When a forklift battery fails completely or is running less than eight hours on a charge, figuring out what’s wrong is the first step in deciding if it should be repaired or replaced. If the battery is relatively new (less than five years old) and the problem is a minor one, opting to repair an industrial battery instead of buying a new one could save you money.
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Here are a few of the most common reasons your forklift battery may have stopped working:
Loose Cables or Connectors
If your forklift doesn’t start up right away, the first thing you should check is always the battery cables and connectors. A cable may have come loose during operation, the battery may not have been reconnected properly after a charge, or a cable may have worn out from age. Whether you are inspecting lead acid or lithium ion batteries, a proper connection is critical and is typically an easy fix.
If you find a loose connection, attempt to tighten and try to restart the forklift. Look out for signs of corrosion at any contact points and use battery cleaner and a wire brush to clean contact points before attempting to reconnect.
If the cable or connectors won’t tighten, don’t fit snugly, or show visible signs of wear, they may need to be replaced. These replacement parts are always in stock and available at the parts counter at any of our 18 locations.
Check each cell’s voltage output with a voltmeter. The most accurate reading will come when the electric forklift battery is under load. To achieve this, simply tilt the mast back against the stop.
Cells that drop significantly when put under load, may need to be resealed or replaced. If the battery is more than five years old and a cell has failed, we typically advise replacing the whole battery and not just the individual cell. If you get a concerning reading, we suggest having the battery manufacturer complete a full discharge test to get a more accurate understanding of what the problem is and the best course of action to fix it.
Low Specific Gravity
A hydrometer can be used to check the specific gravity of an industrial battery. Before testing, do a visual inspection to ensure the battery has enough visible electrolyte in each cell and check that it has been fully charged since it was last watered.
Normal ranges for each cell should fall between 1.150 and 1.290. If the hydrometer is showing a number outside of that range, the battery should be replaced.
If you’re still unsure what the problem is, we can help. Our forklift service department specializes in battery inspection, maintenance, and repair. Give us a call today to discuss any questions you have about battery troubleshooting, schedule a battery inspection, or to purchase a forklift battery replacement.