Forklift trucks, whether powered by propane, diesel, or battery, share one commonly overlooked maintenance requirement. That is the requirement to monitor hydraulic oil levels, hydraulic oil filters and hydraulic oil condition.
Think about it
The hydraulic components drive the primary function of the forklift. Forklifts vary as to the power source, be it an internal combustion engine that requires engine oil maintenance or battery powered electric drive motors which don’t. But both IC-powered and electric forklifts have hydraulic oil, and that oil is the life blood of the forklift.
Hydraulic Oil – The Life Blood of the Forklift
It flows through some of the most critical and expensive components on your forklift truck. The precision pumps, valves, hoses, and cylinders on your forklift all function as hydraulic oil is pumped under pressure through these components. In particular, lifting and tilting functions make hydraulic oil not only critical to maintenance but also to productivity and safety.
Hydraulic oil loses its effectiveness with time. If moisture is absorbed by the oil, it can lead to disintegration in the hydraulic system. High-cycle use of forklift hydraulic systems, particularly under heavy, near maximum capacity loads, can cause excessive heat under high pressure leading to rapid degradation of hydraulic oil.
Vehicles can give signs that you need to change the hydraulic oil immediately. These signs could be low levels of the oil, below the standard mark, oil doesn’t seem to be transparent or clear, oil turns reddish-brown, burnt odor in the oil, etc. However, it is always recommended not to wait for these signs. With regular oil checks, you can keep an eye on the oil used in the hydraulic systems as well.
To conclude, hydraulic oil should be changed based on its condition and not time-specification. Every vehicle or machine that uses hydraulic systems, comes with a different mechanism. Manufacturers’ manuals also suggest different time-lines related to hydraulic oil. However, it is important to keep a check on this when you get regular vehicle maintenance. It will help in reducing expensive breakdowns, downtime, and accidents.
At Accurate Lift Truck we have broad experience with the varied maintenance requirements across all makes and models of forklifts, each one is different. Likewise, different applications can produce vastly different maintenance requirements. High-cycle or freezer applications can require multiple hydraulic oil and filter changes. Others can go for years before being changed.
Let one of our service professionals or sales engineers evaluate your fleet and find out if a major driver of maintenance costs, downtime and safety is being overlooked.