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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for Tips for Cold Weather Operations of Forklifts - Guidelines for Driving Forklifts with Ease in Cold Climates
Joanna James Joanna James
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Tips for Cold Weather Operations of Forklifts - Guidelines for Driving Forklifts with Ease in Cold Climates

Those who operate forklifts during winter or cold weather face many risks to their own health as well as the vehicle and the products they are moving using a forklift. Here are some tips on how to avoid any mishaps when operating during inclement climatic conditions.


Impact on Hydraulics

Cold weather and temperatures can negatively affect not only the fluid contained inside hydraulic motors but also transmission fluid, engine fluid, and lubricants. Cold temperature can cause these liquids within the hydraulic system to congeal or prevent the smooth flow of the substance from one part of the motor to another. The liquids within the hydraulic engine are not the only element of the motor that's impacted as even the rubber seals in the apparatus can become less functional. This is why it is crucial to let the vehicle "warm-up" for a few minutes before tackling a load as turning the motor on and leaving it for a while can melt the congealed liquid and let it return to the correct viscosity.


Extend Battery Lifespan

Forklift operators would do well to keep in mind that every type of liquid inside a vehicle is likely to change consistency due to cold weather and thicken in most cases. This means that the fluid or electrolyte inside forklift batteries also congeal and fail to produce enough chemical reactions to allow the vehicle to lift objects with ease. Cold weather makes battery charging a lengthier process while operating a forklift while the battery fluid is thick can also reduce the longevity of the battery. This is why batteries should be removed from the forklift when they are not in use and stored in a warm, dry room. Those who live in cold climate locations can also keep a battery warmer to combat those extreme weather conditions.


Take Care of the Tires

Solid forklift tires, whether they are by GRI Tires or any other manufacturer, also tend to find cold climates a hindrance to optimum operation. While tires are able to withstand lower temperatures than the battery and engine fluid, the rubber material in tires can deflate, crack or even stiffen in the winter season. This can result in loss of tractions and make driving in warehouse conditions a truly dangerous undertaking. Tires of forklifts that are used in extremely cold conditions must be checked for cracks regularly while the pressure level and inflation rate must also be on point. Keeping tabs on the treat and replacing them when necessary can also help drivers get more use out of their tires.


Environmental Awareness

As driving forklifts in cold conditions present so many risks, it is important to take the time to understand the areas in which the vehicle will perform various operations. Checking the state of the warehouse floor or slippery sections of the road where ice may have formed overnight is essential before performing any tasks on a forklift. Drivers should ideally walk around the area to minimise the risk of mishaps and to have an awareness of the conditions in which they must operate the heavy machinery.


Watch Fuel Levels

Forklift operators should also be aware of the fact that fuel tends to thicken during cold weather and thus the use of fuel increases during the winter season. This means operators must have extra fuel supplies or refill the vehicles more often so as not to drive the vehicle with low fuel levels and cause potential damage.

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