Equipment and Solutions

A Quick Guide to Forklift Battery Maintenance  

man changing a forklift battery

Performing regular maintenance on your electric forklift’s battery can go a long way in saving you money, optimizing the performance of your equipment and increasing the safety of your employees. New batteries are significant expenses, so avoiding frequent battery replacement helps improve your company’s bottom line. Knowing when and how to perform the proper maintenance procedures is vital in ensuring your battery yields its full service life.

What to Look for When Checking a Forklift Battery

A visual inspection of your battery before each shift or use can be highly beneficial in identifying a minor issue before it becomes a significant problem. Some things to look for include:

  • Water levels: Check the water levels in the battery’s cells to ensure enough solution covers the plates.
  • Cables and connectors: Inspect all cables and contact points for insecure connections or damage, including overheating, melting and swelling. 
  • Dirt and grime: Dust and dirt buildup can cause tracking across the battery. Excess tracking causes the battery to self-discharge, and overwatering can lead to corrosion.
  • Voltage: By consistently monitoring the voltage of your battery, you’ll know approximately how much energy it is delivering over a specified amount of time and whether it’s performing efficiently.

Forklift Battery Maintenance Checklist

There are three essential measures behind a successful battery maintenance routine — equalizing the charges, adding water to the cells and cleaning the battery case.

Performing Equalization Charges

Over time, each cell in your battery loses its capacity to hold a charge. One battery cell might restore fully, while another holds just half a charge. When you operate your lift in this condition, the battery becomes less efficient.

Equalization ensures that each cell contains the appropriate voltage. To perform equalization, charge your battery an additional three hours past the regular charging time at a lower stream of power. This process balances out the voltage in all the cells.

Watering

A battery’s water levels are essential mainly because too little water can reduce cycle time and cause burnout. Additionally, too much water can cause overflow, creating corrosion on the exterior. That’s why it’s critical to keep a careful eye on the levels as frequently as possible.

The best time to water a battery is when it’s cool. Topping off a battery after charging can help ensure proper water levels for an entire shift. Only deionized or distilled water is suitable for batteries, as regular tap water contains harmful minerals that can disturb the electrolyte balance.

Cleaning a Forklift Battery

Some warranties require owners to clean the battery frequently, so it’s essential to include this step in your routine maintenance procedure. A monthly cleaning with battery cleaner or warm water can help prevent dust, oil or dirt buildup, which can be detrimental to the battery’s performance. Before you begin, consult your unit’s manual for any special safety recommendations or instructions on how to clean your forklift battery.

Keeping detailed maintenance records can help monitor battery performance and predict when replacement is necessary.

Choosing RAKA as Your Trusted Forklift Battery Supplier

By selecting RAKA as your supplier for forklift batteries, chargers and other material handling equipment, you’ll receive the most expert insight the industry has to offer. Whether you need to learn how to maintain your forklift batteries or want to discuss safety certifications for your whole crew, we can help you develop the optimal solutions for your operation. Contact us today to learn more.