The battery in your forklift can represent almost a third of the value of a new lift. Considering this, it is foolish to fall into bad habits that will significantly reduce the life of the battery or cause it to fail.
With proper care, a forklift battery should last about five years. Regardless of the type of forklift you are using, if you remember and practice the following four steps, you can make sure you are getting the maximum life from your batteries.
Remember Basic Maintenance
It is easy to forget how long it has been since you did a routine maintenance check of your forklift battery, so keep a record and check it regularly. OSHA has a great daily checklist form that you can use. The most important thing to check is the water level. Letting the level drop allows the battery plates to dry out and can permanently ruin the battery.
When you check the water level, take a quick look at the general condition of the battery. Any obvious damage needs to be assessed before the lift is used again.
Do Not Deep Discharge the Battery
Once the battery has been run down to 20 percent of its capacity, it should be recharged. Running a battery below 20 percent, especially if this is a routine practice, causes the components to overheat and burn and can cause complete failure of the battery and damage to the motor.
Avoid Quick Charging Sessions
It may be tempting to plug in the forklift whenever it is not being used for thirty minutes or so, but this is not good for the battery. The lifespan of the battery is largely limited by the number of charging cycles it has been through. Each time you give it a short topping off, that counts as a cycle. The best strategy is to run the battery down to 20 percent then let it fully recharge.
Have the Right Charger
When you buy a new battery, make sure it is compatible with your charger. Your old charger may appear to be working fine and charging the new battery, but if they have different capacities it will cause damage. The battery, the charger and possibly even the forklift motor can fail or have a shortened life.
Protecting Your Investment
Regularly following these four easy steps can maximize the battery life of your forklifts. Regular maintenance and proper charging practices will not only protect the battery, but the charging station and the forklift motor, too.