How to Repair & Maintain Your Forklift Brakes with Ease

Forklift foot brake pedals

Forklift brakes are arguably the most important part of your equipment. A brake malfunction can cause serious injury and even death. That’s why it is important to maintain your equipment and perform forklift brake repair whenever necessary.

Many people do not realize that forklift brakes need to be serviced consistently and professionally. While it can be tempting to wait until something breaks to fix it, you’ll face a much more expensive repair if you do so. Not only that, but you may compromise your employees’ safety.

Learn more about how to recognize and address issues before they escalate. Find everything you need to know about forklift brakes here. Then, get free forklift brake repair quotes from top servicing companies in your area.

Forklift Brake Maintenance

A forklift brake inspection should be a consistent part of your operation. Most professionals suggest an in-depth brake inspection every 2,000 hours of operation. Click here for a complete guide on how to perform a brake inspection.

This includes checking your forklift parking brake. Often overlooked, the forklift parking brake is incredibly important. Plus, since it is engaged every single time the equipment is parked, it needs to be inspected just as often as the foot brakes.

Keep in mind that how you use your equipment will affect its condition and performance. Driving with the forklift parking brake engaged can cause serious damage to the equipment. Make sure the forklift parking brake is disengaged before every use.

Also, never drive “two-footed” or brake hard without giving the equipment time to decelerate.

Take care of your machine and schedule routine maintenance every 2,000 hours. It is also a good idea to blow out brake dust every 250 hours. Keep in mind that you will probably have to replace the forklift brake shoes every 5,000 to 7,000 hours.

Forklift Brake Repair

Not every forklift brake repair will be the same. Brake systems vary depending on the forklift model.

For the typical forklift, brake replacement looks like this:

  1. Raise the equipment with a forklift jack, then place wooden blocks beneath it for stability.
  2. Remove the wheel, axle shaft, and brake drum.
  3. Clean the brake components by spraying them with a brake cleaner.
  4. Remove the springs, brake shoes, and other hardware.
  5. Disassemble the wheel cylinder.
  6. Reinstall the wheel cylinder and backing plate.
  7. Install lever, wheel cylinder pins, and shoes. Reinstall hardware and springs.
  8. Remove the old gasket material and apply the new material.
  9. Clean the brake drum and look for wear. Remove and replace the seals.
  10. Reinstall the brake drum (or replace it if needed).
  11. Remove the old gasket material from the axle and replace it. Then, reinstall the axle shaft.
  12. Tighten bolts and reinstall your tire and wheel.

To view a video on this process, click here.

Keep in mind that not all repair requires a full brake replacement. Sometimes you just need a forklift brake adjustment. Forklift brake drums need to be adjusted to compensate for wear from usage.

To perform a forklift brake adjustment, simply use the manual adjustment knob located through a hole on the opposite side of the wheel. Access this knob with a flathead screwdriver. Be sure to adjust both brakes.

Whether you need a forklift brake adjustment, dust blowout, shoe replacement, or entire brake system repair, we can help you find the best price. Get forklift brake repair quotes from companies in your area here.

When to Replace

It isn’t hard to tell when to replace forklift brakes. Just like other vehicles, worn brakes will make an unusual noise when they are applied. The operator may also find that the equipment isn’t stopping as quickly.

Because of this, noticing when to replace forklift brakes falls on the diligence of the operator. Every pre-operational inspection includes a check of the foot brakes and forklift parking brake. Make sure operators are performing this check correctly and are driving without headphones in their ears so they can hear any noises.

As mentioned before, your forklift brakes should be included in your preventative maintenance plan. Most professionals recommend preventative maintenance every 90 days in addition to daily pre-operational checks.

Since brakes are a wear item, when you replace them depends entirely on how often and how they are used.

To operate, the forklift brake shoes press against the brake drum, causing the machine to stop. Forklift brake shoes have an exterior lining that wears over time due to the friction involved in pressing against the drum.

If this lining wears away and the ridges on the forklift brake shoes damage the brake drums, you will need to replace the entire brake system. This will typically happen after 5,000 hours of use.

Keep in mind that the recommended time interval for brake inspections is every 2,000 hours. If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to replace the forklift brake shoes before they damage the drums and lead to expensive repairs.

Large yellow forklifts with pneumatic tires undergoing brake inspection

How Much Does Forklift Brake Repair Cost?

If your equipment needs a forklift brake repair, you’ll want to know what price to expect. Of course, the cost depends on what exactly is wrong.

Waiting too long for a forklift brake repair can make the fix more expensive. Brakes have multiple components. Early on, you may only need to replace the shoes and wheel seals. But, if the problem goes unnoticed, the issue will transfer to the brake drums and become more expensive to repair.

For instance, two brake drums cost over $1,500. In contrast, if you are experiencing damage to the forklift brake shoes, parts may only cost $300 to $400. Labor and general cleaning fees will increase this cost.

When it’s time for a forklift brake repair, you’ll want to compare prices on all your options before you choose. Industrial Forklift Truck partners with trustworthy forklift service and repair companies nationwide to provide a huge source of pricing at no cost to visitors.

Compare forklift brake repair quotes for free. Find the best deal on forklift brake repair in your area when you use Industrial Forklift Truck.

Some repairs are expensive. Not sure if your equipment is worth the fix? Check out our guide to deciding whether to repair or replace a forklift.

Get Pricing From Professional Forklift Service & Repair Companies.