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Forklift Troubleshooting

Tools and tips from our expert mechanics

Welcome to Discount Forklift's Troubleshooting Guide, where we offer solutions to the most common mechanical questions we've received over the years.

Educating yourself on these solutions will allow you to prevent your equipment from breaking down and keep your equipment running well for your business.

Mechanics tuning up equipment

Two O-Rings (LP Units)

Often when changing out an LP Tank, the O-ring from the old tank will stick to the valve coupling. This means when the new tank is installed, two O-rings will be in place, interfering with the tank's seal and allowing propane to escape.

Out of Fuel

Fuel gauges have been known to lie and some lifts can burn through their fuel supply in a matter of a few hours.

  • LP (Propane): 

    Try removing the tank and shaking it. If you feel liquid sloshing in the tank, then fuel is not the issue.

  • Gasoline and Diesel: 

    Top off the tank in case the gauge is giving inaccurate readings.

  • Electric: 

    Attach the forklift to its corresponding charger until the charge dial on the lift's dashboard or the charger itself reads fully charged.

Loose Tank Connection (LP Units)

A firm connection is needed when securing an LP Tank so the gas flows properly. Measure the gap between the tank collar and coupler – it should have about a 1/8th inch gap. If the gap is greater than 1/8th inch or you suspect the connection is loose, trying tightening further while wiggling the coupling. This may take some extra strength.

Frozen Regulator

Even if you have ½ a gallon of anti-freeze left, on occasion, your regulator can still freeze over. Pop the hood of your machine and check for frost. If frost is present, use a heat gun or hot water and pour it over the frosted section to get things flowing again. Be sure to top off your anti-freeze before operating to prevent it from happening again.

Not in Neutral

Forklifts must be in Neutral to start. Double check that this is the case.

E-Brake Not Engaged

As a form of safety mechanism, some forklifts require the E-brake to be engaged for the machine to start. Engage the E-Brake and then try starting the lift again.

Seat Pressure Switch Not Activated

Some forklifts have a pressure sensor in the operator's seat cushion that needs to be activated for the forklift to start. Typically, 150 lb is needed to activate the switch, and on occasion the switch might get stuck. Bouncing on the seat a few times can help reset the switch.

Loose Wiring

Sometimes wiring and cannon plugs become loose during the freighting or transportation process. After you receive your lift, double check your battery as well as these other connections to make sure things are properly secured.

Dead Battery

Occasionally freight drivers will leave the key in the ignition during the transportation process. This activates the forklift's battery which means there's a chance it might need a jump or to charge for a while after it gets to you.

Frozen Propane

Just like your car, sometimes your forklift needs to run a little bit to warm up the internal components for operation. With propane forklifts, this means the antifreeze needs a chance to melt the propane fuel in the regulator. Try letting your lift run for a bit and listen for an improvement in run quality. Low levels of antifreeze can also cause this issue.

Elevation Change

Sometimes changes in elevation or climate can affect how a forklift runs. This has to do with air density, humidity, and how electricity and heat transfer work under different conditions. If you suspect this could be the issue, your forklift may need to be retuned for your climate and elevation.

Incorrect Charging Configuration

Electric forklift chargers need to be plugged directly into the forklift's battery so it can hold the charge. Some models of electric forklifts have a port on the outside of the machine that looks deceptively perfect to plug the charger into, but ultimately this charges nothing. Double check your connection configuration to make sure your forklift is charging properly.

Incompatible Charger Configuration

Electric forklift chargers need to be configured properly to match the building's voltage. We always recommend calling an electrician prior to purchasing an electric forklift so they can help identify what voltage output your building has so your forklift charger can be configured accordingly. Voltage configurations for your electric charger can be found on a diagram inside the door.

Low Battery

Most forklifts have a built-in safety feature that cuts hydraulic function once the battery level gets low enough. This not only protects the operator, but also diverts remaining power to the drive function so the operator can get the lift to its charger.

Forklift Tilted at an Angle

Anytime a forklift is tipped at extreme angle, you run the risk of spilling some hydraulic fluid or coolant. This happens most commonly when a forklift has been recently loaded/unloaded during travel and usually stops dripping after a week of operation.

Post-Service Dripping

Some mechanical fluids such as coolant and hydraulic fluid have valves and plugs in place that allow for internal pressure regulation in the machine. If your lift has been serviced recently, it is normal to see a little dripping and typically stops within a week.

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