How long will a lift truck last?
Many people say that a lift truck will last 10,000 pedal hours. Some say, a few brands will last as long as 13,000 hours and longer working in freezer and cooler environments.
Indeed, a forklift may have an extended operational life long after you turn it in for a replacement lift. The question is how reliably and how expensively.
Related: How to reduce lift truck fleet costs
Maintenance costs go up as a lift truck ages, however a number of factors contribute to this.
Fork truck works on the dock?
When a lift truck travels over a dock plate, the vibration impacts the life expectancy. Areas effected include:
- Pallet jack
- Undercarriage, pins and bushings all start to wear
- Motors vibrated and become loose
- Reach truck
- Not recommended for dock work because the base legs can twist and become uneven
Lift truck works in a cooler or freezer?
Expect the forklift to have shorter life. When you think about cars driven in cold climates versus dry arid climates, it is easy to see that lift trucks will age sooner working in the cold.
Forklift works in brine or around poultry?
You cut the lift truck’s life expectancy in half. Covered in fish scales or chicken by-products, the metal on the lift truck corrodes and weakens. This is one of the harshest environments a forklift can work.
Can an electric lift truck work outside?
Unless the electric forklift truck is carefully protected from water entering the motor compartment, the electrical components will become damaged and will cause expensive repairs.
Cost of ownership for a forklift
Over time, a lift truck will become more and more expensive to keep running. Components have a life expectancy and will need replacement over time. The cost of repairs plus the cost of downtime and lost labor will create a compelling case for replacement. Many fleet managers look at the rising cost of ownership by dividing the cost of maintenance and repair by the number of pedal hours a lift truck works overt the time period being measured (quarterly, bi-annually or annually). This information will yield a cost per pedal hour. Bench mark this number against 8% of the purchase price of the truck (when new) annually. If your lift truck is costing more than 8% of the purchase price annually to maintain and repair, chances are it is becoming time to consider replacement.
Forklift maintenance extends the life
For materials handling equipment, maintenance is crucial. Although it seems like an unnecessary expense, especially during the warranty period, regular maintenance extends the life of a lift truck. Here are the areas in which maintenance reduces the overall cost of ownership and extends the life of a fork truck:
- Most factory warranties require regular maintenance to be valid.
- Bushings and grease zerks need grease. Otherwise they will wear metal on metal and will hollow out. This causes the lift to move within its fittings and create ever-worsening damage every time the inertia of the lift shifts.
- During a regular inspection, a trained maintenance technician will be able to find if debris and trash has become caught up in the gears or bearings before they bind and fail.
- An aging hydraulic line replaced before it fails is less expensive than replacing electronics that have become damaged due to a hydraulic leak.
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