When it comes to managing a forklift fleet, uptime is a top priority. When forklifts are overheating, they’re not
running, and that means reduced productivity and lost profits. Even during a heatwave, there are ways to keep your forklifts as cool as the pool on a hot, summer day. To help maintain your maintenance budget and business efficiency, the first step is identifying why your forklift is overheating. Here are three of the most common culprits that turn your perfectly working forklift into an oven:
Forklift issues are frequently the result of operation errors. Overloading forklifts with too much product can contribute to overheating as well as putting your people, products, and equipment at risk of dropped pallets due to equipment failure. Operators like to be efficient, but moving at top speed for too long can increase engine heat over the course of a shift.
Finally, the inching pedal that comes on most internal combustion (IC) forklifts, might be to blame. This feature helps to maneuver your forklift while raising the mast for load retrieval, but if your operators are mistakenly “riding” the inching pedal during everyday operation it can cause a host of issues like overheating the engine, wearing out the brakes quickly, and other general maintenance issues. You should only be using the inching pedal when retrieving loads. Make sure your forklift operators have up-to-date training.
Speaking of maintenance issues, missed routine maintenance can contribute to overheating forklifts too. Predictably, engines with low coolant levels don’t stay as cool as engines with proper coolant levels, but worn hoses can also increase temperature in your forklift’s engine.
Being penny-wise and pound-foolish when it comes to maintenance equipment can be problematic – stretching components like air filters past their optimal use can cause buildup and force your forklift to breathe thick, grimy air, causing major mechanical issues in your engine intake. Other common contributors to overheating forklifts include worn fan motors and damaged radiators. If a forklift is consistently overheating, checking maintenance records can be a quick way to identify the problem.
Finally, your work environment might be to blame for overheating forklifts. For outdoor operations, dust and rough
terrain can cause big issues over the course of a shift. Heat doesn’t just make it hard on you and your team, it
impacts your machinery as well. Be sure to top off your forklift fluids regularly and make space for breaks
throughout the shift.
Indoor operations can also face similar issues. Recycling, paper, textile, cotton, hay, and other high-dust and debris products can create large buildup issues for forklifts that lead to overheating. General facilities maintenance indoors needs to happen regularly, regardless of your product. A floor cleaning plan using sweeper-scrubbers to reduce dust and debris, as well as keeping aisles clean and clear of pallet wrap and broken pallet pieces is key for avoiding forklifts overheating like an oven.
If you have a question on this or any topic related to safety with your forklift, give our resident expert, Dave Bennet, a call or fill out the request form.