Forklift Truck Capacity: Will My Truck Lift It?

By , Posted in Forklift Attachments, Forklifts, Instructional, News & Press

We get calls every day when customers are shopping our forklift attachments, safety baskets, and order pickers, asking: “Will my truck lift it?” The truth is, forklift attachments do affect your overall forklift truck capacity, and whether your truck will lift it or not depends on your specific forklift and intended load.

We’ve taught numerous customers about forklift truck capacity when pre qualifying them for our accessories, so we thought it useful to make that knowledge available for everyone. Below, we’ve broken down the basics of forklift truck capacity and what you need to know regarding lifting capacity when purchasing a new forklift accessory.

Forklift Truck Capacity: What You Need To Know

“Will my truck lift it?” In order to answer that question, you need to learn the basics of forklift truck capacity, as it relates to your forklift’s center of gravity, load center, and attachment.

1. Forklifts Do Not Have a Fixed Center of Gravity

Forklift tipping overPart of what makes forklift stability so tricky is that forklifts do not have a fixed center of gravity. When unloaded, the forklift’s center of gravity is in the center of the truck between the front and back wheels. However, when loaded, the forklift’s center of gravity shifts to the front wheel axle. If a forklift’s maximum capacity is overloaded, the forklift’s center of gravity shifts over the front wheel axle, which results in the forklift tipping over.

2. Load Center Informs Maximum Load Capacity

Forklift truck stability is based on two things: a load capacity and a load center. A load capacity describes the maximum weight a forklift can carry at a given load center. The load center is the distance from the face of the forks to the center of gravity of the load itself. The greater your load center, aka the farther out your load sits, your load capacity decreases. Therefore, the way weight is distributed on your forklift and forklift attachment changes the amount of weight the lift truck will safely carry.

3. Your Forklift is Rated For a Certain Capacity & Attachments Affect That

All forklifts are rated to a certain safe lifting maximum capacity and height by their manufacturer. It’s important to know these numbers, and also know that when you add attachments to your forklift, these safe lifting maximum capacities and heights will change. We require each of our customers to get a data plate from the lift manufacturer stating that their truck with our attachment is rated for X capacity. If the X capacity is less than you need, then the accessory is not right for you.

Forklift Loading & Carrying Safety Practices

When lifting with new attachments or heavy loads, keep these forklift truck capacity safety tips in mind:

  • If your forklift’s back wheels begin to lift off the ground, it is overloaded. This is an indication the center of gravity has shifted too far over the front wheel axle. Do not operate until all sets of wheels are firmly on the ground.
  • When handling heavy loads that are close to your truck’s stated capacity, exercise extreme caution. Move slowly and lift a test load up and down before moving with the load.
  • Rapid turns can cause the center of gravity to shift and the forklift to tip over. Use slow, wide turns when carrying heavy loads.
  • When using forklift attachments, be sure the new attachment has been fitted correctly to the manufacturer’s instructions. You will also want to practice with the new attachment before lifting any loads so you can get accustomed to the maneuverability of the attachment.

Qualify Your Forklift’s Truck Capacity Before You Purchase

If we don’t pre-qualifying the application of your forklift accessory before you purchase, we waste your time and ours. Therefore, before we go through the quoting process, we vet each customer’s intended use against their manufacturer’s given lift capacity with our accessory.

If you have any questions on your forklift’s load capacity, contact our forklift attachment experts at 1 (800) 535-5303 or contact us online using our online contact form.