When compared to the whole machine, forklift forks aren’t very large—they’re a mere 48 inches. However, damage to the forks renders the entire machine useless. No matter how well it can navigate a warehouse or travel over muddy terrain, it won’t be able to lift anything safely. That’s why knowing the signs you need to replace your forklift forks is so important to successful operations.
The most obvious sign it’s time to replace your forklift forks is when they’re clearly damaged. Forks often become bent or cracked because of age or after abnormal lifting operations. Checking for damaged forks should be part of your facility’s regular inspections, but you should also consider inspecting forks after lifting something particularly heavy or unwieldy.
Not all forklift damage is evident at first. At times, the individual forks will appear straight when they aren’t even with each other. When the difference between the forks’ height becomes greater than three percent of the forks’ lengths, it can have disastrous results, damaging goods and potentially injuring employees. You should check for uneven height even when you’re inspecting for fork damage.
No matter how large, any substance will get worn down after constant use, and the metal of forklifts is no exception. Forklift forks gradually become thinner over time. When a fork loses ten percent of its original width due to wear, its lift capacity is reduced by twenty percent. At this point, OSHA dictates you must replace the forks. Use calipers to check fork width periodically.
Fork Hook Damage
Any of these issues don’t necessarily have to be linked to the forks themselves, but rather the fork hooks. Fork hooks take the brunt of the weight. When they become cracked or damaged, it can lead to uneven fork height, which puts greater strain on the blade. If the hook is damaged, the entire fork should be replaced.
You should never replace only one of your forklift forks, even if only one of them is damaged. As mentioned, forklift wear impacts a fork’s lift capacity. Having two forks with uneven wear drastically increases the possibility of tip-overs or dropped loads. Fortunately, we provide a variety of Toyota forklift parts to meet your company’s needs.