Forklift Parts 101: Common Parts and Terms

December 27, 2021 11:16 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you use a forklift in your day-to-day operations, you need a comprehensive understanding of all essential forklift parts and components so you can ensure safe, effective operation of your machine. It also helps you identify parts that need the attention of a maintenance technician at your preferred forklift repair shop.

Here are the most common forklift parts and terms you should know.


The cab is the central part of the forklift where the operator sits. It includes the brake, gas pedals, mast control, gauges and steering wheel, as well as all associated safety devices for the machine.


Located at the rear of a forklift, the counterweight keeps the forklift from tilting over due to the weight of the load it carries. The counterweight is installed by the factory and is another safety feature that protects the operator.


There are two main cylinders in a forklift: the tilt cylinder and the hydraulic lift cylinder. The tilt cylinder controls tilt in the mast, while the hydraulic lift cylinder controls its vertical lift.


You can think of forklifts as long arms—they’re the extensions attached to the carriage. They’re used to support loads from the bottom and come in a variety of widths. They can be easily adjusted from left to right.

Load backrest

The load backrest protects forklift operators, keeping loads from falling toward them. It rests against a flat surface and facilitates safe loading and unloading of the forklift.


A forklift’s mast lifts and lowers the load. There are several different types of masts, including single-stage, two-stage, three-stage and quad masts. Single-stage masts provide the least amount of lift, while a quad mast provides the highest reach.

Overhead guard

Designed to protect the driver from large, falling objects, the overhead guard is the frame around a forklift’s cab. Since it features a grate design, it doesn’t prevent small objects from falling on the operator, which is why you should always wear a helmet when using a forklift.

Power supply

There are four power supply options for forklifts: gas, diesel, propane and electric. Electric (or battery-powered) forklifts are very common and are highly efficient. If you have an electric forklift, the battery is located below the seat. If you have a propane model, check the back of the forklift over the counterweight for the tank. You’ll find fuel tanks for gas and diesel forklifts below the back of the unit.


There are two types of tires on a forklift. The steer tires are at the back of the machine and provide maneuverability and turning. They’re also used to move objects while the operator drives in reverse. The drive tires are at the front of the machine. They remain in a fixed position and don’t turn like the steer tires do.

Need forklift repair for any of the forklift parts described above? Reach out to V-Bar Equipment Company today. We’ve been repairing forklifts for decades, and we can quickly diagnose and replace any failing components to keep your forklift running smoothly.

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