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Forklift Buying Guide FAQ

How Do I Choose A Forklift?

Think about how much horsepower you’re going to need. Consider whether or not you’re going to be running the unit indoors and how high you’re going to be lifting pallets. You’ll need something with a greater amount of lifting power if you’re dealing with heavier pallets. Some extensions might also be necessary if you’re using your forklift to move something round like rolls of carpet.

Which Forklift Brand Is Best?

No one forklift brand is the overall best. It’s likely that the same forklift model gets sold under multiple brands. This is because several different hardware vendors may source parts from a single supplier and rebrand them. It’s more important to look at specific models than brands.

Why Use An Electric Forklift?

Electric forklifts don’t generate any exhaust, which means that they can be used indoors without fear of carbon monoxide buildup. They’re easily recharged from any mains outlet and don’t require the use of any liquid fuels, which could dirty up a work environment.

Why Use A Gas Forklift?

On average, gas forklifts are going to be more powerful than electric ones and you never have to wait to recharge them. Simply fill the tank up and restart the engine to continue working with one.

Why Use A Diesel Forklift?

Diesel forklifts may run on less expensive fuels than gas ones and their engines may prove more durable. Extremely high horsepower diesel options are available, which may be perfect for the warehousing industry.

Reach Or Counterbalance?

Counterbalance forklifts use a rear weight for balance, which makes them among the more sought-after devices in warehousing operations. A reach truck-style forklift simply uses stabilizing legs and batteries to keep it stable. This configuration makes it uniquely capable of reaching in an upward and even outward direction. You’ll want them if you have any special considerations to deal with.

Capacity For Your Forklift?

Capacities are wide-ranging. Despite that, you can find the capacity of any forklift simply by looking at the data plate. OSHA rules stipulate that you can only ever safely move loads that are within the rated capacity of a particular device.

The maximum capacity might be greater than the rated capacity. It’s normally never advisable to exceed the rated capacity regardless of the structural engineering of a particular forklift. Raw capacity numbers range anywhere from 3,000-70,000 lbs. or even more.

What Are The 7 Classes Of Forklifts?

Manufacturers use the following seven classes to differentiate the various types of forklifts on the market:

  • 1: Electric motor rider devices
  • 2: Electrically powered narrow aisle order pickers and reach trucks
  • 3: Electrical pallet jacks, tow tractors, and stackers
  • 4: IC cushion tire lifts
  • 5: IC pneumatic tire lifts
  • 6: IC/Electrical tow tractors
  • 7: Specialty rough terrain-capable forklifts

How To Maintain My Forklift?

The exact maintenance chores you’ll need to do depend on the type of power plant your forklift has. Check the powertrain for any motor rotation noise. Inspect the terminals for tightness if you’re working with an electric model. Make sure that the battery terminals haven’t developed any sort of corrosion and clean them on a regular basis.

Lubricate lifting chains every 250 hours or so of operation. Measure the lifting speed and replace the hydraulic return filter within the same time frame. Turn signals or safety lights that suddenly seem inoperative should be replaced, much like the headlights on a motor vehicle.

Enterprise-grade forklifts need to have their mirrors cleaned and polished. Check the tires for wear. Replace them once they become too worn to make proper traction.

IC-powered units will eventually need to have their oil levels checked as well. You’ll want to add engine oil when necessary and eventually give the entire motor an oil change.

Forklift Fork Sizes?

Unlike most vehicles, forklifts are measured in terms of several different dimensions. The maximum thickness of the fork as well as its total width is one way of judging the size of a forklift.

If you’re looking for something to lift a specific load, then you need to consider both of these metrics. Your preferred forklift will have to be sized correctly for the load.

The physical body of the forklift is probably what most operating engineers mean when they refer to industrial truck size. First-time buyers will want to be sure that the device is large enough to be stable over the type of ground they plan on operating it. However, you don’t want something that’s so large it can’t get around corners. Most manufacturers assume that any warehouse is going to have virtually unlimited aisle space, but this often isn’t the case in the real world.

How To Choose The # Of Wheels?

Four-wheel forklifts usually offer more stability than three-wheel designs, since they’re balanced out according to the same pattern used for traditional passenger cars. These are the best choice in any situation where you’ll be moving items over some sort of uneven ground.

Thus they’re usually seen as a necessity in an outdoor environment. Three-wheel models can get into tighter spaces and may have a much smaller turning radius, thus making them ideal for situations where you need to navigate around things.

Most Important Components Of A Forklift?

Without wheels, axles, and an engine, forklift trucks would be unable to move. They also require the physical fork itself in order to move loads as well as an ample supply of hydraulic fluid to perform any useful work.

Nevertheless, no part should really be deemed more important than another. If something is worn or damaged, then it should be replaced in order to ensure safe and efficient operation.

OSHA Regulations Of A Forklift? Forklift Certification?

OSHA requires that forklift loads never exceed their rated capacity and that everyone who operates one is over 18. Certifications are required for operating engineers who are legally entitled to operate forklifts.

General industry and maritime operations standards apply to the use of forklifts in almost all business, governmental and NGO-related situations. Specific requirements regarding the evaluation of powered industrial trucks, as OSHA refers to forklifts, are spelled out in 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(1).

Schedule Planned Maintenance With Helmar Parts

Helmar Parts wants to make the cost of ownership and maintenance easier for forklift operators. We retail components at aftermarket prices, whether for electronic models or internal combustion engines.

To find out more about buying lift trucks, please reach out to us today. Helmar Parts will answer all of your questions, providing you with cost-effective deals and advice on maintenance.

How Much Weight Will My Forklift Transport Daily, And At What Height?

Daily workload requirements will determine your ideal weight capacity. Exceeding a forklift’s limits can risk damage to the machine or transported goods. Smaller forklifts and pallet jackets are better designed for smaller parcels and pallets.

Height capacity is also essential. When stacking high or narrow shelves, forklifts need sufficient reach. One may want to consider a Very Narrow Aisle Lift for narrow corridors. A VNA can navigate a warehouse’s tighter spaces.

How Long Will My Forklift Run During Work Hours?

Are you a full-time or part-time operator? How many shifts will you take during an average week? What is your forklift’s battery charging frequency? The answers to these questions will help you determine.

Your forklift’s power and lifespan will determine how long you can work during a shift. If working part-time, less than eight hours a day, you can settle for a forklift’s average lifespan – 10,000 hours. For full-time, forklifts run for about 2,000 hours a year. Calculate if your warehouse or yard conducts regular overtime. If you qualify for overtime, you may want to invest in a machine that has 20,000 hours in its lifespan.

Where To Store Forklift?

Where will you store the forklift after hours? Rugged models can stay for long hours outdoors, but failing to secure the machines can risk vandalism, rust, water damage, and oil lubricant overheating. They can also gather dust and dirt to clog any pneumatic or electric system.

If storing outdoors, conduct regular maintenance checks. Engage the parking brake regularly. Park at a level and dry ground, and disconnect power sources when not in use. If storing outside for months on edge, regularly fill your tires and refresh lubricant points.

Indoors is generally better for the forklift. The maintenance schedule has fewer steps for indoor storage. That said, always check tire pressure, lubricant points, and oil levels. Cut the power when not using, but run the machine regularly.

Have Indoors Or Outdoors?

Factor in if you work within a warehouse, shipping facility, or work yard. Pneumatic forklifts are more expensive but better suited for outdoor operations. They have a rugged design and frames meant for holding specific tires. Operators often find pneumatic models harder to find, so prepare to set time aside for research and perusal.

Check the tires on each machine before making a purchase. Cushion tires are suited for indoor operations, and pneumatic tires are better for outdoor transportation.

Cushion Or Pneumatic Tires?

Both tires are made of heavy-duty rubber. Cushion tires have a metal band and a smaller turning radius, suited for warehouses. They are less prone to puncturing and last longer.

Pneumatic tires can puncture easily, even with the durability to handle higher amounts of outdoor wear and tear. The tires drive better on asphalt and gravel. They are made of pure rubber and cost more than cushion tires. Operators often fill pneumatic tires with foam for a smoother ride.

New Or Used Forklift?

Our experts recommend investing in a new machine if you have the budget. While a used forklift may have ample savings, you may risk purchasing a model that will develop long-term complications.

The only reason to buy a used forklift is if you can assess the model for any fork damage or engine performance or if you are working part-time. Some buyers may find a barely-touched forklift or pallet jack that can save long-term costs.

What Should I Look For In A Used Forklift?

Look at the tires, forks, and lift chain gaps. Fork cracks are red flags for severe damage. Worn forks indicate that they need a quick replacement. Check if the tynes are significantly smaller than the heel.

Some operators may weld the cracks as a short-term repair. Welding, however, does not last for a long-term solution. Scan the machine for any signs of welding because it can compromise the mast’s integrity.

Tire tread is another potential red flag. You may not want a machine that has used up most of its tire tread. Worn-out tires have a higher chance of failing on the job.

A low odometer reading is a good indicator of the forklift’s longevity. With that said, a seller may reset the odometer to get a better price. Check the hours against the wear and tear on the machine. If the odometer reading does not match, then it’s a sign that the buyer is dishonest and the device is not a good fit.