns.

If you are working with forklifts on a daily basis, then you need to be aware of these 4 most common problems and know how to troubleshoot them. This will also help minimise future maintenance and repair costs.

Faulty Steering

Your forklift steering may not be functioning properly due to various reasons. It can be due to low levels of steering fluid transmission which causes the steering wheel not transmitting directional changes fast enough. If this is the case, simply top up or change the fluid. Another reason for a faulty steering is worn-out gears in your forklift. This will require prompt attention in terms of calling a professional forklift service and repair provider and have the device thoroughly accessed before the problems get worse.

Lift or “Mast” Problems

The mast means the frame and lift mechanism of the forklift. One of the most common problems when operating the forklift is that the mast is not raising, lowering and tilting/shifting properly or quickly enough. The mast can also raise and lower so erroneously causing damage to the carried equipment or goods.

These often determine hydraulic problems meaning the hydraulic fluid level is low. The lower the fluid levels, the harder it will be for the forklift to rise, fall, tilt or respond to other mast movements. The first measure would be to make sure the forklift contains adequate amount of hydraulic fluid to function. If the problem lies at serious oil leakage in lift and tilt cylinder, you need to get it looked at by a professional immediately.

If the fluid level is correct and the problems still remain, check to see if the hydraulic systems and pump filters are clogged with debris. In this case, simple cleaning of the machine would be adequate to get the forklift to work again. Overloads could be another problem that is often overlooked by many operators, which often cause engine overheating and the mast not behaving properly. Simply unload the forklift and double check the recommended maximum load guidelines.

Worn-out Tyres

Like all cars and trucks, a forklift’s tyres will become worn-out at one time. Work tyres will negatively influence your forklift performance making it unsafe to operate. Hence, instead of putting off tyre replacement, it is essential to check your tyres regularly and replace them when required.

Electrical systems and starting problem

Every once in a while, the forklift will not start. The first place to look at is the battery, check if the battery has adequate charge and is in proper working condition. If the battery isn’t the cause, proceed to check if the machine has sufficient coolant. Insufficient cooling will overheat the forklift leading to shutdown of the machine. It is important to keep an eye on the forklift’s cooling system to minimise machine damage and downtime.

If the forklift still doesn’t start after you attend to the battery and coolant, there could be potentially more serious electrical malfunctions and issues involved. It’s best to get your forklift checked by a qualified servicing and repair expert.

Our friendly team at Simons Mechanical Services is more than happy to help make sure your forklift is in tip top condition to minimise machine damage and downtime. Call us on 0419 954 303 and let’s talk.


5 Oxford Court
Maida Vale
Western Australia 6057


Mobile 0419 954 303
Fax +61 8 9454 2696

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