Forklift Battery Maintenance


Forklift Battery Maintenance is very important. Although most of us already know about the batteries in their cars, or more recently, the battery in their basement to store renewable energy, it is less well known that batteries also play a key role in industrial electric vehicles such as ,wheelchairs, forklifts,golf carts and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) used for cleaning and railway applications.

Known as motive power batteries (or traction batteries), they are used in off-road applications where the battery energy is used to produce motion. Many different battery technologies, with different specific properties, are covered by the term motive power.

How to do Forklift Battery Maintenance


Stick to protocol when it comes to forklift battery maintenance and charging your lift trucks. Batteries have a finite number of cycles, if you charge based on convenience instead of sticking to a schedule; you can potentially shorten the battery’s life. The general rule of thumb is to recharge the battery after an eight-hour shift or when it’s discharged more than 30%. If you charge too frequently when it is not more than 30% discharged, you will shorten the battery life. The following charging tips are also considered best practices:

If possible, let the forklift battery charge fully once after starting to charge it. Cutting a charging cycle short may also damage the battery’s longevity. Make sure to fully recharge the battery once every day.

Do not leave the discharged battery sit for too long – not more than a few hours to one day. In this way, you increase the likelihood that hard sulfation will develop, which will reduce the run time and life.

Do not excessively consume your lift truck battery. If you discharge exceeds 80%, it will cause long-term irreparable damage to the battery and greatly shorten the battery life.

Pay attention to battery temperature when charging. Excessive heat will shorten battery life by half. Keep the forklift battery as close to 25C as is practical. And charging a cold battery around 15C or less requires extra time as well as temperature compensation on the battery charger to achieve proper charge voltages.


Having the right amount of water in your battery is very important for it to function to its full capacity. Make a schedule to check the fluid level of the forklift batteries – approximately every five charging cycles is advised. Check several batteries to see if there’s enough water to cover the plastic battery element. If it’s not obvious from inspecting two or three, proceed to check all the cells. If necessary, top off the fluid.

Water used in batteries should fall between 5 and 7 on the pH scale and within the batteries recommended levels for impurities. Check the documentation on the forklift battery for specifics on the allowed limits of water impurities. Distilled water is preferred.

Each month you should take a gravity reading of all of the battery’s cells with a hydrometer after a charge. Fully charged, standard forklift batteries typically have an ideal specific gravity of 1.285 (check your battery’s specifications for the exact number for your model)


Cleaning the top of the forklift batteries with battery cleaner or warm water is not only a good maintenance habit, but also required on some batteries to maintain the warranty (check your warranty documentation just to be sure). We recommend a monthly cleaning even if it’s not required by your warranty to help avoid build-up, which can cause tray corrosion, faster self-discharge and possibly even impact the forklift’s electronics.


Forklifts are usually used in quite extreme environments, but for optimal battery life you need to keep the operating temperature at or below 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius). If there’s no way around working in hotter temperatures, be certain the lift truck battery has a lot of circulation in the battery compartment so it can cool. Due to chemistry, the life of a battery is reduced by 50% for every 10 Dec C temperature above 25C. So 35C longevity is half of 25C and 45C longevity is half of 35C

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