The do’s and don’ts of Forklift Battery Maintenance

Forklift machine is among the most frequently used equipment in the material handling industry. Maintaining forklift batteries is correspondingly important. It nevertheless is a task that is sometimes ignored, owing to rough working conditions and odd pickup hours.

Abuse reduces a forklift battery’s life. In order to ensure that the battery delivers an optimal performance, extend its life and avoid unwarranted expenses in future, knowing the do’s and don’ts of forklift battery maintenance is important. This alternately enhances workplace safety as well.


o Procedure for adding water to the battery is important to know. Only de-ionized or distilled water must be used for charging. A top-up must be done before charging, and it must be limited to 5 -10 mm above plate levels. This must be undertaken at least weekly. The frequency is characteristically subject to charging or operating conditions.

o Contact surfaces must be kept clean.

o Condition of charging socket and plug must be monitored regularly.

o The top of the battery must be clean and dry.

o Use a hydrometer to check specific gravity readings. A record of the same must be maintained.

o When you charge the battery, keep the compartment lid open. This enables air cooling and ventilation.

o Prior to disconnecting the battery, switch off the charger.

o Make sure that all bolted terminals and connections are tightened up. They must be covered with petroleum jelly.

o If you are removing or replacing terminals, make sure that you use insulated tools.

o Clean the terminals using a weak solution of sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate or ammonia. Add 1 kg of either of the substances to 10 liters of water, or in proportion. This neutralizes corrosion and is one of the finest ways to deal with battery leaks or spills.

o Look out for the battery rotten egg smell. Sulphuric acid is one of the components of forklift batteries, and emits a rotten egg smell upon excessive heating. It occurs when one of the cells of the battery does not charge, but the charger keeps trying. If you notice such a smell, turn off the charger and wait for the battery to cool down. The battery is now finished, so mark it such that no one uses it accidentally.

o Use protective clothing


o Do not overcharge or undercharge the battery.

o Do not overfill or under fill the adjustment levels for electrolyte. It may result in a premature failure of the battery.

o Do not use metal containers for dispensing water for topping up.

o Do not place metal objects atop the battery.

o If the battery has vents or caps removed, do not charge it.

o Do not leave the battery in a discharged state for over 24 hours.

o Don’t add acid to the cells. In case of electrolyte loss, get in touch with the manufacturer’s service department.

o Don’t bring naked flames or smoke in vicinity of the battery. This could be hazardous, especially while charging.

o In order to restore the capacity of the battery which has been used, do not charge the battery for duration longer than required.

o Do not re-set or repair the charger by yourself.

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