Hydraulic technology is so common we often forget we use it every day. It’s found right in our own homes in our dishwashers. It’s in the cars we drive to work. It’s in elevators, amusement park rides, and airplanes. And in forklifts. But without liquid to fuel the hydraulic systems, none of these things would work.
The main function of hydraulic fluid is to provide energy transmission, so it makes sense that if you don’t have the proper level of liquid, you can’t create the most power. Inadequate levels of hydraulic fluid in a forklift cause decreased lifting and steering capabilities, which is the last thing you want when you have a job to finish.
So, what do you need to know to ensure your hydraulic system is running smooth and fast? Let’s explore some of the common questions you might have about hydraulic fluids and forklifts.
Most forklift manufacturers suggest replacing hydraulic fluid after every 1,000 hours of operation. To monitor levels properly, operators should go through a checklist, which includes checking the hydraulic fluid tank prior to every shift.
There are a variety of environments and variables that can affect the rate oil degrades. In lieu of performing an oil analysis every time you think you need to change your hydraulic fluid, most users stick to the manufacturer’s recommendation, which is based on years of service data. Keep in mind that if you decide not to change the hydraulic fluid for an extended amount of time, you risk the service life of every other component on the hydraulic system.
It depends on your equipment and manufacturer. Consult your forklift operating manual for the specific fluid grade recommended for your particular forklift.
We also recommend paying close attention to the prescribed level to fill the tank. Thermal expansion can occur, which can in turn cause an oil spill and a safety hazard.
Changing hydraulic fluid is a fairly simple task. However, we recommend a professional certified forklift technician perform the task. Toyota certified technicians are trained on all make and models of forklifts.