Forklift Repair: How To Change A Forklift Battery

DIY tips and instructions for changing and recharging a lift truck or tow motor battery, including tools needed and safety precautions to take.

A forklift, (also known as a "lift truck" or a "tow motor") is a powered truck that is equipped with two heavy-duty forks on the front end. The forks are used to hydraulically lift parts, materials, and other items. Forklifts are most commonly used at factories, lumberyards, construction sites, and other places where a need to lift and move heavy items is present.

Forklifts resemble automobiles in that they also get their power from batteries. The difference is, that forklifts use industrial - strength batteries. Most often they are specifically "lead - acid batteries" that contain sulfuric acid. This type of battery has many safety precautions associated with it because of the high risk of injury and / or fire when they are being used, charged, or handled.

Another difference is that a forklift battery can weigh sixty pounds or as much as two thousand pounds - a ton - or more. The enormous weight alone creates a possible safety hazard.



A third difference to an automobile battery is that a forklift battery needs to be recharged periodically. Therefore, if you need to charge or change a battery in a forklift, there are certain steps you must take in order to protect yourself, as well as other people around you.

Before you attempt to remove the battery from a forklift, you should take off any gold, silver, or other metal jewelry you may be wearing, especially chains and bracelets. And, to help avoid electrical shock, do not touch the battery with steel or other metal tools, et cetera.

You should also wear OSHA - approved protective eyewear, long sleeves, rubber gloves that protect your hands and arms from chemicals, and steel - toed shoes or boots. Then, make sure that the forklift is shut off and parked in a specified servicing area. Smoking and open flames or sparks will be prohibited in this area; the area will also be properly ventilated. Finally, make sure the parking brake is engaged before you begin servicing the forklift.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to properly remove the battery. Secure the battery before you lift it up and out. Never try to lift a battery by using your bare hands. You should either use a second forklift, a battery carrier, or an overhead hoist to remove and handle the battery.

While the battery is out of the forklift, make sure that you inspect it for cracks and other possible damage in its case. Also, inspect its terminals and all connectors; clean, replace, or repair parts where needed. While wearing splash - proof safety goggles, gloves and apron, check the chemical levels of the battery and add additional chemicals if need be. Be sure to use a funnel that is not made of metal, and use caution so that you don't overfill the battery.

In case of a chemical spill, use an OSHA - approved eyewash station to repeatedly flush your eyes if the chemical gets splashed into them. Quickly remove any clothing that has spills on it, and rinse any spills on your skin off with water; immediately seek medical attention.

Finally, after the battery is recharged, or if a new battery is needed, then place it into the forklift. Make sure that the battery is positioned properly in the forklift and secured safely.

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