Use These Forklift Maintenance Tips to Increase Safety

A parked yellow forklift. Its operator practiced forklift safety, as he parked the forklift prior to exiting the vehicle.

Forklift maintenance is necessary for every warehouse. Without forklift maintenance, your forklift will break down, have issues, or cause accidents. These errors risk the lives of your operators.

According to OSHA, forklifts cause 85 fatal accidents and over 34,900 serious injuries every year. That's why regular forklift maintenance is important. It ensures safe and reliable use while minimizing and preventing accidents.

Regular maintenance will also offset the need for replacement. Taking care of your equipment will help you get the most out of your investment.

Luckily, Industrial Forklift Truck has forklift preventative maintenance tips for you! By checking these six items, you can improve forklift safety in your warehouse. Use these forklift preventative maintenance tips to keep your forklift running smoothly, safely, and for a long time.

Routine Forklift Maintenance


The first forklift preventative maintenance tip is to look at the battery. Batteries are important because they keep your forklift running. To make sure your battery is in the best condition:

  • Clean the top of your battery with a battery cleaner or warm water monthly. Check your owner's manual to confirm this won't damage the battery.
  • Always give your battery the right amount of water. Only add enough to reach the top of the lead-acid plates, typically about a half-inch below the battery cap opening. This will keep your forklift functioning at full capacity.
  • Set a schedule for charging your battery. Charging your battery irregularly will shorten the battery's life.


When your brakes don't work properly, the chance of an accident increases. To stay safe, here's a blog on conducting a quick brake inspection. For more ways to maintain your brakes and practice forklift safety:

  • Check your brakes routinely. Your brake pedal should not feel spongy or soft. In other words, if the pedal presses all the way to the floor with no resistance, you may have air in your system. To diagnose a soft brake pedal, press it a few times. If the pedal gets firmer with each press, you'll need to bleed the brakes.
  • Replace your brake shoes every 5,000 to 7,000 hours. Blow out dust from the shoes every 250 hours to prevent excess wear.


Clean your forklift thoroughly and regularly. This will increase its life and make forklift operation safer. Also practice forklift preventative maintenance by:

  • Blowing your radiator out once a week. Take that time to also remove dirty forklift parts and filters.
  • Worried about damaging your forklift's electrical components if you use water? Turn your equipment off, then take a dry cloth and wipe your forklift down. This will keep your forklift clean without risking damage.
  • Power wash your forklift's exterior. This will allow you to avoid contact with any dangerous materials sticking to your forklift's exterior. Make sure you're wearing personal protective equipment to avoid accidents or injury.


Depending on engine type, there are a few things to check as part of your maintenance.

  • Electric Engines. The maintenance for this engine type is battery-focused. Refer to the first item on this forklift maintenance checklist.
  • Hydraulic Engines. Monitor fluid levels and check for leaks daily. Inspect hose and seal for cracks or splinters. Replace hydraulic fluid and filters every two months.
  • Internal Combustion Engines. Check fuel levels and refuel tanks daily. Examine for signs of oil leaks. Grease the grease fittings once a week and change filters and fluids monthly. Replace hoses and belts as needed.


Without forks, you won't be able to move and transport loads. That's why you need to keep them in good condition. You can maintain them by:

  • Checking for wear and tear daily. This includes cracks, damage, or uneven fork height.
  • Always ensure forks are straight. Bent forks have lower forklift capacity.
  • Repair or replace your forks when needed. If you need to replace one fork, go ahead and replace both. You always want both forks to be in the same condition for seamless operation.


Tires are an important part of forklift preventative maintenance. Just like any other forklift part, your tires are vulnerable to wear. Make sure to:

  • Run pressure checks and examine your tires on a daily basis. Tires can be victim to deflating, spring leaks, and tread decline. Always make sure they're in good shape prior to use. If they're damaged, here's a blog on how to replace your tires.
  • Do not over-inflate your tires. Over-inflation causes disproportionate wear, leading to blowouts and other accidents. Under-inflation reduces tire traction and makes it difficult to make tight turns. Check the sidewall of the tire for proper air pressure.
  • If you find tread wear, replace your tires right away. Especially if your forklift is used on rough terrain.
  • Visit this blog for more on forklift tires and their required maintenance.

OSHA Forklift Maintenance Requirements

Forklift maintenance is more than an Industrial Forklift Truck suggestion. It's also an OSHA requirement! Feel free to add these OSHA forklift maintenance requirements to your forklift preventative maintenance:

  • Scheduled maintenance is critical to forklift safety. By practicing regular maintenance, you are protecting your operator and your vehicle. Never operate a forklift that needs maintenance, per OSHA forklift maintenance requirements.
  • Keeping your vehicle in safe condition is keeping your vehicle in clean condition. This means your forklift should be free of lint, excess oil, and grease.
  • Always make sure your water supply is above 75% capacity. Do this by filling water mufflers daily.
  • One of the most important OSHA forklift maintenance requirements is daily inspection. This will help you catch problems early on, like leaky hoses or soft brakes.
  • For more OSHA forklift maintenance requirements, refer to OSHA's blogs here and here.
An operator practicing forklift preventative maintenance on his industrial forklift truck.

Beyond Forklift Maintenance

Forklift maintenance has many benefits. It will increase the life and value of your forklift. Forklift preventative maintenance will also prevent accidents, keeping operators as safe as possible. However, your forklift will eventually outrun its life. In that case, you'll need a new forklift.

Industrial Forklift Truck is a great place to start. Improving forklift safety sometimes goes beyond maintenance. Sometimes it means buying new or used equipment.

Access the largest inventory of new and used forklifts nationwide to find the best fit for your business. Industrial Forklift Truck offers forklift quotes from top dealers. All you have to do is fill out this short form to get started. Then, Industrial Forklift Truck will match you with equipment that meets your business needs!

Receive Information on New & Used Forklifts Near You.

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