Like other machines, forklifts are only as good as their components. When one part fails, including forklift forks, operations stop. Also, faulty parts can be a serious liability that threatens worker safety.

It is important to replace forklift forks before they become ineffective or dangerous to use. Finding this sweet spot will ensure you get the most time and money out of your replacement parts without endangering operations or staff.

The good news is that there are only a few indicators for determining when it is time for replacement forklift forks. Keep reading to find out what those are. The information below will help you optimize the lifespan of forklift parts without pushing things to the limit.

Signs of Damage

Most quality forklift forks are made of strong materials, like high-strength alloy steel, designed for heavy use. Whenever you see indications of excessive use, it may be time for replacement forklift forks (or at least investigate further for any other signs of damage, such as the ones below).

Significant Wear

Wear can be difficult to notice over time. For this reason, you should measure the thickness of the fork blades on a regular basis. Even a 10 percent reduction can significantly compromise the strength of the fork and its ability to hold loads and is a good indication that it is time to replace the forks.

Visible Cracks

If you see cracks anywhere on the forks, you should immediately stop using them. These are most common in the heel areas, where the shanks and blades are welded together. Cracks are a serious sign that the integrity of the forks has diminished.

Bent Shanks or Blades

If either a forklift fork shank or blade is bent, it may be time to replace the part. While fork repair is possible, rebending the steel requires heating and reshaping (or you risk jeopardizing the integrity of the part).

Uneven blade heights are an easy way to spot this. Blades that are not level cannot lift or transport heavy loads. A good rule of thumb is that the difference in the heights of the two blades should not be more than three percent of the total length of a single blade.

Professional Diagnosis

In keeping with OSHA forklift guidelines, your operators should know how and when to inspect your machines. Keeping a meticulous schedule can help identify minor issues before they become major ones. This can help you avoid serious damage or injury, and is the best way to stay informed about the status of your forklift forks. 

Find Replacement Forklift Forks Near You

Now that you know when it is time for replacement forklift forks, you can plan accordingly. If you need further assistance, qualified industrial forklift technicians can advise you on when to schedule forklift service and repair.

Superior Industrial Products provides forklift parts, repairs, and training services. We also offer forklift rental services, which can be vital to keeping your operations on track. Reach out to us today for help ordering parts or to schedule repairs.