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Forklift Battery Maintenance

 Electric forklift battery maintenance is crucial to extending the lifespan of your batteries and enhancing the performance of your forklift fleet. All operators should be trained in the basics of forklift battery maintenance to ensure the longevity of your lift trucks and pallet jacks. 

Battery Charging Protocols

When it comes to charging your lift trucks and maintaining your batteries, you should stick to a specific protocol. Batteries can only be charged for a certain number of cycles, so you will need to charge them on schedule rather than on convenience. Charging them without a schedule can end up shortening the life of the battery. 

We recommend that you charge the battery after an eight-hour shift or after it's discharged more than 30% of its battery life. Charging the battery too often before it's down to 30% can diminish the lifespan of the battery. Other recommended charging tips include:

  • Once you've charged the battery, allow it to charge completely. If you cut the charging cycle short, it can affect the longevity of the battery.
  • Don't let the battery power get too low. Allowing the battery to discharge past 80% can do long-term damage to the battery, which will, in turn, shorten its lifespan. 
  • Monitor the battery temperature during charging sessions. Any type of excessive heat can cut the battery life in half. We recommend the battery stay around 25C. 
  • Don't allow a discharged battery to sit for more than a few hours or a day. Allowing the battery to sit too long can cause hard sulfation to develop. This sulfation can cause the runtime to diminish as well as the life of the battery. 

Battery fluids also need to be regularly checked and maintained to ensure the battery operates at full capacity. Operators should check the fluid every five charging cycles, checking several cells to ensure there is enough water to cover the battery element. For every ten charges, you will likely need to top off the fluids, and this should only be done when the batteries are fully charged. The water used for your forklift batteries must be between 5 and 7 pH and within the impurities level specified by your specific machine manual. 

Additionally, monthly checks should be done for gravity readings, and you should expect a fully charged battery to read at 1.285, although this reading can vary based on the model. 

Should I Have a Designated Charging Station for Forklift Batteries?

Yes, we recommend for the safety of your facility that you designate a specific area for charging forklift batteries. To set up this area properly is to put up clear signage, proper ventilation, a phone, a fire extinguisher, and a water supply for eye washing in case of emergencies. 

In this designated area, you should prohibit smoking and instruct employees to remove their metallic jewelry while recharging the batteries while wearing protective equipment. All proper handling equipment should be used to lift and move heavy batteries. 

Forklifts should be positioned at the charging station appropriately, and breaks should be applied prior to your crew changing or charging the batteries. Be sure that forklift operators are educated on how to handle a situation, such as when hot or electrolyte fluid starts leaking from the vents. They should be told to turn off the charger and allow the battery to cool, then begin charging again at a lower rate. 

Forklift operators should also be instructed to keep a record of battery cleaning, watering, inspections, and other battery maintenance tasks. If a battery must be disposed of, forklift operators should be trained on how to recycle the battery or how to follow the local procedures for battery disposal. 

How do I Clean a Forklift Battery?

Battery cleaner or warm water can be used to clean your batteries and keep them within warranty. This should be done monthly to avoid build-up and prevent corrosion, protect the forklift electronics, and help the battery stay charged rather than quickly self-discharging. 

Forklift Service and Maintenance Services

Trupar America offers expert forklift service and maintenance to help you keep your forklifts running smoothly. Additionally, we offer forklift sales and rentals to help meet your equipment handling needs. Contact us today to learn more! 

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