Forklift owners have a duty to maintain their equipment. Failing to do so could lead to costly malfunctions, unsafe work environments, and trouble with government regulators.
That said, forklift servicing and maintenance can get expensive fast. If forklift maintenance is eating away at your profit margins, keep reading to discover 10 ways to reduce maintenance costs.
Key Methods for Reducing Maintenance Costs
1. Train Your Forklift Operators
A forklift can do a lot of damage if not operated properly. For example, it could collide with other property, damaging itself and other equipment. On top of that, the long-term effects of poor forklift driving can lead to more wear and tear, which also ramps up forklift maintenance costs.
This makes it important to train forklift operators on how to use the machine properly. To do this, you can conduct regular training and ensure your workers get OSHA certified.
2. Perform Daily Inspections
Another way to lower forklift maintenance costs is to perform daily inspections before each use.
First, inspect the forklift visually by checking the wheels, seat belt, oil and gas levels (or battery level if electric), and other visible components. Then inspect the forklift operationally. Does the engine turn on? Do the lights, signals, wipers, horn, transmission, brakes, steering, and exhaust system all work as designed?
If so, the forklift is probably ready for use. If not, get it checked out first. Ignoring maintenance issues may lead to costly repairs later on.
3. Keep Your Floors in Good Shape
Keeping the floors at work in good shape helps keep forklift maintenance costs down.
Bad floors can wear out the forklift faster. For example, if the floors have holes, uneven surfaces, debris, or other hazards, they will take a bigger toll on the forklift’s tires.
It pays to keep your work floors smooth and unobstructed as much as possible.
4. Perform Regular Forklift Maintenance
In addition, performing regular forklift maintenance may help lower your maintenance costs. This is because neglecting maintenance or doing it irregularly tends to lead to costly repairs and even equipment replacements.
For example, if you never change your forklift’s oil, you could end up ruining the engine, which costs much more to replace than it costs to perform regular oil changes.
You may also want to check and replace a forklift’s tires so you don’t accidentally end up damaging the wheels (especially since forklifts don’t have suspension).
Set up a forklift maintenance schedule and keep to it. A little preventative maintenance can save you a lot of money in the long run.
5. Perform Small Repairs In-House
When it comes to repairs, you can save a lot of money by doing them in-house. A professional forklift mechanic may charge high prices for their services.
If it can be a small DIY repair, let it be. There’s no need to outsource what you can do yourself. Just make sure you actually know what you’re doing.
For example, if you need to replace a light on the forklift, verify what size bulb you need before you go out and buy a replacement. If you’re unsure how to swap out the old one for the new, look up instructions online.
Regular forklift cleaning is a great way to reduce wear and tear on your equipment. Explore our blog to learn more about how you keep your machine in good working order.
6. Outsource Big Repairs
That said, some repairs are too big to handle on your own. In that case, it’s actually cheaper to hire professional help.If you try to fix something on your own, you may create further damage. In other words, you may do more harm than good.
For example, if the forklift’s transmission needs to be replaced, hiring a professional mechanic to fix it is probably the best maintenance strategy. Don’t create more maintenance costs by trying to skimp on needed repairs. Sometimes, hiring a professional is more cost effective.
7. Avoid Owning a Mixed Fleet
There are many different forklift brands out there. But to save on maintenance costs, it helps to limit your forklifts to one or two manufacturers. This way, you don’t have to deal with many different companies for parts and you don’t need to train your workers how to operate different models of forklifts.
Do your research, choose a forklift manufacturer you like, and try to stick with them. Your forklifts will be much easier to manage and maintain that way.
8. Only Use Forklifts for Appropriate Jobs
Not every job requires a forklift, and if you use a forklift anyway, it may not be good for the machine. The improper use of a forklift will then lead to higher maintenance costs.
Instead of trying to do everything with a forklift, own different machines for different tasks. It may cost more upfront, but it’s worth it in the long run. Always try to match the truck to the job.
9. Consider Using Electric Forklifts
You may also consider investing in electric forklifts. They require no gas and are much easier and cheaper to maintain as a result.
Though electric forklifts may be more expensive than gas-powered ones, the long-term savings make them well worth the investment.
If you get an electric forklift, try to get one that uses lithium-ion batteries instead of lead acid ones. They require less upkeep and are less likely to overcharge.
10. Consider Renting Forklifts
Finally, you can eliminate forklift maintenance costs altogether by renting forklifts instead of buying them.
Yes, you will need to pay a regular rental fee, but in exchange, you won’t have to worry about regular maintenance, management, or repairs. The rental company will take care of all of that for you.
You get all of the benefits of a well-maintained forklift without any of the work. Just make sure that paying the rental fee will fit into your long-term budget.
Adding It All Up
Maintaining forklifts can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Now that you’ve learned some ways to bring forklift maintenance costs down, you can make your business more efficient.
Looking for superior forklift maintenance in Houston? Contact HTX Material Handling today to get started. We look forward to chatting with you!