Common Signs Your Forklift Needs To Be Repaired

The last thing any manager wants is to pay for forklift repairs. However, the only thing worse than needing to pay for forklift repairs is needing to pay for an entire forklift replacement. That’s why knowing the common signs your forklift needs to be repaired will help your operation save money by taking care of forklift issues before they become major.

A Brief Guide To Warning Panel Lights

One of the first indications that there is something wrong with a forklift will occur on the forklift’s warning panel. Toyota forklifts come equipped with several warning lights that will alert operators to potential issues so operators can tend to problems sooner. Some of the signals are identical to the ones you might find in a car, such as the check engine, low engine fuel, or tire pressure warning. Other signals include:

  • Image of a battery: Charging system warning light. This indicates that there is a problem with the charging system.
  • The letters “maint requd”: Maintenance required reminder light. This signal is designed to follow a facility’s maintenance schedule. It will light up if the vehicle has reached the required number of miles for maintenance.
  • The letters “SRS”: SRS Warning Light. This signals that the vehicle should be serviced immediately due to a malfunction in the airbag system.
  • The image of a thermometer over liquid: High engine coolant temperature warning light. This indicates that the engine is overheating and the vehicle should be stopped immediately.

Not all signals require immediate attention. Many of them indicate that the forklift has been placed in a particular mode. Most signals are differentiated by color. Blue or green signals don’t require immediate attention while yellow, orange, and red typically indicate that there is a more serious problem with the vehicle.


Broken or damaged forks don’t only impede a forklift’s ability to lift things effectively. They can also put the operator and surrounding workers in danger by throwing off the lift truck’s balance, making tip-overs more likely.

Faults in the forks are often obvious, such as fractures and wear and tear on the forks or fork hook. However, sometimes the damage is more subtle, such as bends or differences in height between the forks. Both can throw off a load and should be noted immediately.


If one fork is damaged but not the other, both forks should still be replaced. Remember, lifting with a forklift is a balancing act. Having one fork that is more worn than the other can create as many balancing risks as never having replaced them in the first place.

Lift Chain

The chains within a forklift’s mast are as important to the process of lifting as the forks themselves. Operating a forklift with a faulty chain increases the likelihood of dropped loads, which can put workers and merchandise at risk.

Lift chains in need of repair may make noises during operation that indicate the pins are becoming stuck. They may also move in a jittery or inconsistent way. However, there are other signs that may be less obvious. You may find that the chain is slacker on one side, that the plates are cracked, pins are protruding, or that there is corrosion or damage to the links themselves. These issues will only come to light upon examination which is why having regular inspections is so critical.


Issues with forklift tires are usually simple to spot, even to the untrained eye. As with cars, a tire that is not fully inflated is most likely in need of repair, as are tires with chunking or tearing. Forklift tires also come equipped with a wear line. This line indicates when the tires have reached 50% wear. If they have reached this line, the tires should be replaced immediately.

If your Toyota forklift tires need attention, we offer mobile tire services here at TMHOH. Experienced mechanics will come to your worksite, remove the old tires, and install the new ones to help you get your forklift back on the road as quickly as possible.


If forklift brakes are damaged, it will be obvious as soon as the operator drives the forklift. The brakes may lock, work inconsistently, or make noises like squeaking or metallic grinding.

Because the safety risks of broken brakes are more immediate, they require more consistent, proactive action than other parts of a forklift. Rather than wait for there to be a problem with your brakes, brakes should be serviced regularly. Every 250 hours, brakes should be cleared of built-up brake dust. Every 2,000 hours, the brake drums should be inspected. And every 5,000-7,000 hours, brake shoes should be replaced.


If your fleet includes diesel forklifts, there are many obvious signs you need to repair your forklift engines. Diesel forklifts with damaged engines may leak oil or transmission fluid. This will be evidenced by puddles of fluid beneath the forklift when it is parked.

Signs may also become apparent when the forklift is in operation. While driving, forklift operators may notice the vehicle making strange noises, overheating, or idling when they try to accelerate. They may also notice unusually dark or strange-smelling exhaust fumes. These are especially dangerous if they are operating a forklift in an indoor workspace that isn’t well ventilated.


For electric forklifts, the equivalence of an engine going bad is a faulty battery. Some signs of battery problems include issues with forklift operations such as slow response time and flickering display lights. However, other signs may appear on the battery itself, such as acid corrosion, smoke, or a rotten smell. While the battery can sometimes be repaired, it may be time to replace the battery if it isn’t holding a charge.

Even the best-maintained forklifts are eventually going to need repairs. The goal of operators and managers shouldn’t be to avoid repairs but to recognize when they are needed. This will ensure the longevity of the forklift. And if you need forklift repairs, you can count on the repair services provided by Toyota Material Handling Ohio to get the job done right the first time.

Forklift Repair