Forklift Repair vs. Replacement: Which Is Best For Your Equipment?

Retiring a forklift is a tough decision. Forklifts don’t come cheap, and if you’re unsure how to measure forklift life, you may be putting your equipment to rest too soon. However, keeping a forklift in service for too long negatively impacts productivity and safety in your facility.

Is your lift truck in constant need of repairs and forklift services? Does it lag behind the rest of your forklift fleet? Understanding how soon repairs should be made for a forklift and when purchasing a new forklift is the better option is vital to effective fleet management. Keep reading to learn how to track the lifespan of a forklift and optimize your fleet.

Determining Forklift Life

The economic life of a forklift is measured in hours. The average forklift runs for 2,000 hours per year, and the average total lifespan of a forklift is 10,000 hours. However, if you use a specialized machine from a high-end manufacturer, the lifespan of a forklift can be as long as 20,000 hours.

Other factors significantly influence the economic life of a forklift. Equipment used for multiple shifts in cold temperatures will have a different expectancy than a lift truck used indoors in a clean environment. By scheduling routine forklift maintenance, you can prevent sudden breakdowns in your fleet and ensure your machines operate as efficiently as possible.

Forklifts that don’t receive routine inspections and repairs can inflate your maintenance costs. Unexpected malfunctions lead to downtime, and if you ignore the problems, the cost of ownership can skyrocket. If you want to prevent untimely equipment failure and put off a forklift replacement, build a planned maintenance schedule and stick to it.

Another variable in forklift life is whether the truck is electric or uses an internal combustion engine (ICE). Electric forklifts last longer than ICE machines because electric lift trucks have fewer moving parts. A battery typically lasts around five years.

How Soon Are Forklift Repairs Needed?

Regular forklift maintenance makes all the difference in the lifespan of a forklift. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that workers shouldn’t use a forklift if it isn’t in excellent operating condition. A damaged forklift affects productivity in your facility and creates unsafe conditions for your employees.

You should perform forklift repairs and maintenance based on the hours used to ensure safety and efficiency. Schedule forklift repairs for every 200 hours a truck is operated. A professional technician can ensure the safe operation of your machine with replacement parts like fuel, air, and oil filters. They can also inspect the distributor point as well as drive belt tension, sparkplugs, and rotors.

Other Indicators of Forklift Repair

Along with age and scheduled maintenance, you should also conduct forklift repairs if you experience any of the following circumstances:

  • Unusual noises
  • Fluid leaks
  • Reduced performance
  • Warning lights and alarms
  • Break problems
  • Electrical issues
  • Tire wear
  • Mast problems
  • Warehouse collisions

Regular maintenance and prompt attention to any signs of trouble are key to preventing major forklift breakdowns and ensuring the safety of operators and those around them. Developing a preventive maintenance schedule and encouraging operators to report issues can help keep forklifts in good working condition. Additionally, many companies choose to have their forklifts inspected by qualified technicians regularly to catch potential problems before they become serious.

Do you have faith in your forklift fleet? HTX Material Handling can increase the lifespan of your forklift with routine maintenance and repair services.

Should You Invest in a New Forklift?

Choosing between a forklift repair or purchasing a new forklift altogether is easier with the aid of a cost analysis. Before making a decision, estimate the maintenance cost per hour for the machine. New forklifts have a low cost of ownership, but the maintenance costs surpass the lift truck’s usefulness over time. If you need forklift repairs for one machine more frequently than any other truck in your fleet, it’s time to consider a replacement.

When performing a forklift cost analysis, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the maintenance cost per hour for the lift truck?
  • Has it had more than four forklift repair orders in the last year?
  • Have maintenance costs doubled in the previous year?
  • Have there been any accidents?
  • How old is the forklift?

If your machinery has served 10,000 hours, it may be time for a new forklift. Consider the conditions to which you’ve exposed the lift truck and whether it’s a gas-powered or electric forklift. If your forklift has created dangerous situations by dropping loads or losing power during operation, it’s a good idea to forego forklift repair and take it out of commission.

The Final Verdict

So, which option is best when you’re experiencing equipment problems: forklift repair or purchasing a brand new forklift? The answer ultimately depends on the multitude of factors discussed.

The more you use your truck, the more often you should conduct forklift repairs. If your forklift isn’t functioning as efficiently as it used to, and you’ve put nearly 10,000 hours of use in it, you may want to consider getting a replacement. However, if an unexpected dip in performance has suddenly arisen and your machinery hasn’t been inspected in a considerable time, it may simply need repairs.

If your equipment is beyond the point of repair, but you’re not quite ready to invest in a new forklift, renting is another viable option. Forklift rentals are an affordable way to keep your warehouse productive without making any hasty commitments. They also allow you to try out potential equipment options you may eventually be interested in purchasing.

Whether you need help establishing a forklift repair schedule or a new forklift for your warehouse, it’s best to consult a specialist like HTX to determine your needs.

Get the Forklift Repair Services You Need With HTX Material Handling

Ensuring your lift trucks are in good condition promotes efficiency and safety in your facility. Your workforce stays safe during operations, and you keep the cost of ownership for your forklift fleet manageable. As an industry-leading material handling supplier, HTX Material Handling provides thorough, cost-effective forklift repair services. Additionally, we allow our customers to purchase new forklifts from a fleet of brands, including Linde, Baoli, MOFFETT Forklifts, and more. With us, you’ll have access to a wide range of resources and a deep knowledge base.
Our forklift maintenance services help you catch issues before they cause malfunctions and unexpected downtime at your warehouse. With a proactive approach, you can prevent expensive repairs and reduce your employees’ chances of injury. Contact us today to learn more about our services and equipment.

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