Refurbishing a forklift

The process of refurbishing a forklift

Fork trucks have long proven themselves as invaluable tools in almost any industry. Refurbishing a forklift is often a great way to upgrade your equipment without having to fork out for a new one. An effective refurbishment will have your machine looking and operating like new.

A complete refurbishment is also a good way of saving on your ongoing forklift maintenance costs by bringing repairs and replacement parts right up to date. It also does no harm for workforce morale, with operators able to enjoy the benefits of a gleaming new truck.

Repairing a forklift is not refurbishing it. Repairs get the unit running again, while a refurb involves a thorough inspection, replacement of safety-critical, worn and defective parts, and a complete clean-up, including repainting the truck to restore it to an “as new” condition.

Refurbishing a truck will typically cost 30 to 40 per cent less than buying a replacement, but you should always ensure you have your reconditioning done by a professional company like Hitec, experienced in restoring forklifts.

There are often different levels of refurbishment, ranging from a service and paint refresh to a full cosmetic and mechanical overhaul, but the steps to complete any type of renovation are fairly standard.

Initial inspection

When we first receive a forklift to refurb, we’ll carefully inspect the truck’s condition. This is irrespective of the unit’s age and appearance, and will be carried out by a fully trained technician.

If the truck is really mucky and worn out, we might need to give it a thorough power-wash first before air drying the chassis, mast and forks and taking care to avoid damaging the vehicle’s electronic components.

The first inspection will include an assessment of the truck’s technical condition, checking the effectiveness of its hydraulic functions and assessing its cosmetic appearance, chassis and driving comfort. Sometimes, inspection will conclude that refurbishing the truck is either not possible or not cost-effective. There can be alternative uses found for a vehicle in this condition.

All safety-critical parts will be carefully examined to assess whether they provide an indication of a deeper problem, and all of these will always be replaced.

Brakes, tyres and batteries will also be checked to see if they need replacing, and a full report of the truck’s condition will be compiled. At this stage, spare parts will be ordered, and lead times established to build and confirm the refurbishment schedule.

Disassemble and clean

Next, the forklift’s parts and equipment will be carefully disassembled and cleaned thoroughly. Parts will be pressure-cleaned and disposed of if necessary in accordance with waste and environmental regulations. Grinding off rust and old paint will also be necessary at this stage.

This process enables a more detailed inspection of the chassis, carriage and mast. We will also check the engine, the brake mechanisms, the axles and wheels and all other major components. Batteries can sometimes be refurbished, but often it makes sense to replace them at this point.

Rebuild forklift

The rebuild process will typically involve dismantling the mast and examining, removing and replacing lift chains if required. Chains are often fully replaced as this can be a more cost-effective measure than carrying out further detailed testing and repair.

All bearings will be inspected and replaced if they no longer meet the manufacturer’s tolerances. Welds are tested for structural strength and sub-assemblies are inspected before being built back into the truck.

There’s often a whole raft of options at this stage. For example, you can opt to add in a new dash display or upgrade the seat. You can add the manufacturer’s original parts or choose a more economical option.

Painting & prepping

In readiness for a full paint refresh, the truck will first be sanded down, primed and polished. Steering systems, tilt cylinders, the battery and guards will typically be blasted with compressed air to ensure they’re clean and ready to restart work.

Painting is carried out to a professional standard and ensures the unit looks like new. Adding some company logos and decals can really finish the truck off to perfection.

Testing & inspection

The final stage is to fully inspect the refurbished forklift and test it with its fully rated load. A complete safety check will be carried out and a service conducted by a fully qualified technician. Our staff are experienced and highly trained and take personal pride in their workmanship.

Final checking means a safety certificate can be signed off before the truck is declared “ready to go”. We’ll conduct a checklist with you on collection to ensure you’re satisfied with the work that’s been completed, as well as ensuring you’re happy with the forklift’s functions and appearance.

At Hitec, we carry out forklift maintenance and refurbishment that will keep your trucks running for years to come.

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