Tuning Forklifts for Optimal Performance

what you need to know

Building a forklift that works perfectly for every application can be challenging. After all, what works for a small mom and pop retail store may not work as well for a high-throughput forging application. Options such as lights and attachments allow you to customize each forklift to fit your needs, but did you know that adjusting forklift settings can be just as critical to optimizing performance and efficiency?

Many forklifts today come standard with pre-set performance and operational settings that can be adjusted either through a built-in multi-function display or an external device such as a laptop. Core Electric and 3-Wheel Electric models, for example, each have over 60 different settings that can be fine-tuned through the display. These settings are protected via passwords to prevent access to unauthorized users.

Settings on most forklifts are highly adjustable as most parameters have eight or more levels of adjustment. Understanding how these settings affect forklift operation is the first step in realizing productivity and efficiency gains. Below are a few examples of settings that can be adjusted and how they can impact your operation. If you feel like you may benefit from optimizing your forklift’s parameters, please reach out to your local Equipment Specialist for expert support and service.

Forklift Acceleration, Speed, and Braking Adjustments


These speeds can be adjusted to increase productivity or slow down forklifts for when precise handling is necessary. These settings can also provide energy savings in applications where quick acceleration or faster travel speeds are not necessary.

Accelerator Pedal Response*

Adjusts sensitivity to the initial depression of the accelerator pedal. Higher settings will reduce the delay between when the pedal is depressed and when the forklift begins to accelerate.

Rollback Speed*

Have a non-employee as a forklift service technician means elimin Trucks with the rollback feature have a momentary delay followed by a controlled descent when the accelerator pedal is released while on a grade. This setting allows the travel speed and time before rollback to be adjusted.ation of human resource duties. Payroll, benefits and liability expenses are not incurred and there’s no hiring process. Expenses paid to the technician are only for the maintenance time required to tend to the machinery. There is no idle time expense.

Over Speed Alarm

An alarm sounds on the forklift when a pre-set travel speed is exceeded.

Regenerative Braking* – Adjusts how quickly the truck slows down when the operator’s foot is taken off of the accelerator pedal. Strength of “plugging” response can also be adjusted (when travel direction is switched between forward and reverse).

Forklift Lift, Maintenance, and Power Adjustments

Hydraulic Functions

Lift, lower, tilt, and attachment speeds are all adjustable. This includes starting, inching, maximum, acceleration, and deceleration settings. These settings can also provide energy savings in applications where faster hydraulic speeds are not necessary.

Lift Interrupt Level*

Used to tune the depth of discharge of a battery before the truck reaches lift interrupt. When the battery reaches the set level, the lift function will be disallowed. This allows the forklift to be matched to the battery size and type that is installed.

Planned Maintenance Hour Meter

An alarm sounds to inform the operator when the forklift is due for planned maintenance. The maintenance period can be adjusted and the alarm can be overridden.

Engine Auto Off/Auto Power Off

Engine (IC models) or battery power (electric models) will automatically turn off during a certain period of inactivity. The amount of time before it turns off can be adjusted or the setting can be turned off entirely.

*Applies to electric forklifts only.

Have more questions? Call Thompson & Johnson today to speak to an equipment specialist or fill out a Customer Request Email Form above! 

Got Questions?

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.