How to Deal With an Overheating Forklift?

Working with a forklift with the temperature gauge on the red zone is counterproductive for any operation. Forklift machinery can lift tons of goods and load them on storage units up to 6 meters high. However, they are not too powerful not to break down. In addition, constant use of these machines subjects them to wear and tear, which is indicated by possible overheating. There are several reasons why a forklift overheats, and we will look at ways to deal with an overheating forklift.

Causes of Forklift Overheating

Before solving any issues with an overheating forklift, it is essential to understand what causes the engine to overheat fully. Some of the causes of forklift overheating include:

  • A Defective Fan or Fan Belt

A forklift fan is located towards the back below the driver’s seat. It is possible that items falling from the cabin get stuck in the fan, thus damaging the fan. As a result, the forklift starts overheating due to insufficient cooling.

  • Clogged or Damaged Radiator

Debris on the warehouse floor can clog the radiator, which affects its performance. Even the smallest debris, like sand, dust, pieces of paper, or pebbles, easily stick to the radiator and cause overheating.

  • Low Fluid Levels

Insufficient fluid levels cause a forklift engine to overheat. Fluid levels are crucial when operating in hotter months when forklifts overheat rapidly. Fluids like hydraulic fluids, oil and water also may affect an engine’s performance.

  • Damaged Water Pump

The water pump pulls the coolant via the radiator to cool down the engine. Any leaks or cracks hinder the optimal performance of the pump. As a result, the forklift engine will start overheating.

  • Worn Out Hoses

Equipment for material handling has numerous hoses performing different functions. If any of these hoses are faulty, they could start leaking fluids. With these liquids failing to reach the engine in desirable amounts, the forklift will overheat.

  • Clogged Filters

A high amount of dirt and dust in the air affects the performance of a forklift engine. The forklift engine filters out dirt to prevent it from choking the engine. However, if the dirt accumulates over time, it clogs the filters, forcing the engine to work twice as harder. As a result, it produces more heat which affects productivity.

  • Inappropriate use of Forklifts

Every forklift comes with a specific load capacity rating for specific handling functions. Using these forklifts inappropriately could subject them to overuse and overloading. When this equipment for material handling works beyond limits, it can overheat, leading to damage.

What to do When a Forklift Overheats?

  • Regular Machine Inspection

Inspecting machinery regularly facilitates the identification of issues that cause overheating. During the inspection, checking the engine components and their quality is crucial. For example, checking the radiators, fluid levels, damaged pumps, clogged filters, and faulty hoses helps prevent potential hazards.

If any of these components show signs of damage or wear, replacing or repairing them would suffice. Refilling fluids like coolants and hydraulic fluids replenishes the forklift’s cooling capacities during this process.

  • Following Maintenance Schedules

Every equipment manufacturer provides guidelines for using forklifts. They also include suitable maintenance schedules for the machinery. So, it is important to refer to the guide when checking the engine.

If some engine components show signs of wearing, warehouse managers should replace them as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. Sticking to the maintenance schedules prevents overheating and maximises saving operation costs.

  • Cleaning Warehouse Floors

Whether using forklift machinery indoors or outdoors, it is necessary to ensure they operate in a clean environment. A clean warehouse space eradicates any dust, pieces of paper, dirt, and other elements that may enter the engine and cause damage. These small particles block hoses, and clog filters, and radiators, thus overworking the engine. Operating in a clean environment eliminates all these worries.

  • Regularly Cleaning Forklifts

Regularly cleaning a forklift is a simple maintenance practice that saves time and money. Cleaning removes the debris and dirt clogging the engine, clearing the path for proper cooling and air circulation. Cleaning includes brushing filters, unclogging the radiator and washing any dirty areas on the forklift.

A forklift only delivers to its maximum capacity when working in desirable conditions. Unprecedented overheating of a forklift engine is a sign that something is wrong with the equipment. Regular maintenance is the most viable solution for overheating issues. Warehouse managers and forklift operators must ensure their equipment is well-maintained and works efficiently.

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