Have you been getting the feeling that something just isn’t quite right with your forklift? Has it been moving just a bit slower, been unresponsive, or seems to have lost lifting power? You may be encountering the first signs of a mechanical problem.

The cost of forklift replacement is between $25,000 and $45,000 for a standard forklift; that’s why we believe that prevention is better than a cure. Below are five common signs that you need a forklift mechanic to help clarify what may be happening with your forklift. Keep reading to learn more.

1. Mast Jerks

A forklift’s mast may jerk a little if you’ve almost maxed out its carrying weight. However, a mast that staggers or jerks regardless of the load could indicate some underlying problems. It could show that the chains are worn or bent, or there may be a hydraulic fluid leak.

2. Unresponsive Brakes

Forklifts weigh, on average, three times as much as a car. This means that its brakes have to deal with much more force when trying to halt the moving forklift.

If it takes an increasing amount of effort to bring your forklift to stop or the brakes feel spongy, this could be another early warning sign. Fixing this before a runaway forklift causes property damage or workplace injuries is especially important.

3. Fork Damage

Regularly lifting (and especially exceeding) a forklift’s max weight can cause the forks to bend and degrade. A bent fork is more likely to allow the load to slide off or topple the forklift.

Getting a forklift mechanic to replace damaged forks is imperative when you spot this problem. Replacing these forklift parts is far cheaper than fixing a broken forklift or repairing whatever else a topple may break.

4. Battery Problems

Keeping track of how quickly the forklift’s batteries drain is a brilliant way to stay on top of issues that tend to hide themselves. A battery that drains too quickly indicates inefficient power use in one or more of the forklift’s systems.

This is a problem you can expect after about five years. Simply replacing the battery will usually solve the problem. However, if the problem continues with a new battery, there’s probably another problem.

5. Steering Issues

Less-than-perfect steering is not only more likely to cause damage, but it also decreases your warehouse’s productivity. Steering problems often manifest as stiff turning or having to hold the wheel at strange angles to get the forklift to move in the right direction.

Find the Best Forklift Mechanic Today

Conducting regular maintenance is the bedrock of forklift longevity. The most effective approach is to catch the small problems early before they cause the forklifts any systemic damage.

A mast that isn’t lifting smoothly or damaged forks can eventually lead to the forklift dropping its load or falling over. Unresponsive brakes, steering problems, and battery problems can spiral into more significant problems if left unaddressed.

Preventative forklift repair is the best and most economical way to stop a broken forklift from affecting your operations. Consult with the best forklift mechanic today and find out what your forklift needs.