Why is my forklift overheating?

When you’re running a busy warehouse or site, the last thing you want to have to worry about is unexpected downtime. Every forklift requires some level of maintenance to keep it up-and-running, but unplanned breakdowns can be really disruptive.

Malfunctioning and overheating forklifts is one issue we regularly see businesses come up against during their day-to-day operations. And it’s usually caused by one of these five reasons:



1. Wear and tear

Tired, worn and improperly maintained parts can cause your forklift to overwork and malfunction. For instance, damaged radiators, worn hoses or clogged filters can all contribute to increased temperatures, leading to an overheating vehicle.

Thorough daily checks and an annual service should prevent wear and tear building up. In the meantime, keep your vehicles clean and well-monitored in order to get the best possible mileage from them.


fuel-levels2. Low fluid levels

Low fluid and coolant levels is another common reason your forklift may be overheating and is, again, caused by poor maintenance. Checking the hydraulic fluid, brake fluid, battery fluid and engine oil coolant levels each day before operation will make sure you keep everything topped up and running smoothly.


forklift3. Excessive operation

Overloading your forklift trucks and consistently reaching the maximum load capacity places added strain on the engines, which can cause vehicles to overheat. Operating forklifts at high-speeds for long periods of time can also cause them to overheat, just like a car would on the motorway.


sweeping4. Dusty environment

Is your workplace kept neat and tidy? Do your vehicles travel over loose or uneven terrain? Excessive dirt, dust and debris can interfere with vehicle mechanics and clog filters. Regularly clearing both your working environment and your vehicles can help prevent this.


temperature-gauge5. Temperature of surroundings

It may seem obvious, but when the weather’s hot, so are your forklifts. Spending long periods in the heat is a really common reason for overheating and seizing engines. Much like a person, try to give your vehicles regular breaks, keep fluids topped up and park them in the shade where possible. This should prevent the hot summer sun from causing too many issues.


As you may well have gathered, most of the issues that can cause your forklift to overheat start with improper maintenance. So, while it’s good to know how to tackle issues when they do arise, the best way to solve the problem is through prevention.

Carry out your forklift daily checks, keep your site tidy and clear of debris and operate your vehicles within the recommended limitations. This way, you’ll keep your forklifts ticking over between services.

Still struggling with a malfunctioning forklift truck? Don’t waste any more time. Get in touch today and we’ll help you identify the problem.