Forklifts, like any heavy machinery, are a pricey investment. You want to make sure you’ve chosen the right one and that you’re maintaining it correctly. Determine the age of your forklift, average lifespan of a forklift, and how to make your forklift last longer by reading this article.
How old is my forklift?
A forklift’s lifespan is measured by hours of use, not years, because every business utilizes their machines at different rates.
A five-year-old forklift that was utilized 15 hours a month will usually be in better shape than a one-year-old forklift that was used 8 hours every day.
The stress on a forklift’s mast from raising and lowering of equipment is what causes most machines to break down over time.
Buying a used forklift? Always inspect it for wear, even if it has low hours. Heavy loads can cause damage to a forklift, which won’t be reflected in the running hours.
How long should I expect my forklift to last?
The average lifespan of a forklift is 10,000 hours, but it varies based on the manufacturer, type of forklift, and average running conditions. It’s possible to have two forklifts, manufactured the same year, that have different life expectances.
Internal Combustion Engines vs Electric Forklifts
On average, you can expect an electric forklift to last longer. Electric forklifts’ batteries typically need to be replaced every five years, or approximately 1,500 charging cycles. However, since they have fewer moving parts, they are less likely to break over time.
Average Running Conditions
Regular heavy loads will shorten your forklift’s total run time, and exposure to extreme temperatures, uneven surfaces, and hazardous substances will cause significant wear. A truck used indoors in clean conditions will last a lot longer than one exposed to extreme conditions. If you have a fleet of forklifts, it’s a good idea to rotate them every few months so they wear at the same rate.
How can I extend my forklift’s lifespan?
Preventative and regular maintenance are the key to a forklift’s survival. Always perform daily, routine checks, schedule preventative bi-annual maintenance, and get any issues checked up on immediately.
Most forklifts should be serviced every 200 hours and have extensive maintenance performed every 2,000 hours. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations to find out exactly when your forklift should be serviced.
Being proactive could help your forklift survive up to five years longer (based on daily use) than expected!
Yard and Warehouse Maintenance
Potholes, sharp turns, and other safety hazards can cause damage and uneven wear to your fleet. A safe environment can lead to less expensive repairs over time.
Your operators have a huge effect on your forklift’s lifespan. Collisions and tip-overs are obvious causes of damage, but heavy braking, excessive speed, and skipping inspections will also cause your forklift to wear down quicker.
How do I know when my forklift needs to be replaced?
If a forklift is slowing down productivity by requiring downtime for repairs, it may become too expensive to maintain. Consider the lifespan of the forklift and how much it costs per hour to run.
Forklifts are an important part of your warehouse operations. Ensuring your forklifts are running at top efficiency can help them last for years.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2021. It was updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness in January 2023.