The Ten Commandments of Battery Care

Forklift batteries can be a huge expense. The cost of replacement batteries can often run higher than $5000. Many companies, however, end up spending much more than they should, simply because they neglect to take the proper steps to care for their equipment. Simple things like using the right equipment to safely and carefully water your battery can quickly add up, extending your vehicle run times and reducing your overall costs.

Careful maintenance, from frequent cleaning to correct charger use, can make all the difference: your forklift should be reliable tool, not a drain on resources. We’ve put together a list of our “Ten Commandments” of good battery care. Make sure to follow these steps and communicate with your local suppliers to get the most out of your batteries.

  1. An initial charge/discharge cycle should occur before adding water for the first time. Adding water before the charging cycle can severely damage your battery. Be sure to run a full discharge and charge cycle before attempting to add water. Also, only add water after this first cycle, never acid.
  2. Keep the battery top clean and dry with vent caps tightly in place. Not only will preventing dust buildup and dampness increase your battery life, keeping your battery dry can help you determine quickly when a jar has broken so you can fix it before it becomes a bigger issue.
  3. Always inspect the battery upon receiving. When the shipping crate or container arrives, inspect it thoroughly. Wet spots will help determine if the battery was tipped over or damaged in transit so you don’t mistakenly install a faulty battery into your forklift.
  4. Use approved chargers. Make sure to only use chargers with the correct voltage and current output.
  5. Never discharge a battery beyond 80%. A quick way to ensure you are hitting rules four and five is to invest in a smart charger. It will not only put out a controlled charge, but will equalize your charge sequence, increasing the life of your battery.
  6. Lift with an overhead rig. Preferably, when lifting a battery, you want as much vertical pull on the “lift eye” attachments as possible, as this method will not squeeze or stretch the battery tray.
  7. If a repair is needed, do not put it off. The fastest way to turn a faulty battery into an unusable battery is to wait to call-in repairs.
  8. Repaired cells need special treatment. Once a cell is repaired and placed back in its jar, it will take some adjusting to get its specific gravity where it needs to be.
  9. Make sure the battery compartment is properly designed before install. This means there is proper ventilation and drain openings on the floor. Most manufacturers design for this, but it is imperative you check.
  10. Use the right kind of water at the right time. While U.S. tap water is usually satisfactory for use, distilled water should be used if you are unsure.

To get the most out of your forklift, it is important to keep your battery in the best shape possible. Always remember there are tools out there to meet your needs. Want more information or some advice from one of our team members? Visit us at atlanticlift.com and see why our forklifts are unmatched in the industry.

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