When is it Time to Replace Your Forklifts?

No matter the quality or equipment cost, it will have an expiry date sooner or later. If you feel like the equipment has reached its final stages and are still using it, you are wasting lots of your time, efforts as the efficiency will be much lower. The same principle applies to forklifts too. There isn’t any fixed time to replace a forklift as several parameters influence its lifespan. The usual time is around 9000 hours of usage is the optimal range to replace a forklift. 

Yellow Forklift

The lifespan of forklifts varies if it’s maintained very poorly. If the maintenance is not up to the mark, you will need to replace the forklift much earlier than expected. Many people use forklifts more than they should be using, increasing the workload. They don’t service the forklift often, which is also a key factor that decreases the lifespan. These two red flags will decrease the lifespan and lead to more repairs as well, along with slowly decreasing productivity.  

Signs that indicate you should replace the forklift

There are usually some red flags that indicate that you need to replace the forklift. If not replaced on time, it will increase the costs, decrease safety at the workplace, and much more. Let’s have a look at those signs below.

High maintenance costs

If you often experience repairs in some parts or there is a constant need for service and maintenance, then it indicates that you need to replace it. You can usually experience major repairs after 9000 to 10000 hours of work. The one indication that you can keep track of is your forklift’s monthly repair or maintenance costs. If the monthly payment of a new forklift is equal to or more to that of the maintenance costs, then it’s high time to replace the forklift.

Frequent equipment failures

Frequent instances of jerking motions, dropped loads, fluid leaks, and loss of power would indicate that the forklift has reached its ending stages. These failures usually happen after seven to eight years of vigorous usage. If it happens within the first five years, you can invest in getting it repaired, or else it’s not worth spending on the repairs.

No updated technology

Technologies like fleet management software help track usage, uptime, productivity and maintenance history, and so much more. All this data helps to know the workload, optimize the fleet and eventually reduce unwanted costs. If you can keep in regular touch with software providers, you can optimize the usage of forklifts.

Forklift Operator

Your forklift is older than eight years

This is a very easy parameter to judge the efficiency of your forklift. Like hours, the age of the forklift can also lead to more repairs and maintenance costs. Irrespective of anything, you should replace your forklift after 7 to 8 years. If you can track the hours, maintenance costs, and the age of the forklift, you can easily find out when it’s the right time to replace it. 


Internal combustion engine forklifts

Usually, electrical forklifts have a longer lifespan than that of the internal combustion engine. The moving components in the electrical forklifts are much, that’s the reason for its enhanced lifespan. Although the electrical forklifts are expensive, they will save you more costs on repairs and maintenance costs. 


This only applies to electrical forklifts. To find the condition of the battery, the run time should be noted. The average battery will have around 2000 charges. One charge will roughly last for 4 to 5 hours of operational time. So, all you need to do is divide the forklift by 5, and you can get the number of charges the vehicles will have left. 

Replace You rForklift

How to maintain the forklift well?

By adopting certain practices, you can improve the life expectancy of the forklift. Little tasks like cleaning the oil would be helpful for longevity. Follow these tips mentioned below to increase the lifespan of your forklift.

Keep it clean

The simplest task to maintain the forklift well is to clean it daily. Before you start using the truck, clean from top to bottom for 10 minutes – this will help to remove the dirt, debris, and excess oil, etc. It not only helps to maintain it well, but your operator can also operate it more easily and comfortably as it is clean.

Keep an eye on the oil

Changing the oil frequently is recommended to maintain the forklift properly. The usual time period is around 3 to 4 months. If you don’t change the oil regularly, it will affect the efficiency. Regularly changing the oil can increase the lifespan and help to run more smoothly.

Check the tires

Tires are one of those parts that wear out quickly. Due to the regular usage and the same repetitive motion, the tires tend to wear out. It is recommended to check the air pressure for pneumatic tires and ensure that the PSI is in the suggested range. 

Check the brakes

Just like you keep track of your vehicle’s brakes, you need to frequently check the brakes of the forklifts. Daily check the brakes before usage to ensure that it stops when you require them to stop. 

Daily inspection

Checking the forklift on a daily basis is also a great way to maintain it well. Check the accelerator, parking brake, steering operation, hoses, and important parts daily to ensure the operating person is secured and safe and to increase the lifespan of the forklift. 

Working on a Forklift


Forklifts are eventually bound to wear down at some point. The usual time period is around 9000 to 10000 hours or 8 to 10 years. But, if you maintain it well by looking after its tires, batteries, brakes, and regular maintenance, it will lead to fewer repairs and longevity. 

Related questions:

When should you replace your forklift?

If you extensively use your forklift, there will be some signs that indicate that it should be replaced. Burns, dents, and collisions suggest that there is some problem with the machine. Along with this, if the discharge indicator is 20% residual power, you should stop using it. If you use the forklift with less than 20% residual power, you will experience damage in some parts of the machinery. 

How long does the average forklift last?

No matter how well you maintain your forklift, it will have an expiry date. It’s usually around 9000 to 10000 hours of use where you reach the point to replace your forklift. In terms of time, it is ideal to change your forklift after 8 to 9 years. However, if you maintain each and every part of the forklift with special care and attention, the lifespan will increase a bit. Usually, the electrical forklifts last longer than the internal combustion engine. So, if your main requirement is longevity, it’s better to go for electrical forklifts.

When should I retire my forklift?

The best time to replace or retire your forklift is before the 9000 to 10000 hours or eight years mark. If the forklift’s downtime is more than the uptime, it’s a good time for retirement. Frequent instances of jerking motion droppedmotion, dropped loads and fluid leaks are also a sign to replace. If your forklift is electrical and you have maintained all the parts well over the years, then you can expect to increase the lifespan a bit more. However, the maintenance will influence the productivity and reduce the repair costs than improving the lifespan of the forklift.

What is considered high hours on a forklift?

Forklifts can usually last around 10000 to 15000 hours. But if you want to know about the maximum hours it can operate, then it should be around 20000 hours or ten years in time. If you want to increase its longevity, you have to opt for electrical forklifts and maintain them well. If the machine is always used to pick high loads and made to use beyond its capacity, then the lifespan would obviously decrease. You also need to replace the battery after 1500 charges to help the machine gain its performance.