While not the most glamorous piece of equipment, the forklift’s forks are of the utmost importance to your operation. Failing to keep them working properly could be bad for your safety and the safety of your workers.

Many companies struggle to keep their forklift forking, at least when it comes to making repairs in a timely manner. Taking care of your forklift will take more than just sending someone out when it appears that repairs are needed.

In order to keep your forklift up and running, you’ll need to educate yourself on how these pieces of equipment work as well as identify when replacement forks are needed. Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know when it comes to forks and how to keep things up and running with your forklift.

Top Signs that You Need to Replace Your Forklift Forks

  • Extensive wear
  • Cracking
  • Uneven forks
  • Repeated misuse of your forklift

Extensive Wear

While most states require forklift forks be inspected yearly, the forks may need to be switched out before then. Actually, the state of your forks has little to do with how old they are. 

Instead, you need to familiarize yourself with the difference between safe wear and unsafe wear.

Constant contact with the floor and the loads themselves can take their toll on your forklift forks and thin them out. 10% and less is considered safe wear. If the wear is measured at 11% or greater, technicians recommend replacing your forks.

The thinner the fork, the less weight they can bear and the risk for an accident increases.


Cracks in the forks can be a result of rough operation or heavy objects falling onto the forks. Often times cracks can be overlooked because they’re so small, also known as hairline cracks. Be sure to check welded areas and the edges for cracks.

Similar to fork thinning, cracking can compromise the structural integrity of the forks. Operating your forklift turns into a ticking time bomb until something larger (and usually more expensive) breaks or someone gets hurt.

Uneven Forks

Any amount of bending or warping on the shank or blades calls for fork replacement.

Repeated Misuse of Your Forklift

One of the most common reasons your forklift forks need to be replaced is due to misuse.

At the very most, repeated forklift misuse could result in bodily harm and the need to purchase whole new forklift depending on the level of damage.

If your forklift is consistently lifting loads beyond its weight capacity or is being operated by someone untrained, this could at the very least lead to excessive fork replacements. Always be sure your loads are beneath your maximum weight threshold to prevent damage.

It is also essential to ensure your forklift operators complete an OSHA certified-training course.

Unsure if Your Forklift Needs Maintenance?

This checklist can act a rough guide for your forklift maintenance. However, if something seems out of the ordinary or if you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to call in an expert to get their input.

Superior Industrial Products’s highly trained forklift techs use only the best quality forklift parts and provide excellent forklift repairs.

With locations servicing the greater Nashville and Fort Worth area, reach out to schedule a service request to make sure your forklift is working to its fullest potential.