Is it Time to Replace Your Forklift Forks?

By , Posted in Forklift Attachments, Forklifts, Instructional

Forklift ForksThere is a lot riding on your forklift forks – literally and figuratively. If they break or malfunction while carrying a heavy load, not only can it lead to loss of product, but it can cause damage to property or the forklift itself. It can also cause personal injury to the operator or nearby pedestrians.

Forks become thin over time due to daily operations and dragging, but forklift attachments & accessories, such as drum handlers, can also cause damage if pushed past the forks limits. Improper use often results in damage, as well.

Federal law mandates that forklift forks are inspected once per year, and more frequently for vehicles that are used around the clock. Here are some things to look for when inspecting your forks.

Forklift Fork Inspection

  • Normal wear. Use a special fork caliper tool to measure the heel and blade for wear. If the wear reaches 10% it should be replaced. Just 10% wear decreases the capacity of the lift truck by 20%.
  • Surface cracks. Inspect each fork top and bottom for surface cracks. Pay close attention to the heel and the welded areas that attach the forks to the lift truck. Cracks require replacement.
  • Distortion of the blade and shank. If either the shank (vertical portion that attaches to the carriage) or the blade has any bend, the forks must be replaced.
  • Uneven forks. If the difference in the height of each fork tip exceeds 3% of the length of the blade, you will need to replace both forks. Example: 36” forks cannot have a height difference of more than 1.08”.)

Forklift Replacement

If an inspection reveals damage or excessive wear, forks should always be replaced in pairs. Failure to do so will cause the load to be uneven and possibly cause the lift truck to tip over. Uneven loads also put stress on the mast and other components of the lift truck.

Our forged forklift forks are manufactured in pairs, assuring you that every set of forks you purchase will be even in tip thickness and blade height. Need help ordering the right forks? Check out our Fork Selection Guide.