Forklift Maintenance Checklist

forklift image by Goran Bogicevic from

Forklifts are driven frequently in plant settings, construction areas and other places where heavy items need to be lifted or moved. Since the forklift is similar to any other driving device, it needs to be inspected frequently for safety and maintenance reasons. Having a planned checklist can help you ensure that everything is running well.

Visual Check

A visual inspection of the forklift should be a part of any maintenance checklist. The visual check should include the levels of oil, fuel and radiator fluid, the battery plug and the wheels of the forklift. You should also check any bolts, nuts or screws to see if any are loose or broken, and the carriage teeth of the forklift to ensure that they are not broken or chipped. Your visual check should also include head lights and warning lights.

Operational Check

Once the visual inspection is complete, you should look inside the forklift for operation-related maintenance checks. These include the foot brake, hand brake, parking brake, clutch and gear shift. You should also look for any lights missed during the first visual check, and inspect steering mechanisms, lifting mechanisms, tilting options and the forklift cylinders. Finally, you should turn on the forklift and note any obscure or unusual noises.

Underneath and Interior

After you have turned the forklift off, it's time to check under the hood. Running the engine should reveal whether there are any fluid leaks, including coolant and fuel. While you are underneath the forklift, check all belts and their tensions to see if they are worn or weak. Once you are done, place yourself into the forklift seat once more to do one last interior inspection. This should be done after the engine has been on for a while, and will reveal the true levels of meters and gauges. You should adjust the mirror, horns, controls and safety devices as you sit in the forklift. Lastly, change the seat settings so you can comfortably reach the pedals and steering mechanisms.


About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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