How to Clean a Forklift Battery

A battery acts as the heart of your forklift, delivering energy to all its components keeping it running properly during each use. Much like the heart, keeping the battery in good condition is essential to prolonging its life-span and preventing damage to your forklift. By adding a regular cleaning schedule to your maintainance routine, you prevent terminal corrosion, calcium deposits, and prevent faster self-discharging, that could damage your battery and your forklift. While cleaning your battery might seem like a difficult task, it can easily be completed in just a few short steps.

The Cleaning Process

It’s important to know when or how often you should clean your forklift battery, before beginning the cleaning process. The best way to know when to clean your battery is if you have noticeable corrosion, build-up on the terminals or if it looks wet on the top. However, the experts at Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklifts of America, recommend you clean your battery once per month to keep it in its best condition.

Once you’ve established a regular cleaning schedule, its time to embark on your first cleaning. To begin, remove the battery from your forklift, and place the battery on a non corrosive surface. Before cleaning, make sure that vent caps on the battery get sealed tightly to prevent exposing its sensitive components to water. It’s also important to wear protective clothing and rubber gloves during the cleaning procedure. According to the United States Department of Labor, battery acid causes significant damage to the skin during direct exposure, and requires anyone handling batteries to wear protective gear, per OSHA regulations.

Next you’ll want to clean your battery with a battery cleaner from the hardware store or use a mixture of baking soda and water. Liberally cover the battery with the cleaning solution of your choice, and let the solution soak for a few minutes. This gives the solution time to break down the corrosion, making it easier to wash away. After soaking, use a rag and a clean basin of hot water to remove the cleaning solution and the debris from your battery.

You may notice some corrosion remaining on the battery terminals that didn’t come off with the cleaning solution. If this occurs, coat the terminals with your cleaning solution, and gently scrub the area clean using a wire brush until its clean. Follow-up by cleansing the area with a rag and a clean basin of hot water. Once the battery is clean, let the battery air dry before placing it back into your forklift.

By adding in the extra 30-minutes of cleaning to your battery maintenance schedule, you’ll pro-long the life of your battery and keep it running effectively. Plus, you’ll prevent future damage to your forklift, commonly seen when there’s a lack of battery maintenance. In just a few easy steps, you’ll notice the difference in both power and performance.

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