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A manufacturer’s guide to buying and operating forklifts

Supplier News

Lencrow Materials Handling lists out its top ten suggestions to help prospective buyers of fork lifts brush up on the basics of buying and operating these units.


The company should align their forklift services with the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, or book it every six months. Preventive maintenance will help the company avoid expensive repairs down the road, by replacing wearing components and having inspections carried out prior to major parts being damaged.


Solid or puncture-proof tyres have a safe-wear level indicated by wear markers; going past this point will allow the tyre to wear into the soft rubber that acts as the cushion, and going past this point will cause excessive wear to the steering components, potentially leading to excessive tyre wear.

Prestart checks

It should be mandatory for the forklift operator to conduct prestart checks not only to ensure safety but also to prevent equipment damage caused by low fluids, or problems not reported by the last operator.

Battery charging

Battery-operated electric forklifts need to be charged at prescribed intervals; a part of this operation requires the lost electrolyte to be replaced. This process should only be carried out after the charging cycle.

Battery life

Each charge should sustain battery-operated electric forklifts through an entire shift prior to recharging. If the unit is unable to last a whole shift, the battery or charger may require attention. Alternatively, the supplied battery might not be suitable for the job. If a battery unit is run in a discharged state, the risk of damage to electronic components is doubled.


Government regulations mandate that all ride-on forklift operators must hold a relevant license. If a forklift driven by an unlicensed driver is involved in an accident, the driver, supervisor and management will all be held responsible.

Rating plate

Every forklift must have a rating plate that shows the operator the capacity of the forklift. This plate should include vertical and tilt ratings, and be in a legible font in a noticeable location.


Most forklifts are rated for hard-level surfaces and not intended to be used on slopes. Forklifts suitable for use on slopes will have different ratings. Conventional forklifts are not designed to be used on unsealed surfaces.

Fit for purpose

It is important to select a forklift that fits the specific materials handling requirement at the site. It’s best to consult with a reliable forklift specialist so that a fit-for-purpose unit is selected.

Reputable supplier

Buy the forklift from a dealer that can demonstrate the ability to provide reliable after sales support for the unit. Ensure the brand is established in the market, and also check the dealer’s access to parts required for maintenance.

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