Regular Maintenance for your Forklift

Masterlift forklift maintenance routine ritual

Regular Maintenance for your Forklift


When was the last time that you put thought into the maintenance that your forklift needs? At MasterLift, we know how it goes, your forklift is an extension of your facility, particularly when you have varying shifts and a tight production schedule. Mechanics are the worst when it comes to maintaining their shop forklifts, as they are generally considered just another tool. The poor abused shop forklift is only maintained when an issue arises. Of course the attitudes of many shops are changing as equipment that performs at a high level, translates into more revenue. Regardless of whether you have a mechanic shop, run inventory in a warehouse, or use your forklift for loading trucks, keeping it properly maintained will benefit in many ways. If you want to try your hand at maintaining your forklift, the right parts and know-how is critical to success. Much like anything, if you don’t know what you are doing, the results could prove to be disastrous, not only to the safety of the operator but improper maintenance can negate the lifting capacity of the forklift. The best way to do your own maintenance is to buy a service manual from a respected dealer, don’t just download one of those cheap online manuals, make sure you are getting the correct information. We compiled a list of common maintenance bullet points if you want to get started on your own. As always, if you don’t feel comfortable with what you are doing, do not, under any circumstances, “wing it” or guess when it comes to working on a forklift.           


An electric forklift is much different than a truck that runs on fuel and we can explore electric forklift maintenance at a later date. For the purpose of this discussion we will assume that the forklift is powered by fuel, (internal combustion engine), as opposed to electricity. As with your truck, your forklift has a wide variety of fluids that are critical to proper operation. There are the old standbys of oil and antifreeze, but when working with a forklift, there is generally hydraulic fluid as well (more on that later). There is a reason that forklifts are called lift trucks, that is because much of the running gear is similar to a vehicle, the engine in particular. An internal combustion engine, whether it is powered by diesel fuel, gasoline, or propane, is generally maintained the same way. Always ensure that you have the proper fluids and don’t just guess.


We all know that the oil must be changed at the proper intervals but what most don’t know is the importance of paying attention to the intervals. All internal combustion engines require the same two components to run properly, fuel and air. These components are regulated by filters, meaning that in order to reach the engine, they must flow through a filter. Air filters and fuel filters are commonly a big issue when it comes to performance complaints, particularly on a diesel engine. The advantage that propane or gasoline engines have is they will still run with dirty air filters and fuel filters. Depending on the situation, this could cause harm, because dirty fuel and air making its way into the engine can cause problems. The filters that you should be prepared with when performing maintenance, are: oil, air, fuel, hydraulic and (if applicable) coolant.

More On Hydraulics

The hydraulic system on your forklift is the main reason why it is able to lift such an impressive amount of weight. Hydraulics are fascinating, in that the application of fluid will lift large amounts of weight. While the fluid is important, keeping the hydraulic system free of contaminants is critical to the proper operation. A hydraulic system relies on a system of relief valves in order to regulate pressure. If these valves become clogged or shut off, the results could be catastrophic. Thankfully, the hydraulic oil does have a much longer life than engine oil.

Let MasterLift Maintain your Forklift

If maintaining your forklift fills you with a feeling of dread, it is critical to contact us for comprehensive maintenance. No matter how large your fleet, we can provide service at your site or ours. We offer a preventative maintenance program that keeps your maintenance costs predictable. Contact us today and never worry about the maintenance on your fleet again. We keep your forklifts in top shape and make sure your operation is safer as a result.

Gary Wilson
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