Tips for Maintaining Lift Truck Health and Safety

Your lift trucks represent a major investment and whether you own or lease them, it is important to take good care of your equipment. In fact, proper maintenance (like checking the hydraulic tilt cylinder and forks regularly) can extend the life of your vehicles and provide better performance and improved safety. Here are some helpful tips for keeping your trucks in good condition.

Daily Checks

Routine maintenance checks each day, is a good strategy for finding small problems before they become major repairs. For example, a motor oil leak from a front or rear seal can create major oil problems on the floor which can lead to serious on the job accidents.

Advice for Drivers

Lift truck operators have an obligation to report problems as soon as they develop, even if it means taking the truck out of service. You may be in a hurry to load a specific truck because the order is “urgent” but this is still no reason to drive a lift truck when the hydraulic tilt cylinder is leaking fluid all over the floor.


Make sure operators are aware of the dangers of driving with the forks or lift mechanism too low. Forks should be about one foot off the ground. This will help you avoid a lot of problems. Some drivers form the habit of driving with the forks touching (or a few inches above) the floor or ground, and this is inviting disaster.

Radiator Care

At least once a week, operators should blow out the radiator cores with compressed air. When working in dirty or dusty environments, this should be done every day. When dirt and debris gets into the radiator it compromises its ability to cool the engine. This can result in overheating which can damage head gaskets and warp engine blocks, resulting in major repair bills. Plus, a boiling over radiator can become a spill or burn hazard.

Check Tires

Many lift truck operators routinely forget to look at and inspect their tires. Most lift truck tires do not require air but they can become damaged with wear. In fact, small cracks can become large chunks which make it dangerous to drive and operate the truck.


You drivers should know how the hydraulic system sounds when it is working. If they hear groaning or straining noises from the hydraulic tilt cylinder, this means the load may be too heavy or the cylinder is having problems. This needs to be reported.

Driver Training

Make sure to keep drivers updated on the latest changes in safety and lift truck procedures. In fact, it may be a good idea to publish a monthly newsletter and drivers can subscribe through email for added convenience.

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