Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
| May 23, 2014
Do you have a forklift ready for retirement? There are signs you should look out for. Before they turn into breakdowns that risk worker safety or interrupt operations.
When a Forklift is Ready to Retire
After a certain number of years, all forklifts develop issues. Repetitive use carrying heavy loads takes its toll on the equipment’s moving parts. Regular maintenance helps a lot, protecting those moving parts and the workers who use them…but nothing lasts forever.
There’s a point where continuing to use an older forklift doesn’t make safety-related and financial sense. We call this point “end of life.” After this point, an older forklift has a higher-than-average risk for use. And they cost more to maintain.
If you track a forklift’s age and maintenance schedule, it’s easy to estimate when a forklift is ready to retire.
What? You didn’t do that for all your trucks? Uh oh.
Luckily, a forklift will show signs it’s ready for retirement. All you have to do is spot them.
Signs a Forklift is Reaching its End of Life
These are some signs to watch out for:
1. It’s been in operation for over 10,000 hours. All forklifts with 10,000 operating hours on them need a thorough systems check to make sure it’s still safe to use. It’s closer to 20,000 operating hours? It needs retiring very soon!
2. The forklift’s maintenance cost doubled (or more) in the past year. Check your balances. Are you spending more on certain forklifts than others?
3. The forklift is down more than it’s up. If a forklift has had more downtime than uptime, it’s a prime candidate for retirement.
4. There are more than 4 work orders on the truck in the past year. Number of work orders, whether small fixes or major repairs, can indicate a forklift is on its last legs.
5. Its safety features are out of date. If your newer forklifts are in use more often because they have better safety features, older forklifts can pose a safety risk not only to their drivers, but those around them.
One thing to remember, as well: Electric forklifts generally last longer than IC trucks. Keep that in mind when checking for end-of-life signs.
Dangers of a Failing Forklift
The older and more worn-down a forklift is, the more likely it will fail while on the job. These failures can endanger the lift truck’s driver, and other workers nearby. Any of the following could happen:
- Dropping loads
- Jerking motions while driven
- Sudden loss of power
- Equipment freezing up
- Fluid leaks
That’s the sort of thing you just don’t want happening out on the floor.
Next month I’ll explain what to do with a forklift which has reached its end of life. Don’t miss that email if you do have forklifts showing signs that they need to retire!