Forklift won’t start? It could be these causes…

Forklift won’t start? It could be these causes…

14/02/2019 / 73 / Forklift Care, Forklift Repairs, News
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If your forklift won’t start, there could be a number of things at play. The external environment might be affecting your vehicle, but most likely there will be something going on within the vehicle’s battery or engine.

It could be a simple fix, or a larger issue that requires an engineer’s expertise. Read on to discover the typical causes of a malfunctioning forklift and see if you can locate the problem.

Battery issues

If you’re turning the ignition and there’s no engine sound, only a clicking, then the issue is likely with the battery. Firstly, make sure the battery is charged and properly connected.

You can try recharging the battery, but if this doesn’t work, then it might need replacing. Another reason your battery might not be working is if it’s too cold. Just like a car, a forklift battery can struggle to get going in minus temperatures! More on this in our next point….


The impact of cold temperatures

Forklifts that have been sat in the cold can experience issues, particularly LPG and electric models. Low temperatures can thicken the battery electrolyte, causing it to fail. LPG fuel can also be affected by a weakened battery, and in freezing temperatures, fuel regulators can freeze too.

Gas and diesel forklifts use more fuel in cold temperatures due to hard starts. And if the vehicle is running low or empty, it’s possible for condensation to build up in the tank, causing the engine to stutter and fault when started.

Prevent this by:

  • Storing forklifts indoors or under a shelter
  • Warming up the engine before starting it
  • Regularly using forklifts so they are not sat out in the cold for long periods
  • Keeping vehicles well-fuelled

Emergency power offemergency-stop

Forklifts are fitted with an emergency stop button. If this has been activated the last time the vehicle was in use, it will need to be de-activated before the forklift will start again.

Warnings and alerts

When your vehicle won’t start, it’s a good idea to check the dashboards for any warning lights you might not have spotted. If there’s a light you don’t recognise, refer to your usual manual or the manufacturer’s website to diagnose the issue.

Fuel-powered forklifts

If your vehicle runs on fuel, always check the levels. Find out when the tank was last filled or when the fuel was last changed. It could be that the vehicle has been sat still too long and the fuel needs changing.

Weighted seats

Many forklifts are fitted with a safety feature that means they won’t start unless there’s a weight in the seat. Make sure you’re sat firmly and fully in the driver’s seat before trying to start the vehicle.

Engine sounding, but not startingtools-repair

If you can get the engine to turn over, but not start, this indicates the issue isn’t with the vehicle battery. Instead, it could be a number of different things that will need to be checked out by an engineer. These include faults with the:

  • Spark plugs
  • Fuel and air filters
  • Regulator
  • Electrics

We hope this advice has helped you to get to the bottom of your starting problem and your forklift back up-and-running. If not, you can get in touch with our Yorkshire-based team to request a callout. To find out if we cover your area, call us on 0113 393 2881 or email

Contact our friendly team for advice.

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