Understanding and enforcing effective forklift battery and charger care practices is critical to maximizing work productivity. The consequence of poor battery and charger maintenance could mean financial losses due to costly replacements, underutilized equipment, lower-performing equipment, and unnecessary downtime. A poor performing forklift battery could lead to shorter run times and high downtimes. Typical lead-acid replacement forklift batteries provide around 2,000 charge cycles (approximately five years of service). But if proper, regular maintenance is not established upfront, you may not get the most from your investment. While there are many tasks to achieve peak performance out of your forklift battery, performing a minimum of three essential duties will help ensure reliable service.

 

Top three forklift battery tasks to keep peak performance

  1. Water cells: Most battery manufacturers recommend watering weekly. Normal evaporation is the reason most batteries need watering. However, if you notice a battery losing more water than usual, a qualified battery technician should inspect the battery and charger. It’s important not to let the water levels get too low because if the plates are exposed to air, it could cause oxidation, which permanently reduces capacity and shorten the life of the battery.
  2. Wash battery case: Because lead-acid batteries release gas during charge, it is crucial to regularly spot-clean the tops of battery cases to remove any acidic residue build-up. Also, immediately clean after any boil-over or spills with an acid-neutralizing de-greaser. Keeping the battery clean will avoid conductive circuits between lead posts and the steel case and terminal corrosion. Thorough washing of the entire forklift battery should be performed 2-4 times a year, depending on usage. Some replacement forklift battery dealers, like Lift Industrial Batteries, provide this service on-site with minimal downtime for forklift batteries.
  3. Perform equalization charges weekly: Performing an equalization charge will force all cells to charge equally. Over time, individual cells within the battery can develop different power capacities resulting in less than an efficient battery charge because individual cells may not hold a full charge. Additionally, the agitation created from escaping hydrogen and oxygen during the last stage of the equalization charge prevents stratification—a condition where the acid and water separate within cells. Performing an equalization charge tacks on an additional 3 hours to the typical 8-hour charge. The battery charger provides a low stream of power for the additional charge. Many operations perform equalization charges over the weekend to allow plenty of time for both charging and cooling before the next shift.

In addition to daily and weekly battery and charger care, it is essential to keep up with scheduled and preventative maintenance routines performed by factory-trained technicians. Find a dependable and knowledgeable battery dealership like Lift Industrial batteries to keep your battery and charger equipment performing at peak level.

 

Proper service and maintenance prolong the life of your forklift batteries

The following is a full list of 10 best practices you can implement today :

  1. Equalize the battery once a week. Check the electrolyte level (more often in high-demand applications). Add water only at the end of the charge cycle if needed.
  2. Never discharge the battery beyond 80%.
  3. Do not operate the battery if the specific gravity is below 1.150-1.160sg (standard) or 1.175sg for high gravity batteries. Check manufacturer recommendation.
  4. Allow the battery to cool before charging or operating if above 115 degrees F.
  5. The battery top should remain clean and dry. Vent caps should remain tightly in place. Spot clean weekly.
  6. Tune and calibrate your battery with the forklift voltage cut-off (80% discharge voltage of the battery).
  7. Use only approved chargers or correct voltage and current output.
  8. Battery should be well-ventilated during charging. Keep the cover or truck compartment open.
  9. Keep the inside of the charger clean and free from dust build-up. An air compressor or low-pressure air vacuum works well for this.
  10. Annually (depending on usage) inspect the DC tips, housing for loose springs and worn tips for replacement.

Make sure you fully understand the correct and best way to use each product. Following the above best practices will help you realize sustained forklift battery and charger success.

As a general rule, follow a weekly, monthly, and every 3-6 month forklift battery maintenance schedule. Forklift operators may need to increase or decrease maintenance intervals depending on the forklift application and usage.

 

Recommended Maintenance Schedule

Weekly Maintenance should include:

  • checking electrolyte levels
  • water cells (if necessary after charging)
  • Measure specific gravity with a hydrometer (Check manufacturer recommendation for ideal level)
  • Execute an equalization charge (taking into account cool-down time)

Monthly Maintenance should include:

  • Thorough visual inspection. Keep an eye open for any signs of corrosion on the terminals. Look at all connectors and cables for damage.
  • Use a neutralizing cleaning agent to clean tops of battery cases
  • Measure specific gravity with a hydrometer (Check manufacturer recommendation for ideal level)

Every 3-6 months:

  • Professionally wash the entire battery
  • Recycle any unusable batteries

Partnering with a reliable battery dealer like Lift Industrial Batteries, for consistent and dependable service and products can allow you to focus on your primary business. Inspections include safety checkups, components review, individual cell scrutiny, and proper cleaning of each unit.

Lift Industrial Batteries offers a full complement of industrial battery products and services for forklifts and other material handling vehicles. From installation to scheduled maintenance and disposal, your battery partner should work with you to prolong the life of your replacement forklift battery—and manage every step in between. Lift Industrial Batteries employs qualified experts who work directly with your team to analyze your power usage and create a custom package of forklift battery solutions that fits the needs of your warehouse.

See What You Can Achieve at Full Power. Contact us to create your custom replacement battery package and maximize the output of your equipment. Contact Sales