When To Repair vs. Replace Your Forklift Battery

OSHA forklift regulations

Forklift batteries are designed to last up to 10 years, but only if they are adequately protected. Forklift battery maintenance is necessary to get the maximum lifespan. Without good care, your battery may only last five years or less. Since it may represent up to 30% of the vehicle’s total cost, it is important to treat it respectfully. Here are a few things you should know about repairing versus replacing your forklift battery.

What Are Forklift Battery Maintenance Dos and Don’ts?

Here are a few “Dos” and “Don’ts” when caring for and maintaining your forklift battery.

  • DO Recharge your forklift’s battery when only 20% of its charge remains (this is when it’s in the red zone).
  • DO avoid extreme temperatures when operating your forklift (the optimum operating temperature for the typical lead-acid forklift battery is 77 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • DO allow your battery to completely charge before operating your forklift.
  • DON’T partially charge a battery during lunch breaks.
  • DON’T swap out your batteries in the middle of a shift.
  • DON’T attempt to lift a forklift battery on your own.

You should also schedule forklift battery maintenance regularly, in tandem with your equipment’s overall upkeep schedule. The batteries should also be cleaned with a special substance every month to avoid corrosive chemical buildup.

When Is It Time To Replace Your Forklift Battery?

If your forklift fails to turn on or only runs for a few hours per charge, it is time to consider whether repairs or replacements are necessary. Here are a few ways to tell whether it is best to repair or replace.

  • Look at the cables and connectors. If anything is worn or loose, it is probably more cost-effective to replace the part or make sure everything is properly connected instead of buying a brand-new battery.
  • Get out the voltmeter and check for low voltage output. You may be able to reseal or replace certain cells in the battery. But if the entire thing is failing, it is probably time to just replace it.
  • Check the gravity. You should see a visible electrolyte for each cell. Before you test, make sure the battery is fully charged. If any cells show a reading lower than 1.15 or higher than 1.29, it is time to replace the battery.

Since the battery is arguably the most critical component of your vehicle, proper forklift battery maintenance is essential. If you are unhappy with your equipment’s performance, try replacing the battery before replacing the entire forklift.

After You Understand Forklift Battery Maintenance, Where Do You Get the Ideal Forklift for Your Business?

The more you learn about forklift battery maintenance and operation, the more prepared you will be to take good care of your equipment. When you are ready to purchase a new or used vehicle, contact Forklift Inventory. We have a variety, including sit-down forklifts, rough terrain forklifts, and everything in between. Check out our buying guide if you need help selecting the right piece of equipment for your business.

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