Forklift Battery Service and Maintenance

Maintaining your battery is critical to prolonging the performance and life of your forklift. When you implement a service program, you can help keep your battery running at proper levels, allowing your operations to run smoothly. When a battery is dead, forklift productivity is affected as well.

Follow our forklift battery maintenance tips to take the right steps in cell care, whether you rely on it for daily performance or monthly forklift jobs.

Forklift Battery Service and Maintenance
Forklift Battery Service and Maintenance

Battery maintenance procedure

What steps are performed during battery maintenance?

When it comes to maintaining your forklift battery, maintenance ranges from charging and cleaning to recharging fluids and equalizing. Knowing how to care for your forklift battery includes fundamental steps.

Charge the Battery

There is a correct way to charge when it comes to forklift batteries. You cannot charge them when convenient because it can affect the longevity of the battery. Instead, you need to charge it at certain times to a specific grade. For example, when the battery charge drops below 20%, you can start charging, making sure it reaches its full capacity. If you overcharge or fail to charge a forklift battery or interrupt the process, it can exhaust its life cycle.

Discharge the battery

Other charging tips include keeping the battery door and forklift compartment open while charging and using the correct current and voltage output.

You also don’t want to discharge a battery more than the assigned threshold. because it can result in permanent damage. Consult your manual to see the discharge level of your battery.

Never let a discharged battery sit for a long time because sulfation will begin to form, which will affect the operating time of the cell.

Battery water level

The lifespan of a forklift battery is based on optimal water levels to work at its maximum capacity.

The electrolyte in a battery is a combination of water and sulfuric acid.

If water levels drop, the battery plates are exposed to air, leading to oxidation and a reduction in battery capacity.

Evaporation reduces water levels and affects the charging process. If a battery begins to lose more water than normal, it may be a sign that the unit is working harder than necessary.

Check the battery fluid levels after multiple charges. Open the battery and observe two or three cells for proper water levels.

Is there enough liquid to cover the plastic element?

If not, fill the water levels below the protector. The additional space above the fluid allows for expansion when the battery is in use. Make sure you don’t overfill the cell.

Battery water level indicator

Another fluid maintenance tip you can follow is to increase the water level when the battery is fully charged.

If you do this before it reaches a full load, there is a greater chance of overwatering.

You will also want to use distilled water because tap water has additives and contaminants that can form a residue on the battery.

After each month, you can also check the battery’s gravity reading using a hydrometer after a full charge.

Consult your owner’s manual to determine the correct gravity number for your forklift.

Battery equalization charge

Some batteries require equalization and if so, they will often have an equalization setting on their charger.

How often should you equalize a forklift battery?

What is equalizing a battery?

In essence, matching a battery means that you are overcharging it to remove sulfate crystals that have built up on the plates.

Sulfation, as mentioned in the charging section of this article, can shorten battery life. Equalizing a battery also reverses acid stratification, which occurs when the acid concentration at the bottom of the battery is higher than at the top.

Not all forklift batteries require equalization, so check your battery’s specifications before adding them to your forklift battery maintenance routine.

In the case of wet cell batteries, they should be compensated about once a week. Do not equalize more than the recommended frequency per operating procedures.

Forklift battery replacement cost

When to repair or replace your forklift battery?

When your forklift battery doesn’t have the charge it used to, it’s a sign that it may need to be replaced soon. That said, if the battery is only a few years old / has less than 1,000 charge cycles, you may be able to repair it rather than replace it.

If you think you have a bad battery, the first step is to call an experienced professional. You don’t want a weak or unstable battery to cause costly damage to your forklift’s internal systems.

Forklift battery repair experts can help you safely determine what is wrong with your forklift battery and make an informed decision about whether to repair or replace it.

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Forklift Battery Repair

Forklift Battery Repair

In addition to routine maintenance, forklift batteries may, at some point in their useful life, require more extensive care.