Battery Maintenance

I once dealt with a very  “frugal” customer who had saved himself loads of cash. Instead of wasting  hard-earned income on having his forklift serviced by trained, competent technicians, he had his minimum wage staff take care of maintenance. They were reasonably competent with a grease gun, and knew how to plug the electric Crown in to charge when it went into lift lockout. They even were able to refill the battery with glycol antifreeze all by themselves.

Yup. Glycol antifreeze!

I got the call when the shorted battery cells started exploding beneath the seat.  Unfortunately, I must be a poor technician, because I did not have any miracle solutions or Mechanic-In-A-Can with me. So they wound up with a new battery,  all new motor brushes, some contact tips, and a BIG BILL.

forklift battery

While the majority of my customers have a better dose of common sense than that, I still struggle with  operators who can’t figure out water levels and why a clean battery is a good idea. Some insist on filing the battery to just below the cap, then charging. Others don’t open the caps between pm services.

battery water level

I have started giving some information to especially problematic customers. It goes a long way to keeping damage to a minimum, and improves customer satisfaction in the long run.  I am putting some of the useful info into a resource page for batteries. Feel free to use it however you want. If you need parts or tools, check out Intella Liftparts.

I have also found that corrosion can be avoided in some instances by sealing all the cells and battery case perimeters with a butyl roofing tar from a caulking dispenser. It eliminates acid bloom and cell damage.

What tips, tools, or questions do you have?  Let me know in the comments section below.

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