For electric forklifts and powered industrial trucks, the battery and how you maintain it is very important. On average, a battery should last for 5 years, but with proper care and maintenance, you can extend the lifespan well beyond the norm. Using best practices and following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule will power your forklift battery for a long time with no problems.
Don’t Recharge too Soon
It might seem like a good idea to recharge a battery immediately at the end of a shift, but that’s not always the best thing for it. Once the battery gets to 20 to 30% charged, that’s the ideal time to hook it up. Charging it outside of that range can shorten the lifespan.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Be it extreme cold or heat, keep the battery out of it. Extremes, high or low, can lessen the life of the battery—but heat is the worst of the two. Batteries naturally heat up while in use and need to cool down while recharging. A hot battery will warp the lead plates and cause the cells to short out. If the workplace needs it, there are batteries designed to handle the elements. To help extend the life of your battery follow 8-8-8 rule 8 hours of use, 8 hours of charge, and 8 hours of rest.
Don’t charge the battery for short intervals, such as during lunch break or between shifts. There is a finite amount of time a battery can charge and waste one on a half charge only shortens the life of the battery.
Always Wear PPE
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a must when servicing a battery. Batteries have sulfuric acid in them, and it is a highly caustic liquid that can injure you severely if you become exposed to it. At a minimum, you should wear safety glasses, a face shield, and gloves and remove any metal jewelry.
Check the Water Level
Just like a plant, a battery needs water to survive. Use distilled or deionized water to add to the battery cells after a set number of uses. Without the water, the battery will not re-charge or hold a charge—it will die. That should be the first thing you check if the battery dies prematurely.
Keep it Clean
Make cleaning the battery a part of the routine maintenance and daily inspection. Like all the other parts of a forklift, the battery will perform better when it is clean. Dirty batteries have a buildup of corrosion around the terminals and can prevent a good connection.
When you take forklift training classes with First Quality Forklift Training, you will learn how to maintain batteries properly and safely. We will go over the basics of forklift batteries and what it takes to keep them working well.