No material handling equipment can last forever. There will come a time for you to retire your old workhorse and get a new one. When your faithful forklift reaches the end of its service life, it will begin to show signs of aging, decay, and deterioration. As a responsible forklift operator, you need to be on the lookout for symptoms that may suggest that your forklift is ready to throw in the towel and enter retirement. While each retirement case is slightly different, here are some general signs you can look for.
Sign #1: The Engine Stops Running
While some are known to last longer than others, a typical lift truck engine is good for anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 hours of labor. When the engine is exhausted, it may begin to have trouble starting when you try the ignition, or it may not even start at all. An old engine will affect your lift performance and compromise both workplace safety and efficiency. Repairing your forklift engine can cost you thousands of dollars alone. This, of course, does not even include the work hours you have lost during the repair period.
Sign #2: Transmission Troubles
The transmission is where you receive the source power to run the rest of your machine. When the transmission fails, your entire forklift will probably die with it. The lifespan of a forklift transmission is very similar to that of the engine, with some outliving others by a small amount. Transmission replacement or repair brings another hefty cost on your budget. With your engine dying on you and your transmission going under water, you might as well invest in a new forklift that can work better, faster, and smoother.
Sign #3: Maintenance Considerations
Even if your transmission and engine are doing well, an old forklift generally requires small maintenance and repair jobs that may end up taking a financial toll against you. When your forklift is demanding constant attention, it slows down workplace productivity and becomes a hindrance to your staff. In other words, it is never a wise decision to push your forklift too far beyond its lifespan. The money you spend in repairing a retiring forklift can be re-invested into a new forklift that is equipped with a more sophisticated and advanced ergonomic design.
Retirement or Not?
Forklifts play a critical role in your warehouse productivity. Learning how to recognize signs that your forklift needs retirement will help you plan ahead and leverage things in your favor. By carefully weighing the time and cost it will take to maintain an existing forklift, you will be able to make a sound decision about your forklift’s future. There are many actions you can take when retiring an old forklift. Some warehouses may begin looking to order a new forklift. Others may want to invest in a few used forklifts or even polish up their used forklift and make a couple of economic trade-ins. Regardless what you choose to do, just know that retiring your forklift when it outlives its service life is a great choice for your warehouse and pocket.