What Happens to a Forklift in Freezing Weather?

March 2, 2021 11:23 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Operating a forklift in cold temperatures can be a hazardous activity. If you operate a forklift in your Texas facility, you need to be aware of the effect of freezing temps on forklifts. Without the right precautions in place, cold temperatures can impact the mechanics and battery of a forklift and can pose safety hazards, too. Read on to learn everything you need to know about forklift maintenance to prepare for freezing temperatures.

How can the weather impact a forklift?

Whether you’re working in a cold storage facility or outside in winter weather in Texas, you’ll notice the effect of freezing temps on forklifts. If temperatures vary in your warehouse or you’re going in and out between cold and warm temperatures, condensation can develop on the forklift and can quickly turn to ice. Low temperatures also impact the mechanical performance of your machine. Here are some of the most common problems that can happen when you operate a forklift in freezing temperatures:

  • Cold temperatures can reduce the life of the battery. They affect the electrolyte within the battery, which in turn impacts the chemical reaction needed to power the forklift. Your battery has to work much harder, and you’ll have to replace it sooner.
  • If you have a gas or diesel forklift, cold weather causes the machine to burn more fuel to operate normally.
  • Winter precipitation, including snow, freezing rain and ice, can make loading bays and outdoor surfaces slippery. Exercise plenty of caution when operating a forklift in these conditions.
  • When temperatures drop below freezing, the forklift’s oil thickens up. When this occurs, it reduces the amps and slows down all hydraulic-powered functions.

How can I safely operate a forklift in freezing conditions?

Protect your machine—and yourself—by following these simple cold-weather operating precautions:

  • To operate a forklift in freezing conditions, you need to be fully trained. Practice safe winter driving habits and always adhere to speed limits. The key here is to slow down and take your time when dealing with winter weather or icing.
  • Develop smart routes that reduce the number of times your machine has to go from room temperatures to colder environments. You’ll reduce the potential for condensation to form and keep your forklift in optimal mechanical condition.
  • Prevent radiator issues, including cracked blocks, by making sure the water-to-coolant ratio is correct.
  • Most importantly, have your forklift checked by a certified technician if you’re using it in cold weather. They’ll know what to look for in terms of the effects of freezing temps on forklifts. A skilled technician will check the battery, hydraulics, electrical system and engine and make repairs as needed.

If you operate a forklift in Texas, you need to be aware of proper forklift maintenance to prepare for freezing temperatures. When you’re performing a potentially dangerous activity like driving a forklift, you need to be fully prepared, and so does your machine. Contact the team at V-Bar Equipment Company for all your forklift maintenance questions and repairs. We look forward to assisting you!

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