How To Properly Jump-Start a Forklift

A dead car battery is incredibly inconvenient when you’re running late. How much more inconvenient is it if a forklift battery goes out when you have deadlines to meet in your warehouse or construction site?

Fortunately, the solution for a dead forklift battery is the same for a dead car battery: jumping it. But given the dangers and the considerable investment heavy equipment is for your company, knowing how to properly jump-start a forklift is essential to keep employees and equipment safe.

What You Need To Jump-Start Your Forklift

  • A 12-volt, negative ground battery
  • Jumper cables
  • Distilled water
  • Forklift battery watering PPE (Acid-resistant gloves, safety goggles, face shields)

How To Jump-Start Your Forklift

  1. Begin by checking the fluid level of your battery. If water levels are low, add distilled water, and be careful not to overfill the compartment.
  2. Bring the functioning forklift close enough that the jumper cables can reach the dead battery, but not so close that the two forklifts are touching each other.
  3. For both vehicles, engage the parking brake, put the truck into neutral, turn off the ignition, and turn off any electric accessories.
  4. Connect the cables to the vehicles. Use the red cable to attach the positive (+) terminals of the functioning and dead batteries.
  5. Take one end of the black cable and attach it to the negative terminal of the functioning battery.
  6. Do not attach the other end of the black cable to the negative (-) terminal on the dead battery. Attach it to a piece of solid, stationary metal at least 18 inches away from the battery.
  7. Start the engine of the functioning forklift and let it idle for a few minutes.
  8. Start the forklift with the dead battery and allow it to run for a few minutes.
  9. Remove the jumper cables in this order: first, the black cable attached to the stationary metal part, then the black cable attached to the negative terminal, and lastly, the two red cables.

Mistakes To Avoid When Jumping a Forklift

Jump-Starting a Battery With Frozen Fluids

Cold weather is when batteries are at the most risk of dying. However, if someone attempts to jump-start a battery when the fluids are frozen, it can potentially lead to the battery exploding. When you check fluid levels before charging, make sure you look to see if fluids are frozen.

Attaching the Cables To the Wrong Terminal

Attaching a jumper cable will reverse the polarity on the battery incorrectly, leading to a surge of electricity that can blow a fuse or fusible link. This can permanently damage both the battery itself and the jumper cables.

Attaching a Cable After Seeing a Spark

If you attempt to attach a battery incorrectly, there’s a chance you’ll see a spark. This is incredibly dangerous because batteries emit highly flammable hydrogen gas. If you see a spark, stop immediately and contact your Toyota forklift dealer to decide on further action.