Female factory worker sitting on forklift and writing on a clipboard.

Forklift maintenance is more than best practice — it’s essential to keeping your investment in material handling machinery in top working condition, providing a safe workplace for your employees and meeting your OHS obligations.

Along with reactive maintenance (repairs) and preventative scheduled forklift maintenance, which we’ll discuss here, routine checks keep your forklifts operating safely and optimally. They also minimise operational costs and workplace risks by identifying potential issues early on. Here we look at scheduled forklift maintenance and how to implement a proactive checklist that protects your investment in quality material handling machinery.

Creating a Forklift Maintenance Checklist

A systematic check of the forklift’s operational systems on a scheduled basis (monthly and quarterly) isn’t only essential but easy. Ideally, use a spreadsheet so that you can keep digital forklift servicing and maintenance records, but a paper form is fine. What’s most important here is covering everything on the checklist. This typically includes:

Safety systems

The safety system on a forklift includes the brakes, steering and tyres. You should check these as part of a routine daily check but give them a more comprehensive check during scheduled maintenance inspections.

  • Check the tyre pressure and look for any signs of damage or wear and tear.
  • Check the brakes for correct stopping response as well as the brake fluid, topping up or replacing if necessary.
  • Check the steering and how the forklift handles. Also check steering fluids and top up or replace if required.

Hydraulics and lifting system

The hydraulics and lifting system on a forklift are among its most important features. These systems must be thoroughly checked and hydraulic fluids kept free of contaminants and topped up to correct levels. Quality hydraulic fluids help to protect these critical features.


If the engine doesn’t function properly your forklift won’t operate optimally, which puts your business at risk of costly downtime. Forklift engine maintenance should always be carried out by a qualified mechanic and includes:

  • Checking and replacing the engine oil
  • Cleaning the air filter and replacing when required
  • Checking the spark plug, rotor, drive belt tension and distributor cap
  • Lubricating the mast and chassis components.


Forklift batteries should be given a quick inspection whenever charging and require extra attention during a scheduled service to ensure they’re working correctly and safely. The proper water level of lithium-ion forklift batteries must be maintained to provide safe and effective charging. This ensures there’s no risk of overflow and the battery doesn’t overheat.


Don’t overlook the importance of ensuring all gauges are working correctly. When gauges don’t register properly there’s a risk that the operator isn’t alerted to a potential issue.

Water, oil and lubricants

Water and oil must be kept at the correct levels at all times and topped up or replaced as part of a monthly or quarterly maintenance service.

With locations in NSW, QLD, VIC and WA, and the capacity to assist businesses nationwide, Ceil Power Systems are Australia’s forklift battery experts. To speak with a team member about your forklift battery and charging needs, call 1300 877 531 or contact us online.

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