How to Perform a Forklift Brake Inspection in 5 Steps

Worker in blue hard hat inspecting brake fluid levels

A forklift brake inspection plays a critical role in both operator and pedestrian safety. Material handling equipment can be extremely dangerous. Keeping forklifts in good, working condition will help prevent fatal accidents and major injuries.

On top of that, it will protect the health of the equipment, expanding its lifespan and saving you money in the long run. 

While all of these things are important, implementing them takes up time. Sometimes, it may be tempting to cut corners when it comes to forklift safety procedures and forklift maintenance. Industrial Forklift Truck is here to help.

We’re committed to making forklift brake maintenance simple. We’ve created a quick five-step forklift brake inspection that you can add to your pre-operational checklist.

Prioritize forklift safety with these simple tips. Learn about forklift brakes and how to recognize issues. Find out how to compare forklift repair options when it’s time for a replacement.

Forklift Brake Inspection

OSHA requires that forklift operators perform a pre-operational check before each shift to help catch major issues before operation. Include an assessment of the forklift brakes in this check.

Here is a quick, five-step forklift brake inspection:

  1. Perform a visual inspection of the brake shoes through the wheel hubs. You should be able to see if shoes are excessively worn or dusty. You may also be able to hear it. Wear causes a scraping sound, while dust causes a squeaking sound.
  2. Place your foot on the brake and check its engagement. You shouldn’t have to press hard for the brake to respond. Ensure that the brake pedal doesn’t fall to the floor and has enough resistance to create a safe stopping distance.
  3. Apply the deadman switch and exit the driver’s seat to make sure the switch holds.
  4. Engage the parking brake to ensure that it can hold a 15% grade.
  5. Check brake fluid levels. The forklift should not consume brake fluid. Low fluid levels indicate a leak in the brake line or worn brake surfaces.

Keep in mind that forklift brakes function by creating friction between the brake drum and brake shoes. Over time, the brake lining will wear down. Visual inspections are the key to catching problems early.

Forklift Brake Maintenance

Forklift brake maintenance is a necessary part of owning a lift truck. You don’t want to wait until something breaks to fix it. Not only is this a dangerous approach, but it can result in hefty repair costs that could’ve been avoided.

Be sure to include a brake inspection in your forklift maintenance routine. In addition, blow out brake dust every 250 hours of operation to avoid ridges on the brake shoes. Have a professional inspect the brake drums every 2,000 hours. These two things alone will help minimize the need for forklift repair.

Another way to eliminate expensive repairs is by using the equipment correctly. Common errors that lead to damaged forklift brakes include driving with the parking brake on, driving two-footed, and braking too hard.

Avoiding these mistakes will help keep your brakes healthy. Operate with caution and care every time you use the equipment. Be sure to follow all forklift safety procedures.

Keep in mind that forklift brakes have an average lifespan of 5,000 to 7,000 hours. Driving patterns affect this range, some of which are unavoidable. For instance, operators that can drive farther without encountering obstacles or stacking loads will utilize the brakes less.

Performing a forklift brake inspection on orange forklift equipment

Replacing Forklift Brakes

Regardless of how well you treat your forklift brakes, they won’t last forever. When it’s time for a replacement, turn to Industrial Forklift Truck.

We provide free, transparent pricing from leading, pre-screened forklift sellers and forklift repair companies. Want to purchase and install the forklift brakes yourself? Compare pricing on brakes and other forklift parts here.

We also provide free quotes from different forklift servicing companies in the area if you’d rather have someone else do the work for you. Compare pricing on forklift repair services here.

Whether you’re looking for brakes or servicing, we can get you free pricing on your options. Browse before making a decision.

Is it more than the brakes? If your equipment is constantly in the shop, it may be time for an upgrade. We also carry the largest inventory of forklifts for sale. Get pricing on equipment here.

Find Pricing on Forklifts for Sale in Your Area.