When considering ways to extend the life of your forklift, one often
gravitates to the more obvious ideas.
Depending on how your truck is powered, you may be thinking regular oil
changes, keeping a close eye on the motor/engine, following the manufacturer’s
maintenance schedule or regular up-keep of the tires. One, as important step to maintaining a
forklift that often gets overlooked, is cleaning/disinfecting the truck. Below we will highlight some important steps
that will ensure your forklift is functioning at peak performance and will
remain running for a long time.
Clean off exterior
Just as you would clean your personal car when it becomes visibly dirty,
the same applies for the forklift.
Depending on your truck’s source of power will determine what tools you
can clean with. For an electric truck,
knocking off accumulated grim with a broom will help dislodge unwanted
particles, making it easier to clean. An
air compressor can also assist with the removal along with non-toxic bio-degradable
solutions. Keep in mind that water can
affect your trucks electrical components, so use caution to prevent electrical
noted in the Linde service guide operators manual, “hot
steam or cleaning materials with a powerful degreasing effect should only be
used with great caution as this will affect the grease filling of bearings with
lifetime lubrication, causing it to escape. As re-lubrication is not possible,
the bearings will be irreparably damaged.“
When cleaning a non-electric truck, it is advised to use a
pressure-washer to knock-off hard to remove substances. In addition, the use of the pressure-washer
will prevent the operator from getting too close to the truck, during cleaning,
protecting one from potential hazardous run-off or splash-back.
Linde operator’s manual states, “when
cleaning with a water jet (high-pressure or steam cleaner etc.), it should not
be applied directly to the area of the front axle, electric and electronic
components, connector plugs or insulating material. Water should not be used
for cleaning in the area of the central electrical system and switch console.“
Don’t forget the
underside of the truck
It is often noted that we clean what we see, however, hidden parts of
the truck are as important, if not more to maintain. Depending on where you work, your truck may
be used in many different environments.
Dirt and grim can easily build up in those hard to reach areas, causing
potential issues to the undercarriage of the truck. Keeping those areas cleaned, will prevent
major issues down the road.
Work from the top of
the truck down
For heavier soiled areas, pre-soaking your truck may be necessary. That will allow build-up to soften, making it easier to clean. When cleaning your truck, make sure to start at the top and work your way down. That way, grim and dirt will flow down, and you are not having to re-clean areas.
Allow proper dry
Once your truck is sufficiently cleaned, park it in an area that will
allow appropriate dry time – preferable in the sun. Allowing your truck to dry will ensure that
its components are working efficiently and will prevent damage to the truck.
No matter how you plan to clean your truck, make sure you are using
protective gear. When using cleaning
materials or tools, there is always a chance that substances can splash back on
you. Be sure to wear protective
eye-wear, boots and gloves, as well as long sleeves and pants to protect your