Forklift Battery Maintenance Guide

One of the greatest benefits of using forklifts is that they increase efficiency, helping to reduce the time and cost of projects. By correctly maintaining your forklift, you ensure that you will spend less in the long run on machine repairs and that your workers will be safer. One of the most important parts to pay attention to is the battery. You can prolong the life of your industrial machines by performing routine forklift battery maintenance.

Basic Forklift Battery Maintenance

There are two types of forklift batteries. The first are lead-acid batteries, which are the kind that you must maintain. The second are lithium-ion batteries that require little to no maintenance.

Check and Maintain the Battery's Water Level

If you own an older forklift or a used forklift, it likely has lead-acid batteries. These require watering. This means that you must check the fluid levels often and add water when needed. Water protects the lead plates in the battery. When the water level is too low, the plates could begin to oxidize or disintegrate, decreasing the battery's lifespan.

Keep the Forklift Battery Away From Extreme Temperatures

Another essential thing in forklift battery maintenance is to keep your forklift battery working at its best by avoiding extreme temperatures. This includes extreme heat and extreme cold. When you expose the battery to temperatures greater than 92 degrees Fahrenheit, you reduce the battery lifespan by up to half. Keeping your forklift out of extreme temperatures can be challenging, especially because forklifts are often used in environments like freezers or outdoors. However, try to minimize exposure by storing it in a temperate environment.

Clean Your Battery

Using a battery cleaner or warm water, you should clean your forklift battery every month. The acidic residue that builds up on batteries can cause problems, such as corroding terminals or creating a conductive circuit between lead posts and the steel case.

Forklift Battery Charger Maintenance

Battery charger maintenance is achieved by always charging the battery correctly. This means that you should:

  • Stop using your battery when it reaches 20-30% charge.
  • Let the battery charge entirely once it has begun charging.
  • Check the battery temperature when charging, and don't let it get above 75-77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don't charge the battery too frequently, either, as that can also shorten the battery life.

Equalize Charges

Equalizing is crucial in forklift battery maintenance for lead-acid batteries. Equalizing means eliminating sulfate crystals that have built up on the plates by overcharging the battery. Sulfation makes the battery cells lose charge capacity, which means your battery will become less efficient. You should equalize wet-cell batteries as often as once a week.

Additional Forklift Battery Maintenance

Forklift battery maintenance is an integral part of forklift maintenance. Most lead-acid forklift batteries have a lifespan of about five years, but with the proper care and maintenance, you can extend the battery life for many more years. Check your battery or forklift manual to learn more about the specific battery type and maintenance you should perform.

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