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Pallet Truck Maintenance Tips

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Pallet trucks can be helpful tools. If you maintain them properly, they can save you time and help you avoid back problems. For example, if your foreman asks you to bring a set of five skids over to a certain work area, using a pallet truck can save you time. But you must keep them in working order and know the safety rules associated with them, or it could be disastrous to both you and the pallet truck.

Lubrication

Lubrication is necessary. Your pallet truck must work as a well-oiled machine to keep the parts working properly, especially the bearings. According to the Liftriteparts website, you should clean the lifting chains and supply light oil or minilube. Using the correct type of oil is paramount; using an oil that's too thick can lead to the malfunction of the unit due to clogging of the inner parts. Avoid overlubing as well. The website says to avoid lubrication of the tapered surfaces of the inner channels. You may be tempted to do this to avoid the rollers from sliding instead of rolling. But it could damage them.

Additionally, remove all of the straddle loaders two times a year. Clean the bearings. Add a thick layer of grease. Heavily lubricate the bearings because if they malfunction, it may be difficult and costly to fix or replace them. One problem that could develop if you do not take care of the bearings is that they could rust, or corrode.

Battery Recharging

The Liftriteparts website has specific instructions for battery charging and recharging. For instance, keep the water level above the plate 1/2 inch at all times. If you must replace the water, do not use regular water. Use distilled water instead. Also, make sure your battery compartment is open at all times during the charging process to ensure proper airflow. Don't run the machine while its battery is charging. The site also says to keep a hydrometer handy. A well-charged battery will always register between to 1,270 to 1,275. Avoid overcharging. To avoid corrosion, keep your battery clean and dry.

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Hydraulic System

The Liftriteparts website warns against adding oil to a hydraulic system, unless there's been a leak in the system. If you must add oil, use only BP-SHF32, or an equivalent. Keep the oil at about 3/4 inch below the top of the tank. Check your hydraulic position with the fork all the way down.

Wheels

Inspect your wheels. According to the SafetyXchange website, they can become worn over time. Never operate a machine whose wheels have malfunctioned due to wear and tear, because they can cause you to overexert your arms, legs and back. The load will seem heavier than it is because you are trying to drag the load with a pallet jack that isn't functioning properly. At the first sign your wheels are going bad, replace them.

About the Author

Angus Koolbreeze has been a freelance writer since 2007. He has been published in a variety of venues, including "He Reigns Magazine" and online publications. Koolbreeze has a Master of Arts in English from Western Michigan University.

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