Maximizing Forklift Performance With Quality Parts

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By Marilyn Royce

Many car owners replace their vehicles when the odometer reaches 100,000 miles. Depending on maintenance and working conditions, forklifts typically last 10,000 hours or seven years.

Maintaining your forklift fleet with quality parts optimizes performance and prolongs the life of your equipment. This includes following the OSHA-recommended pre-shift weekly inspection checklist and implementing best practices like having a designated area for battery charging.


One of the most crucial Hyster forklift parts is the brakes. They are responsible for stopping the vehicle, helping avoid collisions with pedestrians, other vehicles or infrastructure, and ensuring loads are delivered to their destination safely.

When the brakes fail, they can cause serious injuries to workers and damage to products or equipment. The brakes should be inspected regularly to ensure they work properly and have sufficient strength to operate at the required speed.

This includes bleeding the brakes (removing air that could otherwise cause a spongy pedal). Using OEM parts offers a quality guarantee and often comes with labor coverage when replacement is needed. Aftermarket parts can also be available, though they may provide a different level of quality or protection.


As the main cushioning element between the surface and the driver & load, forklift tires are an important component of handling & safety*. If a tire is worn down, it will not perform as it once did, increasing damage to your lift and potentially causing operator fatigue.

Choosing the right tire for your operation is key to longevity and the proper size for your forklift frame. Press-on forklift tires are usually noted by their Outer Diameter x Width x Rim Diameter. In contrast, pneumatic (air or solid rubber) forklift tires are pointed out by their Air Pneumatic Number or Solid Rubber Pneumatic Number.

The abrasiveness of the surface where you operate can also greatly affect your forklift tire life. Keeping your operation clean, particularly where there is potential for nails and screws to be present, will significantly extend your tires’ life.


Filters are a vital part of any forklift and serve several important functions, including keeping fuel, oil and hydraulic fluid clean and pure, lubricating components and dispersing heat. They also help to meet emission standards. The forklift manufacturer should recommend a routine for maintaining filters. Tracking this maintenance is essential for a warranty claim in case of an issue.

Companies should always choose OEM over aftermarket forklift parts. Although aftermarket parts may initially cost less, they are not manufactured to fit a forklift model’s specifications and can cause complications. This can add to the overall costs of a forklift and lead to additional repairs. It is also critical to avoid adding aftermarket or alternative attachments that may interfere with a forklift’s structural integrity.


Hydraulics are an essential part of any forklift. They use special pressurized fluid to create tremendous force and power. Hydraulics are used in construction equipment, forklifts, jacks, and even automobiles.

A hydraulic system is important because it can easily multiply small amounts of power to perform repetitive, heavy-duty tasks. They also do not produce sparks, making them safer for mines and chemical plants.

The main components of a hydraulic system are the oil tank, hydraulic pump, control valve and driver. All these parts are responsible for energy conversion. The hydraulic pump transforms mechanical energy from the motor or engine into hydraulic power to move the load. The hydraulic cylinder and motor then convert the hydraulic energy into linear or rotational motion of the load.


Telematics systems provide fleet management that never existed before, providing accurate, objective measurements that help maximize productivity and minimize costs. This data can identify inefficiencies within the material handling process, allowing the implementation of countermeasures to eliminate them.

Error code reporting alerts warehouse managers and dealership staff to real-time equipment issues so that countermeasures can be implemented quickly. Additionally, utilization reports are generated so that team can make informed decisions on when to retain, replace or relocate a forklift based on operating hours.

Other telematics features, like collision warning, ensure a safe work environment. When the system detects a possible collision, it alerts the operator and displays an appropriate training nugget to help correct unsafe behavior.